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 Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy