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Plan for compulsory instrument lessons for pupils gains Andrew Lloyd Webber’s backing

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Andrew Lloyd Webber is backing a multimillion pound scheme aimed at implementing compulsory musical instrument lessons in selected secondary schools.

Together the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Charles Wolfson Trust will donate £2 million over four years to establish the Music in Secondary Schools Trust, a charitable body that has been created to roll out a new scheme called the Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme.

Under this, every child in a participating school will study a classical musical instrument for a minimum of three years as part of a compulsory curriculum.

Students will be provided with instruments and tuition, and play in ensembles and orchestral groups.

The project aims to improve discipline, develop team-working skills and “enrich the lives of students”.

Announcing the scheme, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation trustee Madeleine Lloyd Webber said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with the Charles Wolfson Trust to launch the Music in Secondary Schools Trust, which we believe will have a profound impact on learning for generations to come.”

She added: “This is one of the most exciting projects the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has been part of.”

The programme is modelled on a scheme initially developed by Truda White, former head teacher at
Highbury Grove School in Islington, north London. Through the scheme, Highbury Grove raised its Ofsted rating from inadequate to outstanding.

Schools will be selected for the scheme through an application process, with priority being given to those in an area of deprivation or communities “where access to high-quality arts projects is limited”.

Chosen schools must also have received at least a ‘satisfactory’ Ofsted rating.

The Lister School in Newham will become the first partner, from September this year. It will run the scheme alongside Highbury Grove School, with a further two schools being chosen for 2014/15.

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