Posted on 1 December 2011
The Musicians Benevolent Fund has welcomed the recently announced National Plan for Music Education. This is the Government’s response to Darren Henley’s review published earlier this year.
The plan contains measures that could radically change the music education landscape in England. If implemented successfully, schools, other music education providers and arts organisations will work more collaboratively to offer young musicians a wider range of experiences, with clearer progression routes into the profession.
However, a significant reduction in central Government funding from £82.5m this year to £60m by 2015 is likely to pose real challenges for everyone working to provide high quality music education for young people.
Central to the plan is the establishment of a Music Education Hub in every local authority area from September 2012. These hubs will take on the work currently delivered by local authority music services, but for the first time their funding will be overseen by Arts Council England.
The Government has also committed to maintaining its support for gifted and talented young musicians through the long-standing Music and Dance Scheme and the National Youth Music Organisations such as the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (a key partner of the Musicians Benevolent Fund).
In another welcome move, the Take it Away scheme is being extended once again to younger musicians so that under-18s will be able to purchase an instrument using an interest-free loan.
Over on the Guardian’s blog, Tom Service gives his considered view of the Plan. You can also read responses from the ABRSM and the Federation of Music Services.