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Update on DfE plans for Progression Fund

25th April 2023

The Department for Education held an early ‘market engagement’ session in March for organisations who might be interested in leading the progression fund pilot.  We are able to share the presentation slides from this event together with a set of Q&As raised in the meeting or subsequently via the DfE’s e-sourcing portal.  See the presentation slides here and the Q&A document here. 

Whilst the DfE are now considering the points made and questions asked at the briefing and subsequently via the portal, that briefing outlined their current thinking for the progression fund as being very similar to the existing programmes Furthering Talent (Awards for Young Musicians) and the Mayor’s Music Scholars scheme (London Music Fund).  Students who show musical potential but who are financially excluded from participating in music education would be eligible.  They would be supported with free tuition and ensemble opportunities and a free instrument for four years. The DfE proposed that this programme would be for children progressing from Whole Class Ensemble Tuition, so would see pupils as being in KS2 at the start of the four years.

The presentation indicated that the pilot would be expected to run in between four and six of the DfE’s priority areas and would support 1,000 children following Whole Class Ensemble Tuition.

The DfE have earmarked £2M, split over five financial years, a small proportion of which they have suggested should be earmarked for evaluation.  The aim is for students to be supported for four academic years from January 2024.  It was made clear that the DfE expect the lead organisation to provide a further £2M of match funding.  This match funding would need to be in place (or at least confirmed) at the time of bidding.

It was outlined that any bid would have to be led by a single lead organisation but this could be on behalf of a consortium of partners.  Applications will be on the DfE’s e-sourcing portal,  It is possible that following the event in March the DfE will revise their plans for the progression fund and it should also be noted that there is no current update on the timeline for an application process and whether this would change the timetable for implementation.

Regardless of any changes to what the progression fund might deliver and when, there are three other key points which remain unclear:

  • Who will be able to provide this level of match funding, and have it confirmed in time;
  • Whether any of the match funding can be in kind (a question that has been raised);
  • How much of the DfE’s £2M will be available for administration of the scheme.

We await further information and answers to the above points and others raised so far.  Anyone can sign up to be kept informed about the fund on the DfE’s e-sourcing portal, but we will also aim to share any further information with you as it becomes available.

Take a look at the presentation slides and Q&A document from the early ‘market engagement’ session in March.