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Youth music to double its money;TES Millennium Anthem

Symphonies and singing may once again be heard in schools thanks to the Government's pound;180m, reports Diane Spencer

HARD-PRESSED local authority music services will get an extra pound;180 million, doubling their funding, the Government announced this week.

The money comprises pound;150m from the Department for Education and Employment's Standards Fund to be used over three years to support local authority music services and pound;30m from the Arts Council Lottery Fund which has been given to the Youth Music Trust.

The news was announced by David Blunkett, the Education Secretary, and Culture Secretary Chris Smith.

It follows a TES campaign which began last spring to rescue music in schools and coincided with the launch of the TES Anthem for the Millennium project (see box).

Music services have lost an estimated pound;100m over the past decade thanks to local authority cuts. Teachers and academics have complained that young people's music making has been confined to middle-class areas as public funding dried up through the late 80s and early 90s.

Mr Blunkett said pound;30m would protect existing services and pound;60m would expand those services and establish new ones where none previously existed.

Mr Smith said the Youth Music Trust would extend access to music making for young people in and out of school. The trust, which will be in operation from April, will also advise the DFEE on the quality of music services.

The cash will support instrumental music tuition for pupils; training and support for teachers; supplying instruments for children, youth orchestras and bands.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, welcomed the announcement, saying that music had been badly squeezed for years.

Richard Morris, chair of the Music Education Council, said it was a positive response to the decline in music activity.

He applauded the collaboration between the two departments and the intention to enhance quality of tuition as well as quantity.

But he warned that there was a danger of education authorities withdrawing existing funding in the long term. Mr Morris also feared they would not take advantage of the "matching funding" option where the Government matches any money the councils raise.

Michael Wearne, chair of the Federation of Music Services, "strongly welcomed" the initiative as the Government had acknowledged the case the FMS had been making over the years. But he feared that LEAs might maintain current spending, not add to it.

Graham Lane, education chair of the Local Government Association, said it was good news for future generations of young children. "The Government should be praised for listening to local government and the music world.

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