Government to back Britain’s young players with major investment in music and sport.
Acknowledging the vital role of music in developing not only young people’s creativity but also their cognitive development – and that of sport, not just in developing our future champions but in nurturing wellbeing, both physical and mental, the government’s Schools White Paper promises some exciting developments for everyone interested in an enriched school curriculum.
‘Levelling Up’ opportunities in Music and Sport
The idea’s part of the much-discussed ‘Levelling Up’ agenda, the aim being to level up kids’ sporting and musical opportunities in life, as well as generally improving their educational outcomes.
The National Plan for Music Education
So, how’s it going to work? Well, under the new National Plan for Music Education, the Music Hubs Programme’s getting an extra £79 million for the next three years – for which schools are asked to include at least an hour’s music in their weekly schedule. That creates the chance for tens of thousands of pupils to begin learning an instrument, along with another £25 million earmarked for schools to buy no fewer than 200,000 musical instruments (and other musical equipment too)! Additionally, in the spirit of ‘levelling up’, the provision of specially adapted instruments ensures that SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) pupils aren’t left out.
“These opportunities will give thousands more pupils access to an ambitious, enriching curriculum that not only supports them academically, but also supports their physical and mental wellbeing…”
£320 million PE and Sport Premium
On the sporting side, the £320 million PE and Sport Premium will go a very long way in boosting all young people’s general fitness and mental wellbeing. And for those with a special gift and an all-consuming passion for their sport, there’s an extra £11 million on offer to help get their careers in professional sport up and running.
‘These opportunities will give thousands more pupils access to an ambitious, enriching curriculum that not only supports them academically but also supports their physical and mental wellbeing,’ says Education Secretary Nadhim Zadawi. ‘I want every child to have the opportunity to develop a love of music and sport, so they can explore their passions and fulfil their potential.’
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries agrees: ‘Every young person has the potential to succeed, whether they are destined to be the next Sam Ryder, Leah Williamson or simply inspired to have a lifelong love of music and sport… We want to make sure every child, regardless of where they grow up or where they go to school, has the tools they need to achieve their ambitions.’
Of course, exciting as it is, this initiative isn’t just about the feel good factor – there’s hard-nosed and far-sighted business sense behind it, as Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Chief Executive of UK Music points out:
‘Music is a national asset that contributes billions to our economy, improves our health and wellbeing and boosts our global reputation – and that all relies on a strong talent pipeline. A thorough musical education also brings huge benefits to children, whatever they go on to do in later life, and it is in our national interest to have a musically literate society.’
A boost to young people’s health and wellbeing
“Levelling up the nation’s health, tackling disparities and giving every child the healthiest start in life – no matter where they’re from — is a top priority for government…”
And because playing – whether it’s music or sport – is so beneficial to health throughout life, it’s not just the Culture and Education departments’ ‘baby’ – the Department for Health and Social Care is every bit as enthusiastic and also contributes funding. As Minister for Public Health Maggie Throup explains, ‘Levelling up the nation’s health, tackling disparities and giving every child the healthiest start in life – no matter where they’re from – is a top priority for government… Being physically active in childhood is vital to long-term health and wellbeing, and this funding will help children enjoy leading more physical lives.’
The initiative is sure to be of great interest to all education professionals – and, of course, especially to PE and Music teachers. You can read more about the Government’s school sports and action plan here and the Government’s plan for music education here.