Theatre News

Government proposes to cut funding for subjects such as drama by 50 per cent at higher education level

The Musicians Union has reacted in “horror” at the news

A flortist
A flortist

The Musicians' Union has reacted in "horror" at the revealed plans to cut government funding to certain subjects at a higher education level by 50 per cent, according to a report by the Office for Students (OFS).

The OFS (the independent regulator for higher education in England) laid in the plans earlier this year, following proposals confirmed in a letter from State Secretary for Education Gavin Williamson, which shows that the amount of money to be given to "performing and creative arts, media studies and archaeology" will be cut in half.

The letter instead prioritises additional grant funding "for subjects identified as supporting the NHS and wider healthcare policy, high-cost science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and/or specific labour market needs."

We've provided a screenshot of Williamson's letters, which details how funding will shift for the 2021/2022 year.

The OFS has stated that "high cost subject funding for other subects" includes "music, dance, drama and performing arts, art and design, media studies and archaeology", though in the current financial year, less than 6 per cent of government funding was allocated to these subjects.

The Musicians Union has said it reacted in "horror" at the plans, stating: "The proposed funding cut will be catastrophic for music provision at HE level, affecting our members' work, the financial viability of music courses, and training for the next generation of musicians and music professionals."

It went on to warn that "the UK's HE music provision could lose its world-leading status as a result of this cut".

The plans are still in their consultation phase, so you can contact the OFS with your thoughts here.

Screenshot from the OFS report
Screenshot from the OFS report