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The English National Plan for Music Education

30th May 2024

Titled The Power of Music to Change Lives, the refreshed National Plan for Music Education (NPME) in England was released on 25 June 2022 by the Department for Education. It replaced the previous NPME which was published in 2011. The plan sets out the government’s vision to enable all children and young people in England to: 

  • learn to sing, play an instrument and create music together 
  • have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally 


Funding to deliver the English National Plan for Music Education 

Music Hubs, a partnership of music education organisations working together, receive £76.1 million per year from the Government to help fund their activity linked to the NPME. The funding has been the same cash value since 2019 and is currently less than the allocation by government to music education in 2011. With inflation, that amounts to a significant reduction in funding over that period. Additionally, the new 2022 Plan is incredibly ambitious and much more detailed than its predecessor, and yet funding remains the same. This makes it extremely challenging for music hubs to be able to deliver the government’s ambitions for the plan in a quality way. As a subject association for Music Education, Music Mark works to influence decisions including advocating for more funding for music education. Our next project is costing the National Plan for Music Education. 


Costing the English National Plan for Music Education 

Music Mark have commissioned an independent think tank, Demos, to cost the English National Plan for Music Education. This research aims to understand the full costs associated with the government’s National Plan and therefore the real level of support needed for providers to deliver the plan.  

Demos will work closely with those in the music education sector (Arts Council England, unions, music education practitioners and school leaders,) to calculate the various costs associated with the plan. This will include the specific costs associated with the changes to the Music Hubs network. A combination of expert consultation, stakeholder surveys, and data collection (through Freedom of Information requests, publicly available data and other means) will help us understand the range of associated costs and potential financial barriers to implementing the plan.

We believe that the funding given to music hubs isn’t sufficient to deliver the ambitions of the English National Plan for Music Education. This project with Demos will help us evidence how much funding is required allowing us to make a strong case to government as they look at budgets linked to the expected Comprehensive Spending Review. Findings from the project are due to be complete by the end of September 2024.