Lloyd Webber backs music education
Andrew Lloyd Webber has launched an educational programme which will allow every child at participating schools to learn to play a musical instrument.
It is hoped that the new scheme will improve the behaviour and overall academic achievements of pupils, rather than create performing artists.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme is modelled on an initiative at Highbury Grove School in Islington, north London, where an expansion of music education improved overall Ofsted results in recent years.
Lord Lloyd-Webber said: "It's time that music in schools and education is given far more prominence than it is at the moment. The absolutely thrilling thing which really took my attention... is the fact that all the kids are given a free instrument when they arrive."
The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and The Charles Wolfson Trust will donate £2 million over four years to establish The Music in Secondary Schools Trust, which will implement the new programme.
"I do passionately believe that music in education is an enormous step forward," Lord Lloyd-Webber said.
"It's never going to solve absolutely everything, but I think that what's happened here is more than worthy of doing many, many times."
The 65-year-old musical impresario also called on Education Secretary Michael Gove to support the scheme.
"I've tried to make the Government take notice. I've mentioned the school in the House of Lords," he said. "If one can bring it to people's attention then that's great. If my foundation can help do it in other places, (that would be) fantastic, because if the thing works it will snowball."
Highbury Grove and Lister Community School in Plaistow, east London, will run the programme from September, with another two schools starting it for 2014-15.