Boost for top young arts talent in schools

Government will spend £90m on most talented pupils

Ministers have announced an extra £96 million in funding for talented music, drama and dance pupils.

Almost £90 million will go to the Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) and the Dance and Drama Awards (DaDa which help 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

There will also be schemes for training at the Royal Ballet School in London;Film-making classes at the BFI Film Academy; opportunities to study art and design at local colleges or universities; and visits to museums and galleries.

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

The Department for Education says the £96m is in addition to support for music hubs, which are responsible for music education in England.

Arts Council England welcomed the move saying it would givemore pupils the opportunity to engage in cultural activities in and out of school and supporting the Arts Council’s ambition of ensuring high quality cultural education exists for a broad and diverse range of young people.

This funding is in addition to the £150 million already announced for Music Education Hubs in 2018-20.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “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.”

He claimed that the latest statistics showed that 245,454 pupils took GCSE exams in at least one arts subject, representing 46.5% of 16-year- olds, a similar proportion to that of 2011.

Some see the English Baccalaureate as a threat to cultural education in schools, but we firmly disagree. The government’s drive to ensure all pupils benefit from a stretching core academic curriculum need be no barrier to pupils enjoying a high-quality arts education. The best schools in the country combine excellent cultural education as a complement to excellence in core academic subjects. Rigorously taught, music complements maths, drama complements English, and the study of art complements history. With support and investment from government, we hope that still more young people will take arts GCSEs, because a high-quality arts education should be the entitlement of every pupil, as part of a broad, balanced and stretching curriculum.”

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