Children and young people

Hand drawn iIllustration by Supermundane with lots of intricate lines and patterns

Involvement with arts and culture is crucial to imagination, self-expression and creativity in young people. It also develops the skills that fuel the success of the UK’s creative industries, and that will result in the next generation of creative talent across the country. 

The Arts Council works with the Department for Education, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, cultural organisations and artists, schools, cultural partners, broadcasters, local authorities, Higher and Further Education institutions and other partners to ensure the provision of excellent art, museums and libraries for all children and young people. 

Since 2012, the Department for Education and the Arts Council have invested £267 million in a range of music and cultural education programmes. The largest investment has been made by the Department for Education for Music Education Hubs (£245 million over four financial years). Explore these pages to find out more about the other programmes we support.

The Arts Council also invests public funds in a National Portfolio of 663 arts organisations and 21 Major Partner Museums, with the vast majority of them committed to work with children and young people.

Latest news, blog posts and case studies

A young girl in a green t-shirt plays the violin with an expression of deep concentration

In praise of music making

How our In Harmony programme is using music to transform the lives of school pupils in deprived communities

Children playing violins as part of an orchestra.

Our Cultural Education Challenge

We want to give young people more opportunities and make great art and culture more widely available, no matter the background

A coloured drawing of the London city-scape

Young Londoners get creative

A record number of entries for the Fourth Plinth Schools Awards, inspired by Trafalgar Square's famous contemporary artworks.

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Image captions
Top left to bottom right: 1. Photo: Matt Austin / Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery 2. Children from Nottingham perform as part of In Harmony 2013. Photo © Alan Fletcher. 3. Shakespeare Week activities in Stratford, 2014. Photo © Alan Fletcher. 4. Slung Low's 59 Minutes to Save Christmas at Barbican Centre. Photo © Susanna Sanroman / Slung Low 5. Plymouth Music Zone participants making music. Photo © Plymouth Music Zone / Kevin Clifford 6. Turner Contemporary: You Are Here workshop 2011. Photo, Benedict Johnson. 7. A Gold Arts Award film-maker, Trinity College London. Photo © John Nassari 8. Liverpool Philharmonic - In Harmony 7th Birthday Concert. Photo © Mark McNulty - In Harmony Liverpool 9. Opera North, In Harmony - end of year concert. Photo © Jonny Walton 10. Balkan Brass ensemble at the start of the Brighton Festival Children’s Parade. Photo © Brighton & Hove Music & Arts 11. Children from Nottingham perform as part of In Harmony 2013. Photo © Alan Fletcher 12. 'London Life', Abdi, Hotham Primary School. Photo © James O Jenkins and courtesy Mayor of London. 13. Daniel Copeland performs Joseph Coelho's Tree Child on the Spark Arts tour. Photo © Pamela Raith Photography / The Spark Arts 14. The Bristol Whales, Bristol Green Capital 2015. Photo © Paul Box. 15. Jeremy Bailey, Master Slave Invigilator. Photo © Chris Foster / Abandon Normal Devices. 16. Birmingham Weekender 2015. Photo © Andrew Fox / Birmingham Weekender 17. Atmosphere by Edmund de Waal at Turner Contemporary. Photo © Benjamin Beker. 18. Artificial Things by Stopgap Dance Company © Photo Chris Parkes 19. The Thing I’ll Be Doing For The Rest Of My Life by YAMAGUCHI Takayuki. Photo © Blast Theory.