Government pushes Arts Council to expand kids orgs

Government pushes Arts Council to expand kids orgs


norman lebrecht

March 20, 2023

A curious annnnouncement from ACE requires some elucidation.

It reads:

Arts Council England and the Department for Education have announced eight new National Youth Music Organisations, taking the total number from seven to fifteen …

All fifteen National Youth Music Organisations will receive funding as part of the Arts Council’s 2023-26 Investment Programme. The Department for Education has recognised the outstanding work of the organisations in the programme and will contribute £524,410 a year towards the programme.

Between those lines read two things.

1 ACE is desperate to move the conversation away from its demolition of opera compannies.

2 The Government, in the person of activist schools minister Nick Gibb has thrown them a lifeline.

Gibb says: ‘High quality music education is an important part of children and young people’s lives, both in and out of school, which is why the Government published the National Plan for Music Education last year and the Model Music Curriculum in 2021. I want to see more young people across the country given the opportunity to make music, so I am delighted that we are expanding the number of National Youth Music Organisations from seven to fifteen. This is an important step towards the ambition set out in the National Plan, for all children and young people to have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally.’

The new recipient orgs are:

– National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain, which gives children the chance to take part in making orchestral music
– Open Up Music, which launched the world’s first disabled-led national youth orchestra and now help schools set up accessible orchestras for disabled young people
– Awards for Young Musicians, which provides funding and support to young musicians from low-income families
– UD, which supports young people to explore Black music and culture
– Pagoda Arts, which teaches young people about Chinese music and culture.
– National Youth Folk Ensemble, which enables young people throughout England to create and perform inspiring new arrangements of folk music
– Orchestras for All, which launched the world’s first disabled-led national youth orchestra, and also works with special schools and Music Education Hubs to set up accessible orchestras for young disabled people
– Sound and Music, which creates opportunities for young people aged 11 – 21 to compose and create their own music  


  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Sounds like an excellent idea. As it is not solely English will the arts councils of Scotland and Wales be making a contribution too?

  • Music Educator says:

    If you take the £524,410 and divide it by the fifteen organisations, this is only £35,000 per organisation. All help is good help but let’s not overplay this as a massive investment.