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Category: Unraveling Education News

Top Score For Talent

This year, once again, the Young Composers’ Competition welcomed entries from gifted young musicians from across the nation. Their compositions were evaluated by judges, including newly recruited composers Paul Patterson and Stuart MacRae. The high standard of creativity and musical imagination that was displayed by the competitors this year is impressive, even for seasoned judges, as the competition, which is the most prestigious one for young composers, has been running for a decade.

After the final judging session, Patterson, who was once head of composition at the Royal Academy of Music, expressed his shock at the level of talent displayed by the young composers. "I was amazed to see there is a whole world of talented people in this country writing very imaginative music and who already at their tender age have got a good sense of technique," he said. MacRae was also astonished by the quality of entries, praising the originality of the pieces and the authentic self-expression of the young composers.

One of the senior winners in the 16 to 18 age group, En Liang Khong, exhibited his imagination and personal expression in his composition, Black Rain, which is scored for string quartet, percussion and spoken voice. Another winner in the same age group, Alex Nikiporenko, created a piano and flute piece that was characterized by the judges as a challenging character study.

Among the junior winners, Men Gei Li, aged 14, received accolades for her Triquad Variations for piano, which displayed impressive imagination, freshness and restraint. Her twin sister, Men Gyn, attends the Purcell School in Bushey, Hertfordshire and is pursuing piano studies.

These young musicians are pushing the boundaries and demonstrating an extraordinary level of talent that belies their age. Their future looks very bright!

All contestants of the competition are invited by BBC Proms to attend Inspire Day, held in the heart of London. This presents a unique opportunity for the participants to meet and learn from seasoned composers, musicians, and important individuals in the music industry. The winning entries will be performed during the Young Composers’ Concert.

Here are the winning compositions:


– En Liang Khong, 18, St. Paul’s School in Barnes, for ‘Black Rain’

– Alexander Nikiporenko, 18, Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, for ‘Awaiting’


– Tom Rose, 16, Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham, for ‘Moth Lamp’

– Tom Curran, 16, Sawston Village College, for ‘Searching’

– Men Gei Li, 14, The Purcell School in Bushey, for ‘Triquad Variations’

The following participants also received a highly commended recognition:


– Andrew Hadfield, 18, The Portsmouth Grammar School, for ‘The Flight of the Phoenix’

– Toby Young, 18, Haberdashers Askes Boys’ School, for ‘Les Jongleurs’


– Lloyd Coleman, 16, Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, for ‘Quintet for Soprano Saxophone’

– Philippa Ovenden, 16, The Purcell School in Bushey, for ‘Etone’

– Sasha Millwood, 16, King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford, for ‘String Quartet, Last Movement’

Clegg And Gove In Spending Review Battle Over Free Nursery Education

The proposed cancellation to extend free nursery education in an attempt to save £380m caused a heated battle amongst government officials, with Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and Education Secretary, Michael Gove, at the forefront. The plan to provide free nursery education to low income families for 15 hours a week was proposed to be withheld by Gove, whereas Clegg opposed the decision. The issue was taken to senior ministers last week, where it was agreed that Gove would find efficiency savings in commissioning new academies and free schools.

The government had pledged to extend free nursery education to 150,000 2-year-olds from September 2013, rising to around 260,000 the following year, but this was under threat by Gove. As a result, Clegg has made extending free nursery care to young children one of his key personal issues.

In another issue that caused tension across the government during the spending review, an extra £200m was announced to fund an extension of the Troubled Families Programme to a wider group of 400,000 families from 2015-16. The current programme is aimed at 120,000 families deemed to be at very serious risk of offending or failing to secure an education for their children. Each family is deemed to cost £75,000 a year, and the announcement of additional funding is a victory for the civil servant in charge of the programme, Louise Casey.

The spending review is due to announce cuts of £11.5bn for 2015-16, with the majority of these cuts being found through increased efficiency. There is growing concern in aid circles that the budget for the Ministry of Defence has been raided, with money transferred from the departments of health, education, and justice to fund the Troubled Families Programme.

During an interview with ITN, Laws clarified that his intention was not to cause embarrassment to Liam Byrne. Instead, he admitted that the letter was intended to be humorous. However, he argued that the letter symbolized a government that was reckless with spending. He stated that he anticipated the letter to be utilized in upcoming election campaigns.

Shameful Rise’: 18% Of Children Now Leave School As Low Achievers

A recent report by the children’s commissioner for England has revealed that the number of children who are leaving school without basic qualifications at the age of 18 has increased by almost a quarter in the past three years. Last year, almost one in five children (18%) left school without the government benchmark of five good GCSEs or the equivalent technical qualifications, indicating a 24% surge since 2015. The study also found that children with special educational needs are particularly affected, with almost half (45%) failing to meet level 2 attainment by the time they finish compulsory education. Pupils on free school meals (FSM) are also struggling, with more than one in three (37%) leaving school “without any substantive qualifications”.

Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has spoken out against the new figures and called on the government to take urgent action: “While we should celebrate the progress that is being made in raising standards for millions of children, it should never be an acceptable part of the education system for thousands of children to leave with next to nothing.” Longfield is particularly concerned that progress in closing the attainment gap between children living in the least and most deprived areas of England has stalled and is now in reverse, at a time when pupils have to stay in education longer than ever before.

England’s Children must stay in education or training until they are 18, but the evidence laid out in the report suggests that pupils are gaining little in terms of qualifications during their extra school years. Last year, 98,799 children in England left school without basic qualifications, of which 28,225 were on FSM. Increasing rates of failure to reach attainment targets among the most disadvantaged are causing the increase, according to Longfield. These children will have spent 15 years in compulsory education, often with over £100,000 of public money invested in their education, and yet leave the education system without basic benchmark qualifications, making multiple options closed to them. Many will not be able to begin an apprenticeship, begin technical courses or enter some workplaces because they cannot meet the basic entry requirements.

In light of these findings, the commissioners have written to the government requesting independent review and the commitment of halving, over the next five years, the number of children failing to gain a level 2 qualification by the age of 19. However, the Department for Education later challenged the commissioner’s findings, stating that this report does not provide the full picture, comparing to figures that include qualifications which have since been removed from performance tables because they did not serve students well. A spokesperson stated that the proportion of 19-year-olds with vital English and maths GCSEs has actually risen from 50.9% in 2010 to 68.1% in 2018, adding that the government is working towards improving the rigour, quality, and standard of qualifications across the board.

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