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.

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