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Disadvantaged children priced out of culture.

Disadvantaged children priced out of culture.

Disadvantaged children in England are being priced out of a cultural hinterland. A Social Mobility Commission study, from the University of Bath, reports that children aged 10-15 from low-income families are three times less likely than wealthier peers to engage in out-of-school musical activities, such as learning an instrument or joining a choir or orchestra.

There were also differences according to race – 4% of British Pakistani children took part in music classes, compared with 28% of Indian children and 20% of white children – and regional divides: 9% of children in north-east England played a musical instrument, compared with 22% in the south-east.

Disadvantaged children are also more likely to miss out on extracurricular sports (football, boxing, cricket) and drama, dance and art. The commission set out recommendations, including bursaries, better funding and support for schools – let’s hope they’re taken on board. As well as the activities themselves, children are missing out on other crucial gains including confidence-building, team spirit and social skill, and are less likely to go on to higher education. As certain “creative” subjects don’t qualify for the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) school performance measure, they may already be underfunded within cash-strapped schools, so some children are missing out even more.

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