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Culture: Education

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he plans to take with the Department for Children, Schools and Families to provide every child with five hours of culture a week. (188845)

We are committed to working closely with the Department for Children, Schools and Families on improving access to the arts for school pupils.

On 13 February 2008 we jointly announced a Find Your Talent programme of 10 pilots that will trial ways of offering young people a range of cultural opportunities over five hours a week in and out of school. There is already much cultural activity taking place in and out of school and the pilots will build on this, to make sure all children and young people have the opportunity to take part in cultural activities.

We have published a prospectus seeking applications from partnerships in local areas around the country, setting out a core range of activities we believe young people should be able to engage with. We are looking for innovative bids that will test different ways of delivering a range of cultural opportunities over the next three years, including ways of ensuring all children are able to experience at least five hours. The pilots will give us the information we need to make decisions about rolling out the offer nationally.

The deadline for bids is 7 April 2008. Successful applicants will be notified in May and work will begin in September 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether his Department will provide (a) financial or (b) organisational help to cultural institutions as part of the Government's policy of ensuring that every child experiences five hours of culture a week. (188846)

On 13 February 2008, we announced a £25 million Find Your Talent programme of 10 pilots that will trial ways of offering young people a range of cultural opportunities over five hours a week in and out of school.

We have published a prospectus seeking applications from a wide range of partnerships. Each partnership, which needs to include all appropriate local cultural institutions, can apply for up to £2.5 million over three years. While we would expect the majority of money to be spent directly on new activity for young people, it can also be used for skills assessments, training and continued professional development for those in the cultural sector implementing delivery. It can also be used to subsidise entry fees to local cultural institutions.

This programme builds on the Government's already considerable investment we provide to cultural institutions working in this area. This includes the support we give to enable free entry to national museums and the Creative Partnerships programme which will receive over £110 million over the next three years.