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Lloyd Webber gives £1.4m to secondary schools music programme

Sara Pelham, a musician who has benefited from the scheme. Photo: Leonora Saunders Sara Pelham, a musician who has benefited from the scheme. Photo: Leonora Saunders
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A scheme backed by Andrew Lloyd Webber to give free music lessons to school children has had its future secured for the next four years, with a boost of £1.4 million from the composer’s foundation.

The grant will be paid over four years and secures the future of the Music in Secondary Schools Trust Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme, which was first launched in 2013.

It means that the scheme will continue to run in its eight existing London partner schools from September, and that 4,000 children will be receiving free instruments and tuition from September this year.

Lloyd Webber said: “Never has a musical education been more important. The arts and music in particular are proven to empower young people with the life skills needed for a successful future.”

He added that he was “delighted” that his grant – which matches the same amount from the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust – would help 4,000 children, but said he wished the “government would join in to make it 4 million”.

Schools in the scheme include Mount Carmel Roman Catholic School for Girls in Islington, Highbury Grove School and Lister Community School in Newham, which was the first partner school in 2013.

Sara Pelham, a student from Highbury Grove School who already played the drums, took up cello as part of the programme.

Pelham said: “It definitely wasn’t my first choice, I reluctantly chose it. But since I had a brilliant cello teacher, it has now become my main instrument.”

“I’m incredibly fond of music and I do see myself carrying on with it in the future,” she added.

Truda White, chief executive of the Music in Secondary Schools Trust, said: “Arts and music provision are being seriously eroded and the take up of these subjects at GCSE is falling year on year. MiSST schools are reversing this trend and ensuring young people have a strong arts and music foundation as part of their curriculum.”

The Lloyd Webber programme also receives funding from the Dame Alice Owen Foundation.

The money is also enabling MiSST to conduct research into the impact of the programme on children’s learning.

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