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Saved by the bell: Continued funding and uplift secured for Music Hubs

5th November 2019

The UK Association of Music Education – Music Mark has today received confirmation from the Department of Education (DfE) of ongoing funding for Music Education Hubs into the new Financial Year.  The news comes just as Hubs were having to revise an already over-stretched budget ahead of the new year, in some cases putting jobs of teachers and hub staff at risk.

The settlement of funding for Hubs to continue delivering the National Plan for Music Education has been agreed to cover the 2020/21 financial year as well as providing a small uplift of funding for this year (2019/20).  This follows months of conversations by Music Mark with the DfE, and a public campaign in partnership with the ISM, for the government to confirm it would continue to support its Music Education Hubs despite the National Plan for Music Education having been considered to run only until March 2020.

The funding announcement confirms the following:

  1. An ‘in year uplift’ for all Music Education Hubs as part of the recognition of continued financial pressures.  This funding allocation is in part linked to the DfE announcement that they were recommending a 2.75% pay increase to teaching staff and would support schools for the 0.75% which was over and above that expected (and budgeted for).  The amount which has been allocated to Music Education Hubs is £265,000 and will be divided across all Music Education Hubs – as it was in January 2019 when Music Mark negotiated and secured £1.33m for a similar in-year uplift for 2018/19 and the, now, first uplift for this financial year (2019/20).
  2. The funding allocation for 2020/21 which is just under £79m.  Although this is being seen by government as a ‘roll-over year’ the figure is slightly higher for two reasons:
    1. This figure includes a percentage which has been set aside to continue to provide support those who are still providing the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
    2. The two uplifts given for this financial year (19/20) will be also be within the 2020/21 figure for Music Education Hubs to deliver the Core and Extension Roles. Exactly how much each Music Education Hub will receive will be confirmed by Arts Council England and will be based on pupil numbers in each local authority area.

Music Mark is delighted that the announcement has been made before the government goes into the period of ‘purdah’ in the lead up to the General Election.  According to Bridget Whyte, CEO of Music Mark, the news couldn’t have come soon enough: “The delay in getting news of continued funding has been extremely stressful for the organisations who lead and are part of Music Education Hubs across the country. There have been some who were in the process of preparing redundancy consultation processes”.  Indeed, one Music Education Hub Lead Organisation on hearing the news stated: “This is such a relief!….my deadline was today for sending a paper to the board for redundancy proposals”.

Whilst additional funding for this year and confirmation and a small increase of funding for 2020/21 is welcome, Music Mark continues to stress that more funding is needed for Music Education Hubs to be able to deliver the aspirations of the Government’s National Plan for Music Education.  Alongside its Membership, partners and the wider sector, Music Mark continues to work for additional funding to be found to ensure that all children and young people have access to excellent musical learning in and out of school.