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Council considers replacing Every Child A Musician scheme

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 December 2018

The council is considering changes to the Every Child programme, which costs £2.5 million a year. Picture: Andrew Baker

The council is considering changes to the Every Child programme, which costs £2.5 million a year. Picture: Andrew Baker

Andrew Baker

Newham Council is considering scrapping the Every Child programme.

The programme provides theatre trips, chess classes, music lessons and sports to children across Newham.

The council spends £2.5 million a year on the programme, with 90 per cent going towards Every Child A Musician.

But due to cuts to funding, which will see the council work with £26.9m less in 2019/20 compared to 2016/17, it’s looking to find savings.

The council also delivers the Eat for Free programme, which sees every primary school child in Newham receive a hot lunch.

According to research and feedback from schools, the Every Child programme isn’t delivering the results expected when more than £2m is spent a year, while the Eat for Free scheme has shown clear improvements in children’s development.

For that reason, the council is considering scrapping the Every Child programme, instead delivering a scheme which adds to school’s current programmes and allows schools to choose the activities they want to receive in line with children’s needs.

Councillor Julianne Marriott, cabinet member for education, said: “We have to balance priorities at a time of extreme cuts to council budgets. We must make sure every pound we spend has the maximum impact and best outcomes for all our young people.

“There is more evidence that a universal offer of a free hot meal has a huge impact of children’s learning, physical health as well as tackling poverty. There isn’t the same evidence base for ECaM.”

Every Child A Musician provides free music provision in primary schools, reaching 12,500 pupils and allowing every Year 6 pupil to receive a free musical instrument. The scheme, which has been running since 2010 and was the brainchild of former mayor, Robin Wales, sees Years 5 and 6 taught in tuition groups of roughly five, while Years 3 and 4 are taught as whole classes.

The council is now launching a five-week consultation on its proposal, to invite parents, teachers, young people and school governors to share their views.

Councillor Marriott added: “This consultation is a real opportunity for our schools, young people, parents and education professionals to shape what our new cultural offer is so that it really meets the needs of our children and young people.”

To add a response to the consultation, click here. It will be open until January 20.

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