You can find out more about the two-stage decision process from the music education hubs prospectus available to download in PDF format or Word format. You can find out more about The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education from the Department for Education website.

The Arts Council's role

Q: What is the role of 'bridge' organisations?

Assessment, decision-making and monitoring

Q: We have shared a draft relationship framework which shows that the Arts Council intends to collect more data than music services have supplied before, some of which would be provided by schools. How will the music education hubs go about doing this?

Q: What was the decision making process?

Q: Did the Arts Council draw on external expertise to make decisions?

Q: Can you let us know if there are competing bids in our area?

Q: What do you mean by 'front line delivery'? What is included within the 80 per cent which needs to be spent on front line delivery?

Q: Are we less likely to be successful if we don't have local authority funding?

Q: How will the Arts Council ensure that high quality education is protected and monitored?

Q: Can we use other income in our budget to support the core roles and apply some of the Department for Education funding towards extension roles?

Q: Can an applicant upload other information, beyond what is requested?

Q: Can you tell us what your monitoring requirements will be?

Q: Will the Arts Council withhold funds if the hub does not meet the reporting and monitoring requirements?

Q: How many applications were there and how many were successful?

Q: Can you give me a list of unsuccessful applications?

Music education hubs delivery

Q: What's the timeline for the hubs?

Q: What is happening about Relationship Managers managing hubs - how will the process work? 

Q:  What is the role of music education hubs in delivery of early years provision?

Q: Will music education hubs cover young people excluded from school, school children with special educational needs, and the community and voluntary sectors?

Q: Where do the core roles sit on the 5-18 age spectrum? When is the whole class tuition to take place?

Q: How do higher/further education institutions fit in to music education hubs?

Q: Do all of the core roles have to be delivered from September 2012 or can this be a phased process? How do we balance quality and coverage?

Q: Should instrumental tuition be free to all pupils? How can we afford to support progression routes as well? Is the funding for one-to-one tuition as well as whole class?

Partnerships and mergers

Q: How can we deliver the core roles on reduced funding?

Q: What are the expectations around informal or alternative provision? How might this be integrated into a music education hub?

Q: How formal do the partnerships need to be with all our partners?

Q: If two areas partner up to create a larger music education hub, are they allowed to 'de-merge' halfway through the three years if it's not working?

Q: Do all partnerships and plans need to be in place from the start or is there flexibility to build in planning for the future - for example to develop a larger hub?

Q: How do small organisations contribute to and access the resources of a music education hub, if they are not directly involved in the application?

Q: What if schools identify that they just want singing?

Q: Can we outsource delivery of the core roles?

Q: How are schools going to be engaged in music education hubs? What about academies and free schools?

Q: Will you be expecting teaching staff to have particular qualifications? How will fee structures be managed?

Questions relating to The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education

Q: What is the long-term vision?

Q: What is the plan and timeline for In Harmony?

Q: How does the Music and Dance Scheme fit into the work of the music education hubs?

Q: What is the music education qualification?

Q: What about the ITT music module?

The Arts Council's role

Q: What is the role of bridge organisations?

A: The role of bridge organisations is one of facilitation and co-ordination. They will be key in developing a demand-led, responsive cultural education offer for young people. They will support music education hubs in connecting to Youth Music, schools, arts organisations and other partners, and they will work with the network of successful hubs from April to work out the precise nature of the relationship according to local needs and circumstances.

It is envisaged that music hubs and bridge organisations will be able to share relevant data to inform both music education and wider cultural education planning.

For more details about bridge organisations and their role, please visit our children and young people page. 

Assessment, decision-making and monitoring

Q: We have shared a draft relationship framework which shows that the Arts Council intends to collect more data than music services have supplied before, some of which would be provided by schools. How will the music education hubs go about doing this?

A: We have created and shared a draft relationship framework at this stage so that we can consider feedback before the final document is agreed.
Hub leaders need to proactively engage with schools, but we also know that there is more to be done to ensure that schools engage with hubs, include around providing data. We are currently discussing this with the Department for Education.
The Arts Council is committed to asking only for information that will ensure accountability and that will allow us to report effectively to government - and that is useful to the hubs in planning and evaluating their work.

What was the decision making process?

Applications closed on 17 February 2012 and were assessed in two stages. Stage 1 assessed the applications individually on their ability to meet the following four criteria:

  • proposed music education hub delivery
  • value for money
  • leadership, governance and management
  • track record in high quality music education delivery

Stage 2 looked across the applications received to ensure a balance of high quality music education provision is achieved across the country. The second stage also made recommendations where there were more than one application to lead hub activity in a local authority area.

Q: Did the Arts Council draw on external expertise to make decisions?

