£96m funding for arts education for ‘talented’ pupils

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The School Standards Minister for England, Nick Gibb, has announced £96 million ‘to support talented music, drama and dance pupils kick-start their career in the arts’.

Music, art and design, drama and dance are included in the national curriculum in England and compulsory in all government-funded schools from the age of 5 to 14. According to the Department for Education in London, the additional £96m takes the total level of support for music and arts programmes to £496 million since 2016.

Almost £90 million of combined funding will go to the Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) and the Dance and Drama Awards (DaDa). These funds support the most talented pupils to attend prestigious arts institutions, such as the Royal Ballet School in London and Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

The orchestral ‘In Harmony’ education projects in Liverpool, Lambeth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Leeds, Telford and Wrekin/Stoke-on-Trent will receive a share of £1 million to help them to continue to provide music education for disadvantaged pupils in their area.

Nick Gibb said:

‘The UK has a strong cultural heritage. We have always nurtured creative talent in this country and have a rich history of world famous musicians, actors and dancers.

‘For many, this journey starts at school, which is why it is important we support them from the beginning.

‘This funding will give more young people the opportunity to develop their talents and help world-famous institutions discover the next generation’s Billy Elliot.

‘Arts subjects are an important part of our broad and balanced curriculum, and thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, academic standards are rising with 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.’

Gibb’s comments are at odds with the impact of London government’s controversial EBacc policy, which critics believe to be responsible for a year-on-year reduction in the uptake of all creative subjects at GCSE and A level by school pupils in England.

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