Rhinegold Photo credit: Marc Kirsten
Bridget Whyte, CEO of Music Mark

Chris Walters

Music education hubs receive another year’s funding

9:08, 6th November 2019

The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that England’s music education hubs will receive funding for the 2020-21 financial year, putting an end to speculation that the government may not renew the annual funding that hubs have received since their formation in September 2012. In addition, the DfE has allocated an additional £265,000 to supplement the current financial year’s funding.

The announcement means that for the current year, the previously agreed hub funding settlement of £75,840,000 will rise to £76,105,000 once the £265,000 has been added. For 2020-21, a funding settlement of £76,960,000 will be allocated – but this will be supplemented by approximately £2m (a figure that will be clarified at a later date) to cover increased employers’ pension contributions. This puts hub funding for 2020-21 at somewhere approaching £79m. As usual, the amount received by each hub will be calculated by Arts Council England based on pupil numbers.

MT has been told that that DfE will not be publishing details of the new funding settlement due to the forthcoming general election. Arts Council England, meanwhile, communicated news of the funding to hubs on 5 November. The figures quoted here were supplied by Music Mark, the UK Association of Music Education, which has published a news story on its website explaining the funding in further detail.

Bridget Whyte, CEO of Music Mark, said: ‘The delay in getting news of continued funding has been extremely stressful for the organisations who lead and are part of music education hubs across the country. There have been some who were in the process of preparing redundancy consultation processes.’ Music Mark added that the news was ‘welcome’ but that ‘more funding is needed for music education hubs to be able to deliver the aspirations of the government’s National Plan for Music Education.’ There is currently no information on whether the National Plan will be extended beyond 2020, the year it was due to end, although the funding of hubs into 2021 suggests that its remit may be extended.

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) also welcomed the news. Deborah Annetts, the ISM’s chief executive, said: ‘The ISM welcomes the government’s long-awaited announcement of approximately £79m [of] funding for music education hubs, an increase of about five percent. Music education hubs form an integral part of music education in our primary and secondary schools, and the work of teachers within hubs is incredibly valuable. We are delighted that the government has increased the level of hub funding which will enable hubs to cover the increases in employer contributions into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and the [government’s stipulated] increase in employed teachers’ salaries, which have come into force.’

Annetts continued: ‘There is no doubt the government is committed to music education. Therefore as a matter of urgency we call on government to reform the EBacc which continues to have a detrimental impact on music and the other creative subjects in our schools. There is a huge amount of research [showing] that music is no longer taught at Key Stage 3 in more than 50 percent of state-funded secondary schools. In other schools it has disappeared altogether. We therefore urge the government to add a creative subject to the EBacc.’

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