Press release

Thousands of children to benefit from music and arts investment

The government has announced more than £300 million to help young people from every background enjoy the benefits of music and the arts.

Primary school children playing recorders

A multimillion pound investment in music and arts education will help hundreds of thousands of young people from all backgrounds enjoy potentially life changing cultural activities, Schools Minister Nick Gibb announced today (18 November 2016).

Over the next 4 years the government will provide £300 million to a network of 121 music education hubs to work with schools, local authorities and community organisations to get more young people taking part in music and arts.

Music hubs help hundreds of thousands of 5- to 18-year-olds each year access activities like playing an instrument, singing in a choir or joining a band. Today’s announcement will allow them to reach even more pupils.

Government investment will also help young people from lower income families access music and arts. The Music and Dance scheme, which provides grants to talented young artists who could not otherwise afford to attend world-class institutions like the Royal Ballet School, will receive an additional £29 million a year until 2018.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Music and the arts can transform lives and introduce young people to a huge range of opportunities - whether that is learning to play a musical instrument, understanding local heritage or attending a world-famous dance school.

We’re investing more than £300 million over the next 4 years so that those opportunities are open to all, not just the privileged few.

The government will work to ensure that the funding particularly benefits children in the 6 recently announced opportunity areas - parts of the country identified as the most challenged when it comes to social mobility - to give those young people access to the best possible music and cultural education.

This will see them building on schemes like one set up by Oldham Music Hub which works with children with a range of special needs. The sessions are geared to the needs of the children and include songs and musical instrument activities to develop social and communication skills.

A further 6 cultural education programmes which cover heritage, dance, art and design, film and museums will share a further £4.1 million a year until 2018. This includes Heritage Schools, a programme run by Historic England, which aims to ensure school children develop an understanding of their local heritage. The scheme will expand into Blackpool next year, another of the opportunity areas.

Alongside this, further funding for a series of other arts and cultural education programmes has been announced, including:

  • £500,000 a year until 2018 to In Harmony, an orchestral training programme for pupils in extremely disadvantaged areas, intended to develop positive character traits
  • £600,000 for other small music programmes across the country for each year until 2020
  • £13.5 million a year until 2018 for the Dance and Drama Awards scheme. This scheme offers income-assessed support for tuition fees and living costs for students aged 16 to 23 at a number of high quality private dance and drama schools

Notes to editors

The £300 million for music education hubs - of which £75 million has already been announced for this year - builds on the £271 million invested in music hubs between 2012 and 2016. The funding will be administered by Arts Council England, which has a wealth of experience and strategic partnerships to improve music and cultural education for children.

Music education hubs are local partnerships - including schools, local authorities and arts organisations - which work together to ensure that all 5- to 18-year-olds have access to high-quality musical opportunities.

Small music programmes

  1. Music for Youth provides opportunities for more than 60,000 children and young people each year to take part in, and attend, a series of music festivals. School Standards Minister Nick Gibb visited the rehearsals at the Music for Youth Proms on Wednesday 16 November.
  2. In Harmony provides intensive orchestral training to pupils in extremely disadvantaged areas and is intended to develop positive character traits in pupils such as a sense of loyalty and commitment and to improve parental engagement in education.
  3. National Youth Music Organisations are elite ensembles which also receive funding from Arts Council England and charitable organisations, as well as fees from members’ parents.

Opportunity areas

  1. Six areas (West Somerset, Norwich, Blackpool, Scarborough, Derby and Oldham) - identified as the most challenged when it comes to social mobility - will have access to funding to address the biggest challenges they face.
  2. Opportunity areas will see local partnerships formed with early years providers, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, charities and local authorities, to ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
  3. The aim of opportunity areas is to build young people’s knowledge and skills and provide them with the best advice and opportunities, including working with organisations such as the Careers and Enterprise Company, the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the National Citizen Service.

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Published 18 November 2016