New National Plan for Music extended to early years

Early Education welcomes the news that the new National Plan for Music Education has been extended to cover the early years. 

We are glad to see that this includes recognition that many early years practitioners are not music specialists and an extension of the role of Music Hubs to include supporting the early years sector.  While not all Music Hubs are yet geared up to support the early years, the Plan means that practitioners can expect to have more support and engagement from their local music hub in future. 

There is already much expertise to build on, including projects such as the one in the Tri-borough Music Hub, which was led by our Associate, Nicola Burke.

The DfE Music team say:

The new National Plan for Music Education (NPME) is clear about the importance of music education in early years and provides case studies of this done well. The Plan’s vision is to enable all children and young people to learn to sing, play an instrument and create music together, and have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally.

The development of children’s artistic and cultural awareness and supporting children’s imagination and creativity, including through music development, is an important part of the early years curriculum. This is why Expressive Arts and Design is one of the areas of learning set out in the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework that all early years providers in England must follow. 

Given the importance of music education in the early years, we collaborated with experts from the music sector to deliver the new Development Matters document, which provides non-statutory curriculum guidance as to how practitioners and teachers can support children in their learning, including around music and the arts. Musical Development Matters can provide practitioners and teachers with additional ideas for nurturing children’s musical development by offering broad musical experiences.

Early years practitioners can also seek support and training from their Music Hub, who may be able to provide specialist music teaching and link early years providers with music in local schools.

Related information

Webinar series – creating a musically rich setting (from 7 November 2022)

Musical Development Matters in the Early Years (free download)