Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP condemns threat to music technology A-level

4.51.26pm BST (GMT +0100) Wed 19th Jul 2006

Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West, Stephen Williams, has called on examination provider, Edexcel, to think again following their announcement that they would be ceasing to provide A-levels in Music Technology after new specifications for accreditation are introduced in 2008.

Thousands of schools have invested in the necessary technology to be able to teach the subject, but now face the prospect of losing it from their curriculum because Edexcel are the only board to carry the course. Now Stephen Williams has signed a parliamentary petition, tabled by his Lib Dem colleague Sarah Teather MP, calling on them to reconsider.

Stephen Williams, who is also Lib Dem Shadow Minister for Higher and Further Education, said "Appreciation of how to both make and record music of all kinds is important not only for those hoping to work in the music industry but for those who just want a well rounded education. Many teachers, parents and students will feel a deep sense of betrayal if this course is axed because of the heavy investment put in by schools to provide the course and because of the lost opportunities for talented pupils."

Liberal Democrats have highlighted that until recently Edexcel were boasting on their website about the calibre of their former Music Technology students. These include members of the Arctic Monkeys, whose debut album was the fastest selling in UK chart history and has just been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.

The Early Day Motion Stephen has signed is No. 2574, the full text of which reads:

That this House notes the proposal by the Edexcel examination board to drop music and music technology A level from their portfolio; further notes that they are the only examination board offering a discrete music technology A level and that over half of music exams sat by pupils this year were set by Edexcel; recognises that the total number of music entries at A level has risen 46 per cent. since 1997; fears that this move by Edexcel could reverse this trend in music by reducing choice for teachers and pupils and would effectively eliminate A level music technology provision; recalls that in a recent interview the Arctic Monkeys said that music technology had provided them with the essential skills to work in the music industry; and calls on Edexcel to seek re-accreditation for both music and music technology from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority for the good of future generations of musicians and those interested in music technology.

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