Welcome overtures;Opinion

22nd May 1998 at 01:00
The TES's Music for the Millennium campaign has been in existence for just one month - but already ministers have announced policies designed to support music in schools.

Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett, writing in today's TES (see page 13), has promised to reverse a decade of decline, and to explore the possibility of "ring-fencing" money allocated to local authorities - to make sure that they spend it on school music.

And last week, after our interview with Sir Simon Rattle in which he suggested that Britain risks the "death of imagination," Culture Secretary Chris Smith pledged National Lottery money for musical instruments, plus tuition, for young people in school.

There is still a way to go before promises become realities; but such a speedy result is more than gratifying. It demonstrates that ministers are listening, and will not ride rough-shod over well-founded public anxieties. But it also shows that they recognise what we all know - we need bread, but we need roses too.

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