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Primaries share pound;2m for music

Primary schools are to get a share of pound;2 million from the Government for musical instruments.

It is the first time that funding has been made available specifically to purchase and repair instruments for younger pupils. The money will be taken from the pound;30m music standards fund, outlined in the music manifesto two years ago and which pledged to provide every primary child with free or discounted musical lessons.

Lord Adonis, the schools minister, said: "Already, the number of primary school pupils learning an instrument has doubled since 2002.

"The music manifesto is clear in its aim that all young people, whatever their background or abilities, have access to a rich and diverse range of musical experiences."

Latest figures from the Department of Education and Skills show that 13 per cent of key stage 2 pupils are learning an instrument. The most popular is the violin.

The announcement came as a leading music educator called for better records to be kept of what music qualifications pupils have taken and the activities they have taken part in.

Kathryn Deane, co-chair of the music manifesto co-ordination group, believes that the "passports" could help young people control their own music education. She also proposed that a series of local websites should list details of all music providers in areas around the country, so that children can easily access the information.

Ms Deane said her plans would give young people responsibility for their music education.

She said: "Putting the young person at the centre means increasingly trusting them to manage their own learning. We, as adults, can expect them to do that only if they are provided with the tools that enable them to make informed decisions."

She said schools had a vital role to play in helping pupils put their passports to good use: "The key will be to see classroom teachers not so much as deliverers of teaching, but as managers of young people's learning.

"They would listen to a young person's wants and needs. What are you into? Where will you need to go for your gospel singing? For your DJ work?"

Ms Deane will unveil her proposals during the annual conference of the Federation of Music Services, being held in Liverpool this weekend.

Delegates will examine ways in which independent music providers can work together with schools, to offer children a broad and varied music education.

Colin Brackley Jones, chief executive of the Federation of Music Services, said: "We believe that the future of music education will be enhanced by a multiplicity of different providers working together.

"Music is on the Government's agenda at the moment. It has a higher profile than it's had for a very long time. We're certainly keen to seize the moment."

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