Labour pledges £160m 'arts pupil premium' for primary schools

Jeremy Corbyn claims his party's approach to education could 'unlock the creativity' in every pupil

Richard Vaughan

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A Labour government would introduce an “arts pupil premium” worth a total of £160 million for primary schools in England and Wales, Jeremy Corbyn revealed today.

The Labour leader said the policy would form part of his National Education Service, which he pledged would become “every bit as vital as the NHS”.

His focus on more arts in schools comes on the same day that the former education secretary Lord Baker warned that the Conservatives’ new national curriculum was “too narrow” and pushed out creativity.

Labour’s pledge on education “could hardly be more different to the Tory approach to education”, Mr Corbyn added.

Giving his keynote speech at the Labour Party annual conference in Liverpool, Mr Corbyn said he would raise more money from businesses to fund education and skills for the workplace.

'The exploration of knowledge'

But he acknowledged that education was more than simply “preparing for the workplace”. “It’s also about the exploration of knowledge and unlocking the creativity in every human being,” he told delegates.

All pupils should have the chance to learn an instrument and have regular access to a theatre, gallery or museum in their local area, Mr Corbyn added.

“That’s why we will introduce an arts pupil premium to every primary school in England and Wales and consult on the design and national roll-out to extend this pupil premium to all secondary schools.

“This will be a £160 million boost for schools to invest in projects that will support cultural activities for schools over the longer-term,” the MP for Islington said.

It is not yet clear how the money would be distributed between schools.

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Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

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