DfE to boost funding for arts and cultural education

Government announces money for film-making and museum trips, and confirms continued investment in music education hubs

Drama lesson

The government has announced a multi-million pound funding boost for cultural education programmes, to help children "put their film-making skills to the test, explore museums or take to the stage".

The Department for Education (DfE) also confirmed £80 million in continued funding for music education hubs next year, previously reported by Tes.

Related: Relief as continued funding secured for music hubs

Background: 'Thousands' of peripatetic music teacher jobs 'at risk'

Viewpoint: 'Music should be the beating heart of primary'

The investment  in music education hubs came as a relief to many working in the sector, especially peripatetic teachers, whose jobs were said to be "at risk" without continued funding.

The separate £4 million for cultural education will be split between programmes focused on film, dance, theatre and design.

These include Heritage Schools, the BFI Film Academy, the Museums and Schools programme, ACE Bridge Network, National Youth Dance Company and Saturday art and design clubs.

The DfE will also be investing a further £1 million in charities that help young people learn about different styles of music, in an effort to "support the next generation of musicians".

Previous criticism

The government has previously come under fire for its approach to arts education – and in particular its focus on the EBacc (English Baccalaureate).

In July, education think tank director and former DfE adviser Tom Richmond recommended scrapping the GCSE league table measure, which has been blamed for "squeezing out" technical, cultural and creative subjects from schools.

And in March, Oscar-winning film director Steve McQueen said he intends to "shout and scream" about cuts to arts funding in schools, which he called a "disaster".

Announcing the latest funding decisions today, Nick Gibb, the school standards minister, said: “Music, arts and culture play an essential role in enriching pupils’ education, and we want to give as many young people as possible the opportunity to learn an instrument or perform in a choir or a band.

“Our continued investment will play an important role in helping young people widen their horizons and access all the opportunities that learning a musical instrument can provide – whether that be playing for pleasure or performing.”

Hannah Fouracre, director of music education at Arts Council England, said: “We’re delighted that this funding from the Department for Education has been confirmed.

“These programmes support a creative, diverse and inclusive music education for children and young people across England.”

A DfE spokesperson confirmed that the £85 million announced today was separate from the arts premium pledged in the Conservative manifesto.

The arts premium will amount to at least £107 million a year between 2021-22 and 2023-24, according to the "costing document" published alongside the manifesto.

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