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ISM responds to Government proposal to halve funding for music

For the 2021-22 school year, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has proposed halving funding for 'high cost' subjects that are not considered a 'strategic priority'. The budget for these subjects, including many creative subjects, would be cut from £36m to £19m in higher education establishments like universities and colleges.

It is our view that creative subjects make a huge contribution to the nation’s wealth, health & well-being. They are essential for the UK, not 'low priority' in education. We believe that the Government has a responsibility to protect the pipeline of future talent for the cultural industries by properly funding music and other creative subjects. After the challenges presented by the pandemic, music must be supported at all levels of education rather than abandoned.

Our response

In our response to the Government's consultation, we have argued that the proposals to reduce funding for performing and creative arts creates an unnecessary and divisive hierarchy of subjects. If implemented, they will be devastating to education provision and have long-term consequences for our world-leading music sector that was worth £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019.

Furthermore, we have also raised moral and practical objections to this savage attack on universities and colleges. Research shows that many of the subjects under threat have impressive records on diversity and inclusion, particularly for students with a reported disability. Similarly, the data also shows that removing additional funding for studying in London would disproportionately affect students from minority ethnic backgrounds. For a Government that has spoken about the importance of 'levelling up' the country and improving social mobility, destroying an accessibility success story would be counter-productive. Finally, the proposals have been announced far too late to enable institutions to plan adequately for courses starting in September 2021.