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Funding for First Access Projects

Where does the funding come from?

Funding from the National Music Grant has been allocated by NMPAT to the support of First Access projects in every school. NMPAT allocates this money to schools as a grant, in such a way that every KS2 child should be able to receive a project during their school career.

It is our intention that schools will have a rolling programme of projects to ensure that each child in their school will get this experience at some point during their school career.

Our projects are aimed at different target year groups, so schools will need to decide which specific year group they intend to target to avoid giving the same children multiple experiences.

In smaller schools it would be possible to deliver a project for two year groups every other year.

How is the grant allocated?

The funding available will be passed on to schools by way of a discount off their invoice. Each school will be allocated a grant based on the number of KS2 children on roll. In most cases this should allow a school to purchase an project for one year group.

Details of the grant available to each school are posted out individually. If this information is not in your school please contact us immediately.

If a school decides to deliver a First Access project  and meet the demands of the National Music Plan using their own staff, the grant can be used against other services supplied by NMPAT. To access this funding it will be necessary to agree with the Trust that a project is in place that will meet the requirements of Arts Council England and DFE. This agreement must be in place by 1 September 2017.


First Access is only one strand of the National Music Plan and we are all also charged with providing "clear and affordable progression routes" for those who want to continue playing beyond their First Access experience. For details of progression routes see our information about First Access Plus projects and lessons in schools.


Delivery of the National Music Plan is monitored for the DFE by Arts Council England. The Hub submits and annual data return with details of all participants in the programme for the previous year.

Multiple projects

Schools which have purchased projects for more than one year group can continue to do this, but there will be no further discount.

How the grant will operate

The grant will be applied to the first project purchased by the term and will be shown on the invoice for the term in which it is delivered.

Any residual amount remaining after the first project will be applied as a discount against small group tuition costs, spread equally across three terms.

For the whole year SoundStart project, the discount will be split equally across the three terms. 


Where a school purchase a project from NMPAT, we will continue to provide instruments and equipment, however it may no longer be possible to leave equipment in school once a project has finished.

What to do next ...

  • Check whether your school has received the "Primary First Access SLA", issued each Easter, from NMPAT – if not – please contact us immediately.
  • Consider your school's options – you can choose one of our suggested schemes or you may prefer to develop your own, and use any funds available for progression e.g. small group instrumental tuition?
  • Decide on your chosen year group – in practice this will have to remain your target group for the next three academic years - consider how best to meet their needs and the government's aspirations.
  • Allocate the funds and send back your booking forms.
  • If you wish to deliver First Access in-house, please submit details of your plan so that we can agree release of the grant to cover other services.

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NMPAT receives support from:
NMPAT is a company Limited by Guarantee (Company No. 7738151) and a registered charity (Charity No. 1145643)