Josh Smith, Member of Sound Connections' Wired4Music young persons' council
There are a lot of merits to the plan. It is commendable in its aspirations to offer every school child the chance to learn an instrument and to counter the current inequalities. It is also positive to see continued support of bold programmes like In Harmony, Sistema England.
However, the cuts will inevitably impact the services available. If school children are to be given the chance to learn an instrument for free, the opportunity needs to last a full academic year. If limited to just a term, then students will only be tackling the real basics of their instrument and it is unlikely they will be engaged and inspired. The extension of the Take It Away scheme is welcome, although the price of more expensive instruments will still be prohibitive for some.
The plan sensibly recommends that hubs raise extra funding from charities and private funding – however, hubs in more affluent Local Authorities will find it easier to secure funding than hubs in poorer areas.
I fear that due to so much being dependent on the National Curriculum Review, the real effects of the plan are as yet unclear.
The plan should mean a greater variety of options for young people but it remains to be seen whether our voices will be heard.