A: The Arts Council assessed and made decisions about the funding for music education hubs. In delivering the fundholder role for music education hubs, we were held to account by the monitoring board chaired by Ed Vaizey against the criteria laid out in our prospectus. There were no plans to set up an additional advisory panel.

During the application period, we have engaged three music education specialists to assist with two roles: (1) helping Arts Council staff share and gather local intelligence about music education provision (2) providing information, advice and support to potential applicants, in liaison with Arts Council regional staff. They will not be involved in the assessment process.

Q: Can you let us know if there are competing bids in our area?

A: No. We cannot be directly involved in how prospective hubs choose to establish partnerships and we need to make our decisions in a robust, fair and transparent way based on the evidence supplied in applications.

However, we actively encourage dialogue between partners regarding the most effective ways of meeting the core music education needs of all children, and expect therefore that the number of competing bids will be minimal.

Q: What do you mean by 'front line delivery'? What is included within the 80 per cent which needs to be spent on front line delivery?

At least 80 per cent of Department for Education funding must be spent on front line delivery or continuing professional development of music educators engaged in delivering the hub's core and extension roles to children and young people. 

The principle here is that hubs should keep going back to the core and extension roles and how the funding will be used to deliver those. We have defined 'front line activity' as 'any activity directly involving children and young people'.

We are not going to have a prescriptive list for what's in and what's out of the 80 per cent since we think this would be counter-productive to the interests of the children and young people for whom the government funding is intended. There will need to be some flexibility on a case by case basis but it will be for hubs to clearly outline and make the case for why they define activity as 'front line'.

The 80/20 requirement only applies to Department for Education funding - not to the total resources of a hub. The current national average of Department for Education spent on front line delivery is around 76 per cent.

Q: Are we less likely to be successful if we don't have local authority funding?

A: Local authorities will be key partners in most music education hubs but we are aware of the pressures on funding and will recognise local circumstances. All applications will be judged against the published criteria.

Q: How will the Arts Council ensure that high-quality education is protected and monitored?

The national plan for music education sets out clear requirements regarding teaching and the workforce to which everybody involved in music education will be responsible for responding. Hubs have a particular responsibility for their own teaching workforce, ensuring its quality and encouraging educators to continue their professional development. Music education has developed considerably over the last few years, particularly around whole class teaching, and we think there could be even more potential for hubs to share good practice with each other.

Q: Can we use other income in our budget to support the core roles and apply some of the Department for Education funding towards extension roles?

A: Hubs are expected to draw together and deploy all the funding and resources available to deliver core and extension roles. Assuming governance arrangements and the requirements of other funders permit it, it's fine to use other income to support the core roles and apply some of the Department for Education funding towards extension roles. However, the core roles must be fully met.

Q: Can an applicant upload other information, beyond what is requested?

A: We will be making decisions based on the information requested on the application form and will not take into consideration any additional information.

Q: Can you tell us what your monitoring requirements will be?

A: We will be publishing these shortly, alongside more details of the assessment process. We only intend to ask for information that will ensure accountability and that will allow us to report effectively to government. We will only ask for information that is useful to the hub in planning and evaluating their work.

Q: Will the Arts Council withhold funds if the hub does not meet the reporting and monitoring requirements?

A: We do reserve the right to withhold funds if conditions of a signed funding agreement are not met.

 

Q: How many applications were there and how many were successful?

A: There were 126 eligible applications. 122 were successful.

Q: Can you give me a list of unsuccessful applications?

A: Consistent with the policy for our other funding programmes, the Arts Council will not be publishing a list of unsuccessful applicants as we have been advised that to do so would breach organisations' confidentiality and potentially compromise their commercial interests.

Unsuccessful applicants can of course choose to make the decision, and our reasons for it, public themselves. The Arts Council will respond as appropriate in these instances.

Music education hubs delivery

What's the timeline for the hubs?

Music education hubs will be in place from August 2012, in order to deliver activity from September 2012. Before then, our focus will be on working with hubs to finalise their business plans and to help them meet initial payment conditions. This will include more detailed work with some hubs to strengthen or improve areas that, from their application, we think need further development. 

We will also be working with local authorities and other local organisations to forge and develop relationships between them and the music education hubs in order to ensure full coverage of music provision across the country. We are keen to support greater connections between hubs and our funded organisations with the new bridge organisations being well placed to support these relationships.

What is happening about Relationship Managers managing hubs - how will the process work?

Relationship Managers in each appropriate regional office will be individually managing the relationship between the Arts Council and the hub lead organisation. RMs will be in touch with hubs to meet or discuss ways of working. 

This is a new way of working for all involved and we are keen to provide a flexible approach which reflects each hub's individual needs.

The Department for Education funding includes a small (less than 1 per cent) contribution to our administrative costs, which will include the cost of employing a small number of additional Relationship Managers either to work with hubs or to enable existing Relationship Managers to work with hubs.

