Tory minister confirms another broken manifesto promise on schools funding

By Mikey Smith

A Tory education minister has confirmed another broken manifesto pledge - this time over school funding.

The 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to provide an "arts premium" to secondary schools to " fund enriching activities for all pupils.”

But in a written answer to Labour MP Dame Diana Johnston, Schools Minister Nick Gibb confirmed there would be no such premium this year.

He wrote: "Due to the focus on new priorities as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the arts premium is now subject to this year’s Spending Review."

It comes just days after Boris Johnson announced he would break his promises to maintain the pensions triple lock this year, and not to increase national insurance.

Dame Diana told the Mirror: "Secondary schools were promised this money not only in the Conservative Manifesto, but in the 2020 budget too. The Government has taken the funding out of their hands at the very last minute.

The ‘Arts Premium’ would have given students access to music and creativity, which is even more important as a part of catch-up learning.

The Department for Education Ministers should ensure that students have access to high-quality arts education in the short and long-term because too many currently miss out.”

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said: "Creative education enriches the lives and learning of students, but in too often schools don’t provide high-quality teaching in subjects such as music.

"The Arts Premium would have gone some way to address this imbalance and there will be students who miss out because of it.

"That no official statement was made on the premium, despite it being a manifesto and budget commitment is sadly another example of the disregard shown by the Department for Education towards creative subjects in recent years.”


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