10 things music teachers need to know about the NPME Jump to main content

10 things music teachers need to know about the NPME

1. The vision

The vision of the refreshed National Plan for Music Education (NPME) is to enable all children and young people to learn to sing, play an instrument and create music together, and have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally.

2. The goals

The refreshed Plan contains three goals:

  • To see all children and young people receive a high-quality music education in the early years and in schools
  • For all music educators to work in partnership, with children and young people’s needs and interests at their heart
  • For all children and young people with musical interests and talents to have the opportunity to progress their interest and potential, including professionally

3. The importance of school music

The Plan lays out expectations that schools should deliver high-quality music for at least one hour a week in key stages 1 to 3, supported by co-curricular learning, and musical experiences. The Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) would like every school, including multi-academy trusts, to have a Music Development Plan that sets out how their curriculum and extra-curricular activities will be staffed and funded.

4. Music should be represented in every school’s leadership structure

There should be a designated music lead or head of department at school and/or academy trust level for both primary and secondary schools.

5. Core and extension roles for Music Education Hubs have been replaced

The core and extension roles which were originally introduced in the first National Plan in 2011 have been replaced by three aims and five strategic functions.

The three aims for Music Hub partnerships:

HM Gov, 2022. The Power of Music to change lives. Pg 48. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-power-of-music-to-change-lives-a-national-plan-for-music-education

The five strategic functions for Music Hub lead organisations:


  • Take a leading role in building a sustainable, local infrastructure for high-quality music education and music-making, in partnership with schools, early years and other education providers, community organisations, and other regional and national youth music organisations and industry. Capture this offer in a Local Plan for Music Education.


  • Support all state funded schools in their area through ongoing relationships to help them deliver high-quality music education. This should include a quality curriculum support offer, specialist tuition, instruments and ensembles; and a broad range of progression routes and musical experiences for all pupils.

Progression and Musical Development:

  • Support children and young people to develop and progress with music; including into national or specialist opportunities, higher education and employment, so that the chance to be involved in high-quality music making is shared more widely in our society. Support children and young people to access the wider world of music including live performance and community music.


  • Drive broad access to music education, so every child has the opportunity to participate irrespective of their circumstances, background, where they live, or their SEND.


  • Ensure the strategic, financial, and operational sustainability of the Music Hub by (i) supporting a dynamic and well trained workforce; (ii) leveraging DfE funding to develop wider investment into young people's music from a range of sources and revenue streams; (iii) being accountable and transparent by publishing plans, needs analysis and impact data; (iv) considering and acting on the Hub's environmental responsibilities.

          6. Lead schools and national Music Hub centres of excellence

          By Spring 2024, Music Hubs are being asked to identify Lead Schools for Music, with at least one focused on primary and one secondary, as well as special schools and alternative provision where possible. Lead Schools with high-quality music provision will work with Hubs to develop CPD and peer-to-peer support. Four national Music Hub centres of excellence for inclusion, CPD, music technology and pathways to industry will be established by the DfE by Autumn 2024. These Hubs will receive extra funding to support all other Music Hubs across England in these areas.

          7. Funding

          The DfE have confirmed that Hub funding will continue at current levels (£79 million per year) until 2025. However, the Music Hub programme will be opened up to competition as it was with the original Plan and the DfE expects to see a reduced number of Hub lead organisations establishing partnerships across wider geographical areas.

          The government will invest an additional £25 million into musical instruments and equipment. This includes music technology and adaptive instruments.

          8. Progression

          Schools are encouraged to consider developing a music progression strategy highlighting not only in-school progression routes through key stage 4 and post-16 courses but also musical opportunities for pupils beyond the core curriculum and how they can be supported to access them.

          There will be a Music Progression Fund pilot scheme to support disadvantaged pupils with ‘significant musical potential, enthusiasm and commitment’. The aim is to reach around 1,000 pupils mostly from any of the 55 Education Investment Areas which were outlined in the Levelling Up White Paper. The pilot scheme will be delivered through a partnership between schools and Music Hubs, starting in Autumn 2023, and will receive additional government funding over four years with matched funding.

          9. Inclusion

          In addition to a national Music Hub centre of excellence for inclusion, all Hubs should develop and publish an inclusion strategy and all Hub lead organisations should have an inclusion lead in place by 2024.

          10. Monitoring progress

          A National Plan for Music Education Board will be established to monitor the progress of the refreshed NPME. The government will work with the board to create an impact framework, setting out how the refreshed NPME’s success will be monitored and measured. Further details about monitoring arrangements are expected later in the year.

          Find out more about the NPME