Chancellor of the Exchequer visits Theale Green School ahead of government's sports and music education investment plan
The former Secretary of State for Education paid a visit to a Theale secondary school before he revealed the government’s multi-million-pound investment plan for sports and music education.
MP Nadhim Zahawi, who was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer on July 5, visited Theale Green School, known for its focus on sports and the arts, on Thursday, June 23 and took part in various activities with its students.
Mr Zahawi joined Year 6 children from local catchment primary schools in a competitive game of speed-stacking, cheered on Theale Green School’s Year 7s in a game of capture the flag, and participated in a loud and lively drumming session.
Headteacher Joanna Halliday said: “It is terrific news to hear that this Government are recognising the need to focus on children being happy and having fun as part of their daily diet in school.
“We want every child to be able to be active and recognise what their body and mind can achieve through both sport and music and we were privileged to demonstrate this first-hand to Mr Zahawi and his team.
“Our students of course put on a breath-taking display with their usual energy and enthusiasm and I could not have been more proud of them.
“They are an absolute reflection of the empowerment that sport and music give to young people.”
After his visit, the Conservative MP for Stratford-upon-Avon announced the new investment plan in a video posted to his social media channels that will see £720 million invested into schools across the country.
He said: “We’re at Theale Green School – an incredible turnaround story.
“The focus on music and sport has been very much part of the ethos of this incredible school.”
The ‘turnaround story’ is in reference to the school’s recent Ofsted inspection, which saw Theale Green being rated as Good, five years after it was labelled as Requires Improvement.
“We are announcing a £400 million investment in sports and music education and £320 million in the PE and sport premium to enable schools to deliver the sort of work this incredible school has been delivering.”
As part of this plan, the Department for Education has promised £25 million in new funding for musical instruments—which would allow schools to buy around 200,000 instruments—and extended funding of £79 million a year for music hubs until 2025.
Schools will also be asked to offer at least one hour of music curriculum a week as part of the launch of a new national plan for music education.
Mr Zahawi said: “I want every child to have the opportunity to develop a love of music and the arts, so they can explore their passions and fulfil their potential.
“These opportunities will give thousands more pupils access to an ambitious, enriching curriculum that not only supports them academically, but also supports their physical and mental wellbeing.”
The Department for Education also confirmed its £320 million PE and sports premium for primary schools will be extended for at least another year from September.
Another £11 million will also support the continuation of the School Games programme to give gifted and passionate young people the opportunity to participate in competitive sport.
CEO of the Youth Sport Trust Ali Oliver, who was present for Mr Zahawi’s Theale Green visit, said: “At the end of a really successful National School Sport Week, we welcome confirmation of this funding for primary schools across England.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank those working in and with schools who have maintained momentum, keeping children active and schools moving.”