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Schools minister highlights importance of high-quality arts education

20/02/2017 Joanna

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, has highlighted just how important it is that school pupils have access to high-quality arts education.

Speaking at the Music and Drama Expo in London's Olympia Exhibition Centre, Mr Gibb reiterated his belief that all children should be taught about the arts, in addition to being given the opportunity to participate in them.

In November, Mr Gibb announced that music education hubs would receive £75 million every year until 2020. This came in the wake of an initial funding increase from £58 million in the 2014-15 year to £75 million for the following 12-month period.

Finance from this scheme is expected to support all pupils, regardless of their background or family's income - and regardless of what special needs or disabilities they have.

This is part of a wider trend of backing for the arts, with the Welsh government recently unveiling the National Endowment for Music - and initiative that will see the Arts Council of Wales provide contributions of £1 million. The scheme is intended to offer new and innovative ways of supporting young people who wish to develop their talents in music.

Mr Gibb said the government is focused on improving the quality of arts education in schools, with a review into the national curriculum prompting a greater emphasis on teaching core knowledge and techniques.

He unveiled revamped curriculum content that incorporates a broader range of arts.

"I can announce that the government has updated content for the GCSE in drama and A level in drama and theatre studies. This update specifies that all pupils will now have the entitlement to experience live theatre, reaffirming the government’s commitment to providing pupils with an enriching arts education," the minister commented.

"[Pupils] should have the opportunity to sit in the audience, experiencing a live performance."

Under the terms of the new drama GCSE, pupils will study at least one play in depth and two extracts from a second contrasting play, with a requirement for participation in at least two performances.

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