UK: Sport and music education championed with new investment

New sport and music opportunities announced to better support children’s development

Children across the country to be supported to find and develop their passions through increased opportunities to study music, learn instruments, and take up sports and activities thanks to a multi-million-pound investment into sports and music education.

The announcement made by the government today (25 June) builds on the pledge in the School’s White Paper to provide all children with an enriching school curriculum, helping to level up their opportunities as well as their educational outcomes.

As part of this, tens of thousands of pupils will be given the chance to learn a musical instrument, thanks to new capital funding worth £25 million for schools to purchase musical instruments and equipment. This will include adapted instruments for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), so that every pupil will have the opportunity to develop a love for music.

Schools will also be asked to offer at least one hour of music curriculum a week as part of the launch of a new National Plan for Music Education. Music has been shown to not only support children to develop their creativity, but also their cognitive development, which is why a further £79 million will also be made available every year until 2025 for the Music Hubs programme.

Further opportunities for pupils to get active and stay healthy will also become available through the PE and Sport Premium. £320 million will be delivered to schools in 2022/23 to give more children access to high quality PE lessons and sporting opportunities, supporting both their physical and mental wellbeing. £11 million will also support the continuation of the School Games programme to give particularly passionate and talented young people the opportunity to participate in competitive sport.

Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi said:

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.

That’s why I’m thrilled that we’re updating our National Plan for Music Education, as well as providing students with around 200,000 new musical instruments.

The PE and Sport Premium will continue to support schools and I hope that upcoming events like the Women’s Euros and Commonwealth Games will inspire more young people to get active.

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.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

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.

As part of the updated guidance in the National Plan for Music Education, every school will be expected to have a designated music lead or head of department. The plan also sets out the ambition for every pupil to have at least one hour a week of high-quality music education in key stages 1-3. It will also provide teachers and young people guidance on how to progress a career in music.

The guidance comes alongside additional initiatives in the National Plan for Music Education to further develop instrument and music teaching, including a pilot to improve music progression in disadvantaged areas and the roll-out of an inclusion strategy in every music hub area so that all children and young people can benefit from high quality music education.

Chief Executive of UK Music, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said:

Music is a national asset that contributes billions to the 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.

The new National Plan for Music Education, and commitment of capital investment is very welcome. Music can transform lives – so it is vital that music education does not become the preserve of a privileged few and is available to everyone, regardless of their background. Continued investment in music education is vital if we want to unlock the huge creative potential of young people and level up opportunities across the country.

Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, Geoff Taylor, said:

We welcome Government’s renewed focus on music education, which will support the future of the UK’s world-leading music sector. We know from our experience with The BRIT School that music can play an essential role in developing young people’s creativity, teaching them vital skills and, crucially, promoting wellbeing.

We are therefore delighted to see new investment to provide instruments and music equipment to schools. Our industry will continue to support a wide range of education programmes to ensure that skills learnt in the classroom can help young people thrive in our diverse and growing sector. We will look closely at the detail of the plan and work collaboratively with government and education partners to maximise its impact.

To further boost children’s engagement with sport both inside and outside of school, the School Games programme aims to develop sporting talent at an early age. Multiple Olympic athletes have started their careers on the programme, with 29 School Games alumni winning medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

CEO of the Youth Sport Trust, Ali Oliver MBE, said:

At the end of a really successful National School Sport Week, we welcome confirmation of this funding for primary schools across England, it is urgently needed, and we know schools will be relieved to be able to confirm arrangements for September. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those working in and with schools who have maintained momentum, keeping children active and schools moving.

Unhappy and unhealthy children don’t learn, if children don’t learn we won’t have a society fit for the future. The Youth Sport Trust is working to build back play, physical activity, and school sport in children’s lives, helping them to balance the demands of a digital age, and create societal change when it comes to the place and value of PE and school sport. Today’s announcement is a positive first step toward this.

The PE and Sport Premium and School Games programme support the government’s commitment to ensuring children and young people have access to at least 60 minutes, or 20 minutes for children with a disability, of physical activity a day. Building on this commitment, £10 million is supporting schools to open up sport and swimming facilities. The Department for Education has already provided funding from phase one and two of this initiative to schools and is currently procuring a national delivery partner to allocate further funding and advice to schools over the next phase of the programme.

Minister for Public Health, Maggie Throup said:

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.

This major investment means children will have access to more high quality PE lessons and opportunities to try different sports.

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 PE and Sport Premium is funded by both the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Social Care.

The Government’s commitment to ensuring that children and young people have access to at least 60 minutes of sport and physical activity per day is set out in the school sport and activity action plan.

Non-statutory guidance for schools on providing an ambitious and wide ranging music curriculum is set out in the model music curriculum for key stages 1 to 3.

We have estimated that £25 million will enable children to have access to approximately 200,000 new instruments on the assumption that one musical instrument is £100. This would build on existing stock of musical instruments and equipment.

UK Chief Medical Officer Physical Activity Guidelines are here and UK Chief Medical Officer Physical Activity Guidelines for disabled children and disabled young people are here.