Curriculum and assessment in the secondary school in England

The sociology of musical status

Authored by: Martin Fautley

The Routledge Handbook to Sociology of Music Education

Print publication date:  March  2021
Online publication date:  March  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138586369
eBook ISBN: 9780429504631
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter looks at the ways in which hegemony, especially valorisation of musical types, has had a significant impact upon classroom music curriculum and assessment in England. Although this chapter is rooted in the specificity of the English experience, there are lessons for an international audience in these discussions. Despite many changes in music education in England (along with other jurisdictions) in recent years, including the growth of informal learning practices, the widening of curriculum content in primary and secondary schools, the broadening of classroom music teachers’ own backgrounds, education, and training – including the entrance of more teachers with popular music backgrounds into the profession – nonetheless issues that have affected the content of school curricula for many years, including the notion of music being considered as being dividable into ‘high’ and ‘low’, still persist.

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