Pilot scheme set to boost children’s involvement in the arts

The new enrichment programme will focus on music and replace the Every Child scheme. Picture: Isabel

The new enrichment programme will focus on music and replace the Every Child scheme. Picture: Isabel Infantes - Credit: Archant

Pupils are set to benefit from a £1.1million pilot scheme designed to boost their involvement in the arts.

Newham Council has unveiled its enrichment programme, which is designed to replace the Every Child scheme.

Much of its offer has been retained in some form, however, including chess and theatre tickets for children.

Central to the new programme is music, which accounts for £700,000 of the funding. It will benefit children from nursery school through to secondary school, expanding on the previous scheme which only catered for primary school children.

The plans include increasing the range of musical instruments children can learn to play, boosting the opportunities for them to perform in choirs and orchestras and expanding the number of partnerships with music and arts organisations.

During the academic year, the scheme will be externally monitored to measure its impact, with cabinet members then set to discuss the findings.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: "It is an exciting time culturally in Newham and I want to work with both existing partners like Newham Music Trust and Stratford Circus, and some of the world's leading arts and cultural institutions who are moving to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to ensure our young people can reap the benefits."

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The new programme has been designed by the council after consulting with teachers, pupils, parents and experts, to ensure that what is provided is suitable for schools.

More than 70 schools have applied for funding from the council's school music grants scheme, which will allow them to increase their own investment in music.

Rachel McGowan, headteacher at Plashet School, said she was delighted that her school was one of those to be awarded funding.

She said: "Developing as a musician expands the brain in ways nothing else does and the act of performing and writing music, as well as listening to it, can have a hugely positive effect on health and well-being."

Cecilia Mojzes, headteacher at Essex Primary School, added: "Being part of the enrichment programme will enable the school to continue to develop the provision of music in the early years foundation stage as we believe music helps improve our pupil's language and communication skills as well as early reading skills."