Just in: UK finds more money for instrument tuition

Just in: UK finds more money for instrument tuition


norman lebrecht

January 11, 2019

Intensive pressure has prompted the Government to pump an extra £1.33 million into instrument teaching and start work on ‘ a new model music curriculum’. In the thick of Whitehall’s Brexit confusion, this seems somehow to have sneaked under the wire.

Department of Education press release below.

In order to ensure all pupils are able to enjoy high quality lessons, schools are to receive a new model music curriculum created by an independent panel of experts, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb announced today (11 January).

This comes as a £1.33million funding boost is given to the Department for Education’s music education hubs, which helped hundreds of thousands of young people learn to play an instrument in whole classes in 2016/17.

The new curriculum will be developed by a group of teachers, education leaders and musicians and will be published in summer 2019. It will provide schools with a sequenced and structured template curriculum for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.

As well as ensuring all pupils can benefit from knowledge rich and diverse lessons, it is hoped that the curriculum will make it for easier for teachers to plan lessons and help to reduce workload.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Having the opportunity to study and explore music isn’t a privilege, it’s a vital part of a broad and balanced curriculum – and that’s why I’m determined that all pupils should have access to a world class music education.

All pupils at least up to the age of 14 should study music in school. We want to make sure their lessons are of the very highest quality and pupils leave school having experienced an excellent music education so those who wish to do so can take up opportunities to pursue musical careers.

This new model curriculum and the new money for our successful music hubs will make sure the next generation of Adeles, Nigel Kennedys and Alex Turners have all the support they need in school.

In 2012 the government set up a network of 120 music education hubs to support the teaching of music both in and out of school. These hubs are being supported by £300million between 2016 and 2020, which forms part of an overall investment of £500million in the arts during that period, making it the second highest funded element of the curriculum behind PE.

This new funding – which is on top of £300million allocated to the programme between 2016 and 2020 – will help ensure that the hubs can keep up their good work. According to a report by Arts Council England, this work has reached 89% of schools and seen over 700,000 pupils learning instruments together with their classmates in 2016/17.


  • Will Duffay says:

    There are 20,100 state schools in the UK. So that’s £66 per school. Thanks Tories: it’s really going to make a huge difference. Meanwhile, they’ve given a £14m contract for ferries to a company which doesn’t have any ferries as part of their Brexit no-deal planning.

    • buxtehude says:

      As if aspiring ferry companies don’t deserve a chance to learn their business! Everybody knows (except maybe W Duffay) that the sink-or-swim method is the only one that works here. It will be exciting for everyone.

  • Larry W says:

    As stated in the article:
    “This new funding [£1.33million]– which is on top of £300million allocated to the programme between 2016 and 2020 – will help ensure that the [120 music education] hubs can keep up their good work.”

    Simple math shows that works out to £2.51million per hub. One would assume reading is a part of the curriculum, as well.

  • David Ward says:

    I presume this is for England rather than for the ‘UK,’ but please correct me if I’m wrong. Here in Scotland we could certainly do with more money for instrumental tuition.