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Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Government announces music education hub funding to 2020

12:01, 18th November 2016

The government has announced that it will spend £300m on music education hubs over the next four years, maintaining current levels of central investment.

The funding, which will continue to be administered by Arts Council England, will support the hubs’ work with schools, local authorities and community organisations. £75m had already been announced for the current year.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said the funding would help hundreds of thousands of young people from all backgrounds to enjoy ‘potentially life changing cultural activities’.

The government has also committed to ensuring that the funding will particularly benefit children in West Somerset, Norwich, Blackpool, Scarborough, Derby and Oldham. These six recently-announced ‘Opportunity Areas’ have been identified as the most challenged when it comes to social mobility.

Funding for In Harmony has been set at £500,000 a year until 2018, and £600,000 has been allocated to ‘other small music programmes across the country for each year until 2020’.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said the announcement was ‘good news for music education, children and young people across the whole of England’, adding: ‘A continuation of funding, secured for the next four years, will help enable music education hubs to plan their future and continue their life-changing work.’

Cautioning that proposals for extra responsibilities for music education hubs must be matched by additional funding, she added: ‘We hope this recognition of the importance of music education leads to a reconsideration of the proposed EBacc which has been so detrimental to music and the arts.’

A statement from the Music Education Council read: ‘This is excellent news and is a validation of the commitment and exemplary work of many music educators across the sector. The Government has again put its trust in us and we must continue to use the funding well, and continue to collect appropriate evidence to show just what we have achieved in 3 years’ time, ready to input into the next funding review in 2020.

‘We all know how important music education is and share the Government’s commitment to eliminate the postcode lottery. This includes working closely with our partners in schools, who are still required to include music for all as part of a broad and balanced curriculum and have their own funding to provide this.’

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