Q:  What is the role of music education hubs in delivery of early years provision?

A: Early years and foundation stage provision could well be something that a music education hub would want to undertake, but it is not one of the core or extension roles, and therefore the Department for Education funding cannot be used. There are other sources of funding available, such as local authority funding, or project-based Lottery funding via Youth Music.

Q: Will music education hubs cover young people excluded from school, school children with special educational needs, and the community and voluntary sectors?

A: The national plan and the prospectus are clear that the core roles should enable ALL children and young people to receive and benefit from a high-quality music education. Sometimes it is the most disenfranchised children who benefit the most from music education. In planning their activities, hubs should consider suitable partners including informal provision.

Q: Where do the core roles sit on the 5-18 age spectrum? When is the whole class tuition to take place?

A: The Department for Education has said that it only expects free tuition to be offered at one point in a child's journey through school. In the past, the 'usual' offer has been in KS2, but it's for schools and hubs to decide how best to organise the  core roles according to the needs and circumstances of children and schools in their area.

Q: How do higher/further education institutions fit in to music education hubs?

A: The music education grant is to support ALL pupils aged 5-18, regardless of where their learning takes place. Until the age of 18 (25 for disabled young people) pupils attending sixth form or further education colleges are also entitled to use hub services and grants, for example by taking part in district choirs or ensembles. Provision beyond the age of 18 may well be something that a hub wishes to pursue but Department for Education funding could not be used for this purpose.

Q: Do all of the core roles have to be delivered from September 2012 or can this be a phased process? How do we balance quality and coverage?

A: The core roles were agreed after extensive consultation with the sector and are also based on the current requirements by local authorities in delivering against the music education grant funding.

It is expected that, in most cases, the Department for Education funding available each year for the music education hubs will be used to deliver at least the core roles.

Both quality and reach are equally important. A significant number of opportunities for young people are available through the curriculum and through out of school opportunities. This is why the emphasis on partnership working is so important.

We expect partnerships to continue to develop and evolve, but in assessment we will be looking for hubs to focus on the core and, where possible, extension roles, from September 2012, and which partners have been drawn together to achieve this.

If this is not achievable from September 2012, a hub may not be successful in their application, or alternatively, we will agree a timetable and milestone plan for improvement against the schedule of grant payments.

Q: Should instrumental tuition be free to all pupils? How can we afford to support progression routes as well? Is the funding for one-to-one tuition as well as whole class?

A: The Department for Education has said that it only expects free tuition to be offered at one point in a child's journey through school. Many schools recognise the value of music education and support music education/wider opportunities provision through their own funding, whilst keeping it free for the pupils.

Furthermore, the plan makes clear that there should be no financial barriers to a child having a high-quality music education based around the core and, where possible, extension roles - it should be affordable according to circumstance, and there may be particular instances where it is appropriate to use Department for Education funding to support one-to-one tuition where it would not otherwise be affordable.

Ensuring that a child can progress is a core role of a music education hub and often delivered through partnerships. We anticipate that hubs will both build on existing provision and develop innovative partnerships to ensure that there are no barriers - both within the hub area and potentially working in partnership with other hubs.

Partnerships and mergers

Q: How can we deliver the core roles on reduced funding?

A: The Henley Review was clear that the only way to meet the needs of music education was through partnership, and it will be the key to hubs being able to deliver the core roles. Department for Education funding will only form part of the funding for the provision of hubs; for hubs to flourish, other resources must be drawn together.

Q: What are the expectations around informal or alternative provision? How might this be integrated into a music education hub?

A: Music education hubs, in forming their partnerships and planning provision, should draw together all the music education providers in any particular area to ensure a coherent approach to providing a high quality music education to all children. Where partners from the informal sector are engaged in delivering core or extension roles, appropriate partnership arrangements will need to be in place if this involves any Department for Education funding, and to ensure that monitoring and reporting can take place. Please see the partnerships question below for more detail.

Q: How formal do the partnerships need to be with all our partners?

A: We expect a clear sense of partnerships within proposals but don't expect the full details to be worked out by 17 February 2012. We recognise that partnerships take time to develop, and continue to evolve.

However, by August 2012, essential partnerships to deliver the core roles will need to be in place. More formal partnership agreements are appropriate where the transfer of money occurs and we will expect them where this involves Department for Education funding. We also want to see secure partnership arrangements in place where the core roles are undertaken by more than one partner, in order to ensure that reporting can take place.

Hubs should apply common sense: they are unlikely to have the capacity or need to have formal partners in place with a large number of organisations, and it could be counter-productive to demand formal partnership agreements around extension or enrichment activity. However, as a general rule it is helpful for organisations working together to have some written shared understanding of who does what and how they will work together, although it can be quite light touch. There is more guidance on partnership working available on our website.

