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Music: Wider Opportunities Programme

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what steps his Department has taken to build on the Wider Opportunities programme; (203009)

(2) how many pilot schemes were set up as part of the Wider Opportunities programme; how long the pilots lasted; and how many pilots are in operation;

(3) what funding his Department provided for the Wider Opportunities music programme in each year since 2003;

(4) what the status of the Wider Opportunities music programme is; and what plans there are for extending it beyond its pilot areas.

There were 13 Wider Opportunities pilot authorities: Barking and Dagenham, Croydon, Devon, Haringey, Hertfordshire, Kirklees, Manchester, Newham, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Portsmouth and Staffordshire. All of the pilot authorities have learnt from their experience and are continuing to address the objectives of giving as many pupils as possible access to free instrumental tuition during key stage 2 care, which Ofsted1 recommended should last for at least one year.

In 2003-04 each local authority received an additional £10,000 in its Standards Fund allocation for music specifically to support activities linked to wider opportunities at key stage 2. These additional payments of £10,000 were also made in 2005-06 and 2006-07. In 2006-07 a further £3 million was allocated nationally to support wider opportunities work, with £23 million allocated for this purpose in 2007-08. These allocations were shared on a formula based on the number of key stage 2 pupils with a weighting for social disadvantage. For 2008 to 2011 the Standards Fund Music Grant still includes a formula based sum (£23 million a year) to enhance access to instrumental and vocal opportunities at key stage 2.

Since 2006 “Wider Opportunities” has come to be used to describe not a single model but rather a number of models which deliver instrumental and vocal tuition across whole class and year groups. Guidance for schools on instrumental and vocal tuition at key stage 2 was produced in March 2006 and updated2 in September 2007.

We continue to support the objectives of widening musical opportunities for children and young people, and announced a record £332 million investment for music in schools on 21 November 2007. Our aspiration, as set out in the Standards Fund guidance sent to directors of Children Services in December 2007, is that by 2011 programmes will be in place that will result in every child having the opportunity to learn a musical instrument for free, normally in a large group or whole class setting, for at least one year.

1 “Tuning in: wider opportunities in specialist instrumental tuition for pupils in key stage 2” March 2004.

2 Available on teachernet: