Teacher Hub

National Plan for Music Education: the impact on Music Hubs

Written by Tom Wild07/05/24

The National Plan for Music Education (NPME) sets out the UK government’s vision to enable all children and young people in England to:

  • Learn to sing, play an instrument and create music together.
  • Have the opportunity to progress their musical interests and talents, including professionally.

The government has outlined this plan in their policy paper ‘The power of music to change lives’. Published in 2022, it builds upon the original national plan from 2011 which, among other things, established Music Education Hubs.

Music Education Hubs – partnerships that support, deliver and enable access to music education for children and young people within a local area.

These partnerships (usually just called Music Hubs) are co-ordinated by a ‘Hub Lead Organisation’ and can include schools, local authorities, community groups, music organisations, industry and more. Under the guidance of the NPME, the Department for Education (DfE) introduced the Music Hub Investment Programme, with over £101 million of new funding going to Music Hubs from 2024.

Prior to the second NPME there were well over 100 Music Hubs; in light of this new programme, from September 2024 there will only be 43. Each one will be led by a Hub Lead organisation (HLO), covering a larger area than before and spanning several local authorities. Arts Council England stated that ‘any properly-constituted organisation that can demonstrate their ability to deliver the responsibilities for HLOs’ could apply to lead these crucial partnerships, and on 7th May they announced which applicants have been chosen.

The reduction in Hubs is not meant to diminish music education offerings in the UK; it is a restructuring of the system, intended in part to ensure that government spending on music is properly checked and justified at every turn. In fact, current HLOs who are not invited to be part of the new 43 are expected to continue playing an important role in delivering music education in their areas, but as Music Hub partners rather than leaders themselves.

Ultimately, with this plan the DfE hopes to aid Hubs and schools to fulfil their responsibilities in music and encourage them to put plans in place for developing musical offerings moving forward.

The funding process explained

As part of the NPME, the DfE confirmed their continued investment of £76 million per year to Music Hubs. On top of this, the plan pledged another £25 million to be spent only on musical instruments, equipment and technology, in the form of a capital grant.

Now the HLOs have been confirmed, there will be a period of funding negotiation between them and Arts Council England from May to August 2024. These negotiations will decide the funding allocation for each hub for the 2024-25 academic year, splitting up the total of £101 million pledged by the DfE.

How we can help - our service for music education

To allow those with access to this funding to use it as easily and efficiently as possible, we’ve been outlining our service for music education over the last few months. At Chamberlain Music we’re in a unique position, with the key elements of our business allowing us to offer a comprehensive service.

We are responsible for the manufacturing of several prominent music education products – Percussion Plus Slap Djembes, Wak-A-Tubes, Octopus Ukuleles, Chamberlain Music Whiteboards. Our influence in designing and making these instruments allows us to more purposefully curate our education offering, ensuring that we produce durable, reliable and accessible products which are genuinely useful as well as being cost effective. Exemplifying our excellence in education production, Andy Gleadhill’s Slap Djembe - a teaching resource featuring a bespoke notation system ideal for whole class teaching - was recently honoured at the Music & Drama Education Awards as Outstanding Print Resource.

Furthermore, we are the exclusive UK distributor for a number of key education brands including Izzo, Majestic, Nuvo and Manhasset. These brands we bring to the UK market have all achieved renown in schools, with Izzo’s samba range and Nuvo’s WindStars method particularly suited to entry-level music lessons.

Over the last 35 years we’ve formed partnerships with many schools and Music Hubs as an education supplier, through a sales team full of experience and expertise providing warm and helpful advice to customers. We’re committed to stocking as wide of a range of instruments and equipment as possible. From the time-honoured craftsmanship of Yamaha and Kawai to the simplicity of Jumbie Jams, the compact innovation of Zoom, the convenience of Numark or the pure fun of Ocarina Workshop, we can always cater for education scenarios, whatever diverse requirements there might be.

Many of the brands that we are responsible for are perfect for Whole Class Ensemble Teaching (WCET). Delivering effective entry-level music education is so essential yet can be so difficult, but ranges like Slap Djembes and Nuvo WindStars are designed to mitigate some of the most common issues primary music teachers face. Both feature carefully crafted book and online resources with helpful graphics, bespoke notation systems and video explanations, making them more straightforward for the teacher to explain and the students to grasp. Better still, both the Slap Percussion and Nuvo WindStars instruments themselves are very sturdily built and, crucially, easy to get a good sound from, which provides positive encouragement for learners. We’ve also renewed our focus on SEND-suitable music supplies, partnering with pioneering outdoor instrument manufacturer, Percussion Play.

This is merely a snapshot; we’ve given a more thorough explanation of our commitment to Music Hubs here including expert ICT consultation, exciting free sample offerings, bespoke branding options and much more.

Useful NPME and Music Hub Investment Programme resources

Navigating the shifting sands of a fundamental change to the country’s musical landscape is inevitably challenging for the organisations (both private and public) and individuals involved. A project like this impacts everyone, from the civil servants proposing it, to musical suppliers like us, teachers, Hub leaders and crucially students of all ages who will hopefully be receiving more high-quality music education in the future.

This phase of the NPME is still in its infancy, with restructuring processes and funding allocations yet to be finalised. The promise of a DfE Suppliers Framework for capital grant spending is still on the horizon, but rest assured that when we know more about this, you will too!

We will be providing guidance, both here on our website and on a personal basis, throughout the process. However, these other resources may also help:

Arts Council England

Music Mark

Music Teachers Association


At Chamberlain Music, we truly are passionate advocates for music education. We understand the importance of providing teachers and students with top-quality instruments and resources, and we hope that this investment programme will help us to continue to do so in the coming years.