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£4m boost for schools & local authorities as Government secures music copyright deals

27th March 2015

Schools and local authorities across England will collectively save around £4 million after a copyright deal was struck for rights to the use of music in schools, the government confirmed today (27 March 2015).

Previously licences for the use of music had to be bought individually by schools and local authorities, often involving expensive and time-consuming negotiations. Now the government has agreed a deal to hold the copyright licences centrally, freeing schools from the burden of applying for them independently.

The government is determined to help teachers cut unnecessary workload and bureaucracy so they can focus on what they do best – teaching. Last month, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged to support the profession, in response to the Workload Challenge, by announcing a series of actions, including:

  • giving schools more notice of significant changes to the curriculum, exams and accountability, and not making changes to qualifications in the academic year or during a course, unless there are urgent reasons for doing so
  • a commitment by Ofsted not to change its handbook or framework during the school year, except when absolutely necessary, and to keep updating its new myths and facts document stating what inspectors do and do not expect to see

The copyright licences will cover a wide variety of uses of music, including the recording of pupils’ performances on CD and DVD, school discos, radios in the staffroom and even holding music for telephones.

The latest deals follow previous agreements over the past 2 years on rights to use films, TV shows and newspapers in schools. The total potential savings for schools and councils as a result of dealing with copyright centrally will be up to £16.5 million per year.

Schools Minister David Laws said:
Day in, day out, teachers across the country are working phenomenally hard to help children reach their full potential. We want to do all we can to support them to reduce the burden of unnecessary tasks so they can channel their resources into what is most important – educating young people. The simplifying of copyright licensing in schools is another example of this, giving schools across the country the freedom to work on raising attainment levels further while saving millions of pounds.

Jo Warner-Howard, Director of Education at the Copyright Licensing Agency, said:
Building on the success of the first centralised copyright licensing model, this new plan, which extends over a longer period and includes more copyright licences, is testament to what can be achieved through the collaboration of the copyright industry and the Department for Education. The bottom line is that by simplifying copyright licensing in schools, the substantial administrative savings will directly benefit schools whilst rewarding the crucial role of creative content in school life.

The new deals – which will come into effect from next month – have been struck with the Performing Right Society (PRS), Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and CCLI.

Meanwhile, the Copyright Licensing Agency licence, the Schools Printed Music licence and the Newspaper Licensing Agency licence have been extended for a further 5 years.

The announcement today builds on the action already taken by the government since 2010 to support teachers by reducing administrative burdens and workload, including:

  • making it easier for schools to extend the length of the school day, allowing more time for supervised study and extra-curricular activities, to the benefit of disadvantaged pupils in particular
  • cutting more than 21,000 pages of guidance, streamlining the inspection process and making it clear that formal written plans are not expected for every lesson
  • reducing paperwork for schools and businesses when arranging work experience placements, giving young people greater opportunities to make informed decisions about their future

Read more on the GOV website