Musical talent to be nurtured locally

26th March 2004 at 00:00
Future "Billy Elliots" will not have to leave their local schools to study music and dance thanks to four new specialist centres.

Talented pupils will be given government grants to study at the new centres in Leeds, London and Newcastle, and others will be taught at existing junior departments in musical conservatories.

Speaking at a music conference at the Purcell school in Hertfordshire, school standards minister David Miliband, said: "Not only do we want to give all children the opportunity to enjoy and participate in music, but we also need to identify and nurture those with a desire and the dedication required to make music or dance a career.

"We all remember the character of Billy Elliot leaving his home town to train in London. I want to extend these opportunities to children similar to the character of Billy so they can enjoy the benefit of excellent training but still go to their local school."

Mr Miliband added that the Government's aim was to establish a specialist music and dance centre in every region over the next few years.

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