Teens should spend summer picking up litter, says education secretary Damian Hinds
3rd June 2019
The education secretary, Damian Hinds, today issues a “call to arms” for youngsters to get away from their screens and volunteer for everything from “picking up plastic litter — a great thing” — to teaching pensioners how to text.
Hinds says parents are worried about the way today’s children are growing up in a world of “social media, deeply immersive gaming and the whole binge-watching TV thing”. Even listening to music was no longer the social experience it was when he was young: “Now they have got headphones and they sit alone with shoulders hunched forward.”
Hinds is speaking out as a survey for the National Citizen Service found that only 8% of 1,000 teenagers planned to volunteer. One in four did not want to work for free, admitting that “not getting paid” deterred them from volunteering, even though half said they got bored over the summer.
Two thirds of the parents of the 16 and 17-year-olds surveyed said it would be good for their teenagers to volunteer. Half said they were worried their children would waste the summer holidays.
Average A-level Music class now has just three students, study finds
Academics from Birmingham City University analysed patterns of entry for A-level qualifications in Music over the past five years and found that numbers had fallen by 35 per cent, from 8,369 to 5,440.
The study also found that independent schools account for a disproportionately high number of A-level music entries.
One in five entries for the subject are from fewer than 50 schools, according to research commissioned by the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music.
Dr Adam Whittaker, a research fellow at Birmingham City University and the report’s lead author, said that the decline in A-level music is “extremely alarming”.
“Rather than it being the fundamental right of all children, it is rapidly becoming the preserve of the privileged few at independent schools, as it dies out in the state sector,” he said.