Q: If two areas partner up to create a larger music education hub, are they allowed to 'de-merge' halfway through the three years if it's not working?

A: In theory yes, although the Arts Council cannot get directly involved in the financial or contractual negotiations between two hub partners. Where appropriate, the Arts Council would try to facilitate a partnership to work, and strongly encourage hub partners to make any significant change in a clear and appropriate way that minimised any impact on the quality of provision to children.

Q: Do all partnerships and plans need to be in place from the start or is there flexibility to build in planning for the future - for example to develop a larger hub?

A: We recognise that partnerships take time to develop, and continue to evolve, particularly when there are complexities in the wider political context. We will encourage hubs to be proactive over the three-year period in continuing to evolve for the benefit of children and more generally will be proactive in encouraging hubs to talk to each other and explore areas of mutual interest.

Q: How do small organisations contribute to and access the resources of a music education hub, if they are not directly involved in the application?

A: We encourage all organisations engaged in music education, whatever their size, to talk to the other organisations working in their local area and to build relationships with them so that they are able and ready to be part of the hub. It is important that small organisations are clear about what they can offer in terms of the core and extension roles.

Q: What if schools identify that they just want singing?

A: Both instrumental and vocal approaches are part of the core roles proposed by the national plan for music education and both will need to feature in the delivery plans of the music education hubs.

Q: Can we outsource delivery of the core roles?

A: Hubs are free to make their own arrangements for delivery of the core and extension roles according to their partners and the needs of children in their area. Where Department for Education funding is delegated, and/or where core roles are being delivered, appropriate partnership arrangements will need to be in place to ensure accountability and the fulfilment of reporting requirements. Please see our published terms and conditions (in PDF or Word formats) for more information.

Q: How are schools going to be engaged in music education hubs? What about academies and free schools?

A: The national plan for music education is a plan for everybody engaged in music education and that includes all schools. The plan makes clear that schools and hubs must hold each other to account for delivery of the plan, and hubs need to understand the vision of schools in their area when making their plans. Hubs may well wish to involve schools in planning the activities of the hub.

Hubs will be expected to build relationships with maintained schools in their area, including academies and free schools. We recognise that there is more work to be done in ensuring that schools are aware of and engaged with the plan. As bridge organisations establish themselves, they will have a facilitating role here.

There may also be a role for Ofsted - section 5 of Ofsted framework says that all schools will be assessed on their role in providing spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of children and young people, and this specifically names musical development and provision as an example.

Q: Will you be expecting teaching staff to have particular qualifications? How will fee structures be managed?

Please refer to this question regarding the work we are facilitating around qualifications.

It may well be appropriate for some hubs to employ a range of tutors, if this is the best way to meet local need and best reflects the identified needs of learners in that area.

Hubs will be responsible for ensuring that their teaching workforce has the appropriate skills, and that they are encouraged to take up opportunities for professional development. We think there is more potential for hubs to work together on this.

The Arts Council and government cannot get involved in individual negotiations of fee structures. This will be for individual hubs to resolve, although we think there is more potential for hubs to work with each other in doing so. We also think that there is a role to play in advice giving by national bodies such as the Federation of Music Services, Musicians Union and Incorporated Society of Musicians.

Questions relating to The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education

Q: What is the long-term vision?

A: The national plan is a vision until 2020, but due to the way in which public funding is allocated by spending round, the funding for music education hubs has been indicated for 2012 to March 2015, subject to the will of Parliament.

Q: What is the plan and timeline for In Harmony?

A: We are currently in the early stage of discussions with the Department for Education about the development of the In Harmony programme and more information will be available shortly.

Q: How does the Music and Dance Scheme fit into the work of the music education hubs?

A: The opportunities offered by the Music and Dance Scheme are an important part of the progression routes that hubs should ensure that talented children in their area are aware of and, where appropriate encouraged to explore.

On a local or regional level, we expect there will be opportunities for the work of organisations supported through the Music and Dance Scheme to support the activities of music education hubs.

Q: What is the music education qualification?

A: Following publication of Darren Henley's Review of Music Education in March 2011 and its recommendations, Arts Council England accelerated its discussion with Creative and Cultural Skills regarding the development of a modular pathway of appropriate, accredited qualifications at a range of levels and depth for professionals offering music and arts opportunities to young people. To date the following steps have been undertaken:

  • an audit of relevant, existing units and qualifications
  • establishment of a sector external reference group - including the Federation of Music Services, Musicians Union and Incorporated Society of Musicians
  • prioritisation of the 'music' strand to ensure units are available by 2013

Q: What about the ITT music module?

A: Please address any queries about this to the Department for Education.