Music, dance and performing arts are among the courses that will see their grants reduced


Funding for university art courses in England will be cut as they are no longer seen as ‘strategic priorities’.

A number of “expensive” subjects that currently receive additional government funding to supplement student tuition will see their grant cut in half.

Music, dance, performing arts, art and design, as well as media studies will see their grant increase from £ 243 per full-time student per year in 2020-2021 to £ 121.50.

Other expensive subjects, including medical, nursing, dentistry and science courses, will have their funding protected. While archeology was originally slated for a cut, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stepped in to grant it a reprieve.

The reduction in the arts is part of a larger government initiative to reduce support for courses ministers deem less successful for graduates, while pushing more students to take science-related subjects, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem).

In a blog for ConservativeHome last month, Mr Williamson said that an increase in the number of people studying science and engineering at university showed that students “were starting to move away from dead-end courses that left to young people as debts “.

However, the plans for the reduction sparked a fierce backlash from the UK’s creative sector, with prominent artistic figures such as Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Bernadine Evaristo and Jarvis Cocker opposing the reduction.

Jack Gamble, the director of the public campaign for the arts, said I that the “unprecedented” number of responses received by the OfS during its consultation on the issue showed that Mr Williamson needed to rethink the cut.

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The Union of Universities and Colleges called it an “act of vandalism”. UCU General Secretary Dr Jo Grady said: “This drastic cut in funding for the creative arts is one of the biggest attacks on the arts and entertainment at English universities in living memory.

“This will be extremely damaging to access, creating geographic cold spots as many courses become unsustainable – including in institutions in the capital where funding for the London weighting is cut.

“The most vulnerable universities are those with a larger number of less well-off students and it is unreasonable to deny them the opportunity to study subjects like art, theater and music.

The OfS defended the move, saying it equated to a total reduction of around 1% when other funding such as student tuition fees were factored in. The watchdog also said funding for specialist institutions, including a number of performing and creative arts institutions, would increase from £ 10million to £ 53million.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said, “We need to make sure that government support best matches the needs and priorities of the nation. These focus on better reconstruction after the pandemic and on supporting economic recovery and growth. “

Nolan Smith, OfS Director of Resources and Finance, said: “We will continue to work with government and others to ensure that our funding continues to have a positive impact on the higher education sector. .

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