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Discord over music

CRITICS say the Government's plans to protect school music budgets will not solve the problem of the widely varying quality of service offered to children.

Last month Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett responded to The TES Music for the Millennium campaign with a promise to safeguard music teaching. And now the Government has announced that music money will be stored in its standards fund which is open to applications from individual authorities. Authorities would be guaranteed full financial support for an agreed period.

Richard Hickman, chief executive of the Federation of Music Services, welcomed music being treated as a special case. But he added that there will still be "enormous variability" in what parents are charged.

He added: "None of these proposals is going to help children where there is no school provision in the first place."

The National Union of Teachers called the music pledge "a plus".

Paul Rowinski

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