Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Chief Executive Michael Elliott
ABRSM scholar Sheku
Established 130 years ago, ABRSM still sets the global
standards in music assessment and is ambitiously
embarking on wider programmes of teacher development,
digital learning support and music education in schools to fulfil
its mission to inspire musical achievement. Based in central
London, ABRSM examines over 600,000 candidates in more
than 90 countries and has rapidly expanding activities and
partnerships in a number of those countries, most notably
China. Michael Elliott, ABRSM Chief Executive, elaborates.
Since 1894, we have designed and delivered graded music exams internationally,
as well as in the UK. Our reputation, representation and delivery overseas make
us a significant exporter and contributor to the cultural and educational reach and
influence of the UK. Closer to home, our expertise, knowledge of markets and
willingness to collaborate allow us to share our considerable insight with other
cultural and educational partners.
Enriching music education
In partnership with the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, the
Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, we play
a leading role in music education in the UK and recently launched the findings of
our Music Commission, chaired by Sir Nicholas Kenyon.
The Commission has drawn attention to the priority that should be given to
supporting progression in the learning of music over the next ten years, and to
»Chief Executive: Michael Elliott
»Founded in 1894
»Based in central London
»Services: Music education in
over 90 countries
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music
Highlighting best practice
identifying and nurturing emerging
talent in our schools and informal
settings. It places a particular emphasis
on extending access and progression in
terms of social mobility and diversity.
With our four Royal School partners, we
have established the means to support
a number of pilot programmes to
encourage musical progression across
the UK. This complements the annual
charitable contribution of £8 million that
we make towards scholarships, the four
Royal Schools themselves and music
education projects here and overseas. In
2020, we will continue our contribution
to the understanding of trends in music
education by undertaking another of
our periodic and acclaimed
research reports.
It is our strongly held belief that music
should be an essential part of every
child’s education, which alongside the
purely musical benefits can also have a
positive impact on wider learning and
personal development, and on nurturing
creativity, confidence, communication,
collaboration, character and resilience.
Music educators, including those
working in private practice and within
schools and cultural organisations,
have a vital part to play in delivering
good-quality music teaching and
learning support. We are working
to support them through a growing
range of teacher development and
educational resources. We also have
an increasing commitment to working
closely, here and overseas, with
schools and all those providing music
education services.
Developing music education
in schools
In the last three years, we have been
developing our offer to schools in
the UK, beginning with our highly
acclaimed digital tool for primary
schools, Classical 100. This free
resource provides a way to introduce
children to classical music within the
school environment, supported by
educational challenges and projects to
encourage wider learning and teaching
through music.
Creating music in
response to Classical 100
It is our
strongly held
belief that
music should
be an essential
part of every
We have followed this with Group
Loops, a free online platform for use
in class music teaching. Group Loops
offers a flexible repertoire that can be
easily tailored to suit the wide range
of musical abilities that are commonly
found in classroom settings. The aim
is to make effective classroom music-
making an achievable ambition for
Meanwhile, we have been involved
in championing the development of
model music curricula for schools,
to identify key levels of attainment
and provide supporting resources for
teachers and students.
In England, we are a trusted adviser to
the Department of Education. We also
work in close partnership with a myriad
of organisations involved in the support
and delivery of music education across
the UK. Weseekto act to make a
difference in extending opportunities
for learning and progressing in music
at a time when this is becoming
increasingly challenging and more
dependent on an ability to pay.
Investing in the future
It is perhaps through our high-quality
assessments and resources that we
currently have the most immediate
impact on music learning, so we are
now investing in the creation of new
products and services that will allow us
to engage with and support a wider
range of formal and informal learning.
We have been a significant global
music publisher since the early 20th
century and in the last decade have
established a successful track record
of developing innovative digital tools
for music learners. This has focused
until recently on apps to complement
the traditional offer of classical music
exams, with award-winning tools that
learners can use independently to
develop their skills and understanding.
More recently, however, we have
turned our attention to the building
of digital resources and platforms that
will appeal to, and support, different
groups of learners who are making
music in and outside of the classical
realm and are possibly learning
independently of teachers.
We are also moving to expand our
tried and trusted graded music exams
to include additional genres. Our new
Singing for Musical Theatre exams
are a good example of the way in
which we are building on our heritage
while responding to current needs
and trends. While all this goes on,
we continue to manage a globally
recognised and trusted brand that
is sought after by teachers, parents
and students for the quality of its
assessments, learning materials and
publications as well as its unrivalled
maintenance of standards.
Committed to supporting excellence,
access and progression in the learning
of the ever diverse and vibrant musics
of the world – and to continuing to
extend our reach – we are confident
that ABRSM will continue for the next
130 years and beyond to play a leading
role globally in music education. In
doing so, we will proudly play our part
in promoting the UK and its music
and creative industries to the rest of
We have been a
global music
publisher since
the early 20th
Century and in
the last decade
have established
a track record
for developing
digital tools for
music learners
School choir at Shine,
a celebration of music

This article was sponsored by Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister