News story

Government pledges to address 'musical divide'

Ministers to work together to ensure people from every background have access to quality music education.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and Education Secretary Michael Gove have welcomed Darren Henley’s Review into Music in Schools, responding with a pledge to end the “musical divide” between those wealthier children with access to great musical education and children in disadvantaged areas. To ensure that young people from every background have access to quality music education, the Government will commit £82.5 million to music services across England next year.

The money will be used to make opportunity more equal in music education and to enhance the prestige and esteem of music teaching as a career route for professional musicians.

Ministers committed to implement Darren Henley’s ideas on increasing access to music education, including:

  • getting more top music graduates and performers into teaching through Teach First
  • producing a comprehensive National Plan for Music Education setting out how children of all ages and ability can receive the best possible music education
  • moving to a national funding formula for allocating funding for music.

Access to the best musical education

Michael Gove said:

“Music has the power to touch the soul. It is a universal language understood by people of every culture. And it gives us all the chance to be transported by beauty.

“But access to the best musical education is not universal and the opportunity to benefit from great instrumental tuition is not shared equally. Many disadvantaged children are denied the music education they deserve. And that’s why we need to bridge this musical divide.

“All young people should have the chance to benefit from the opportunities that music can bring, not simply those pupils from wealthy backgrounds whose parents can afford to pay for lessons. So I am delighted to announce £82.5 million funding for music education for next year, protected to ensure it goes to the front line.”

World leading cultural institutions

Ed Vaizey said:

“Darren Henley has done a fantastic job helping us realise our goal of making sure that every child can experience the joy of music. We want all children to have the opportunity to learn an instrument and to sing, not just those whose family can afford private tuition. There’s no question that learning about music offers huge rewards, unlocking a lifetime of cultural pleasure and teaching vital life skills too.

“I’m delighted but not surprised that the contribution that our world leading orchestras, musicians and cultural institutions make to children’s musical development has been brought centre stage. I look forward to working closely with Michael Gove in the coming months to realise our ambitions, not just on music but cultural education more broadly.”

Further information

Published 15 February 2011