The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, confirmed £3m for improving music services in schools across Wales over the next two years.
The fund aims to increase access and opportunities for children and young people in Wales to learn new instruments and study music. It builds on initiatives such as Anthem and will offer opportunities to ensure the provision of high quality, universal access to musical education for all learners.
£1.5million will be spent in 2018/19, with a further £1.5 million allocated for music services next year. This includes £1million per annum as agreed as part of the two-year budget agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, and £0.5m as announced in yesterday’s final budget allocation.
Local Authorities have received £1.4million via the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) which may be used to support a variety of services including:
- Purchasing new and endangered instruments
- Ensuring all pupils have access to lessons, exams and courses
- Covering costs of attendance at orchestras, choirs and bands
- Initiating a ‘rock and pop’ ensemble
- Supporting music co-operative arrangements
National Youth Arts Wales has received £100,000 to continue their music services, including youth ensembles.
Kirsty Williams, said:
“Music is at the heart of our nation’s rich heritage and I am absolutely committed to ensuring all our young people, whatever their background, have the same opportunities to develop their musical talent and reach their full potential.
“Schools will already be delivering musical education as part of our progressive new curriculum, and this additional funding will help break down barriers, such as costs for exams and access to instruments.”
Bethan Sayed AM, Committee Chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, said:
"I'm pleased by this announcement and that more money has been committed to this than initially proposed in the Welsh Government, Plaid Cymru budget agreement.
“People across the sector, throughout Wales, have been calling for extra, targeted support and I hope that the funding announced will start to reverse the decline we've witnessed in music in schools.
"The Education Secretary has worked with me and others in good faith and this is a testament to what can be achieved when there is consensus on an issue."