Music and arts schools programme extended by Welsh government

Hattie Fisk
Monday, December 6, 2021

The £6m funding will initially make musical instruments available to students that are less likely to already have access to them, such as those eligible for free school meals.

The Welsh minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles
The Welsh minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles

Welsh government

The Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh government have announced a three-year extension to the Creative Learning through the Arts (CLTA) programme. The scheme encourages and develops creative approaches to learning and teaching. 

The minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, announced on 4 December that £3m will be invested in extending the CLTA programme to 2025; the Arts Council for Wales will match-fund the investment to make a total of £6m. 

The CLTA programme was launched in 2015, and has since created 238,000 opportunities in 84 per cent of schools in Wales for learners to participate in creative learning activities, including visits to cultural venues and collaborating with creative practitioners in school visits and workshops.

More Welsh schools are encouraged to take part, adding to a third of the schools in Wales who have already participated in the Lead Creative Schools scheme – a segment of the programme. Musical instruments will be distributed to learners who are less likely to already have access to them as part of the scheme's extension, such as those eligible for school meals.  

Music education in Wales

The extension of the programme comes after Welsh Labour won this year’s Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament) elections, and committed to creating a National Music Service (NMS) and supporting a strong provision of music education in its manifesto. 

The investment in the extension of the CLTA programme will improve music provision at the same time as the new Curriculum for Wales comes into effect, in September 2022. 

Miles said: ‘We know that music and creativity can provide benefits to young people in all aspects of their learning, and access to this shouldn’t be determined by your background.’ 

‘I’m pleased to announce this funding to provide music resources to support the new curriculum, and to extend the Creative Learning through the Arts programme for another three years, and I’m committed to making sure that all learners have access to these opportunities within schools.’

The ISM responded to the announcement on Twitter, stating: ‘The Department for Education [in England] must take note and offer funding to reverse the decline in music education in schools.’

Evidence of a successful programme

Diane Hebb, director of arts engagement at Arts Council of Wales said: ‘We are thrilled to hear the news of this extension, strengthening the already well established and successful partnership between the Arts Council of Wales and Welsh Government.’

‘The achievements of the programme to date have been extraordinary and evidence continues to show that the impact has been transformational for learners, teachers and schools, and indeed for artists alike.’

Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, Phil George, said: ‘Extending the Creative learning through the arts programme is a testament to its success since 2015.’ 

‘Partnering extraordinary teachers with professional creative practitioners has allowed learners to experience a new kind of classroom environment, one that uses creativity to open pathways in all school subjects, and one that taps into a young learner’s natural inquisitiveness and imagination to solve problems and release their own potential.’

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