Press release

More funding to help thousands of extra children enjoy music

Education Minister Nick Gibb announces £18 million of additional funding to boost music education.

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

children playing keyboards

Music education for children will receive an £18 million funding boost Education Minister Nick Gibb announced today (22 July).

The extra £18 million will be allocated to music education, including to the national network of 123 music education hubs established in 2012. This brings the total amount of funding available to music hubs in the next financial year to over £75 million.

The additional money will bring this government’s investment in music education to around £390 million since 2012.

Music hubs were set up in 2012 as part of the National Plan for Music Education. In their first year the hubs gave nearly half a million children the opportunity to learn an instrument for the first time as well as working with almost 15,000 school choirs, orchestras and bands.

Data published by Arts Council England shows that in the 2012 to 2013 academic year, the first year of music hubs, nearly 80,000 disadvantaged pupils and more than 30,000 pupils with special educational needs took part in instrumental ensembles and choirs, demonstrating the impact of the hubs.

This extra funding will mean thousands more disadvantaged pupils will have access to music lessons and enable hubs to purchase tens of thousands more instruments.

Education Minister Nick Gibb said:

No education can be complete without the arts and music playing a central role. That is why we established music hubs to replace a patchy service and ensure every child is given the opportunity to learn an instrument.

Music hubs have made a very encouraging start - and now we want to build on that. That is why we are increasing funding by £18 million. No children should miss out on the inspiration and excitement that music can bring to their lives.

Music remains a statutory subject in the new national curriculum and we have reformed it to broaden pupils’ experiences and make it more aspirational. We’ve also seen more entries at GCSE in 2014 than the previous year, reflecting our ambition to give every child the opportunity to play and enjoy music.

Music hubs were established to make sure all children receive a high quality music education. Offering whole class free instrumental tuition and the opportunity to perform in orchestras and ensembles will help pupils develop a lifelong participation in and enjoyment of music.

Darren Henley Managing Director of Classic FM who developed the National Plan for Music Education, said:

This is great news. Music can have a huge impact on a child’s life, nurturing creative thinking and opening them up to new experiences.

I’m delighted the Department of Education is now spending even more in this vital area. Music hubs have already helped hundreds of thousands of children try a musical instrument, sing or join a choir or orchestra.

This new funding will help them give even more young people from all backgrounds the chance to appreciate all the joys music can bring.

A key objective of music hubs is to give every 5- to 18-year-old the chance to learn to play an instrument as part of whole class tuition for at least a term.

Many hubs are also subsidising instrument hire to those on low incomes so nobody’s background is a barrier to music. For example, in Hull instrument hire is for all who are having music lessons at their Music Hub. In Brighton instruments can be hired for £37 a term but families on low incomes can hire an instrument for free.

Alan Davey, CEO of Arts Council England, said:

This is very welcome news, we’re delighted at the increased opportunity it will bring to support all young people to enjoy music and develop their talents through a connected music education landscape.

The increase is recognition of the important work of music hubs to make sure that every child has the opportunity to be motivated and inspired by music.

Hubs can now plan confidently to build on their work so far with schools, local authorities and cultural organisations, to ensure a strong local music offer for children, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.

The government has also introduced a new fairer funding formula for hubs replacing the previous outdated model which was not based on the number of pupils in the area. Now funding is allocated through a per pupil process that allocates extra money for the most deprived areas - this means funding for music education can be targeted where it is needed most.

Boosting music education

The music curriculum, a statutory subject for all 5- to 14-year-olds, has been reformed to make it more rigorous and aspirational. From September this year, children will experience music of all kinds across a range of historical periods, understand the history of music and how to make it. For example from the age of 7 every child will be taught how to read staff notation - the language in which all the greatest works of Western classical music are written, including Mozart’s piano sonatas, Beethoven’s symphonies, and Verdi’s operas

On Wednesday 16 July proposed content for new world-class GCSE and A levels was released for consultation. The new content was developed in response to advice by subject experts and awarding organisations, including Pearson, WJEC, OCR and AQA.

The £84 million Music and Dance Scheme, which supports exceptionally talented musicians and dancers, pays the fees for young people from low-income families to learn their craft at top institutions like the Royal Ballet School, and the Purcell School, home to the winner of this year’s Young Musician of the Year competition, Martin James Bartlett.

Other government-backed programmes include In Harmony, which works in some of the country’s most deprived areas to transform the lives of children through community-based orchestral music, the National Youth Music Organisations and Music for Youth which culminates in the School Proms giving young people across the country the chance to showcase their talent on the big stage of the Royal Albert Hall.

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Published 22 July 2014