Government pledges £300m for music and arts education

18th November 2016 at 00:23
Funding will secure future of 121 music hubs for next four years

Ministers have pledged £300m over the next four years to encourage pupils to take up music and arts education.

The government will provide the money to an existing network of 121 music education hubs, which will work with schools, local authorities and community groups to get more children involved in the arts.

The announcement comes amid growing concerns that government reforms - such as the introduction of the English Baccalaureate measure - are squeezing out more creative subjects.

In September, former Conservative education secretary Lord Baker took aim at the EBacc, which requires students to sit GCSEs in English, maths, a language, a science and either history or geography, which he said "doesn't work" in its current form. 

School standards minister Nick Gibb said the new funding will offer opportunities to all students “not just the privileged few”.

"Music and the arts can transform lives and introduce young people to a huge range of opportunities - whether that is learning to play a musical instrument, understanding local heritage or attending a world-famous dance school,” he said.

According to the Department for Education, music hubs already help hundreds of thousands  of five to 18 year olds to access opportunities, such as playing an instrument, singing in a choir or joining a band.

The funding will be particularly focused on children living in West Somerset, Norwich, Blackpool, Scarborough, Derby and Oldham, described by education secretary Justine Greening as “opportunity areas”, where social mobility is at its lowest.

The move was welcomed by Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, who said it was “good news for music education, children and young people across the whole of England.

“A continuation of funding, secured for the next four years, will help enable music education hubs to plan their future and continue their life-changing work,” she added. 

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