Student activism

17-year-old successfully campaigns to add female composers to U.K. school syllabus

Anoushka Shankar WILL BE ONE OF THE FEMALE ARTISTS NOW INCLUDED IN THE EDEXCEL A-LEVEL MUSIC SYLLABUS. (via Wikimedia)

British exam board Edexcel announced last week that five pieces by female composers will be included as set works in the 2016 A-level syllabus, marking the first time that female composers have been a required part of the curriculum. Amazingly, the move is almost entirely the result of the impassioned efforts of 17-year-old student Jessy McCabe. McCabe first wrote to Edexcel to make them aware of the lack of female composers in their syllabus. Edexcel’s head of music wrote back: “Given that female composers were not prominent in the western classical tradition (or others for that matter), there would be very few female composers that could be included.”

But McCabe wasn’t done. She launched a petition on Change.org, attracting almost 4,000 supporters, and wrote open letters to the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, the executive director of exam regulator Ofqual, Ian Stockford, and Pearson UK’s managing director, Mark Anderson. Thanks to McCabe’s efforts, music students will now be expected to study works by Clara Schumann, Rachel Portman, Kate Bush, Anoushka Shankar and Kaija Saariah.

Read the full story at The Telegraph.

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