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Students living or attending school in Hertfordshire may be able to get financial support for instrument or vocal lessons with Hertfordshire Music Service teachers.

Financial Support for Music – lessons between September 2021 to July 2022

Hertfordshire Music Service has fully allocated our available funding for this year (September 2021 - July 2022). We also have a waiting list of eligible families for this year, so we have closed applications for financial support at all levels 25%, 50% and 100%.

Financial Support for September 2022 to July 2023:

Following feedback, we have made some changes to the financial support scheme for lessons in September 2022 to July 2023

  1. Increasing the available funding to the most vulnerable families in Hertfordshire
  2. A simpler way for everyone to apply for help with music fees, directly to Hertfordshire Music Service, which opens in June 2022

*Funding is available for eligible families at 50% and 100% (means-tested financial support):

  • We have seen a need for the amount of funding available, at the 50% and 100% level, to be increased.
  • We are pleased to announce that we have increased the funding available for lessons starting in September 2022, and we will be able to help more children to discover or develop their musical voice.
  • The eligibility criteria has not changed from last year – details of the evidence needed is listed below
  • 25% financial support will not be available during 2022-23. This temporary level of support was introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, but as the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic have now been lifted, the need for this funding has decreased and the requirement for higher levels of funding have increased. From September 2022, we will no longer be offering the 25% level of financial support, however more funding will be allocated for families eligible at the 50% or 100% funding levels. 
  • Your eligibility does not guarantee that you will receive financial support for music with HMS. After you have applied, please check your emails and messages to make sure you have received an offer of financial support from HMS, and what you need to do next.

*New way to apply for help with music fees – starting in June 2022

  • Following feedback to our survey this year, we have made some changes to the way you can apply for funding by making it easier, quicker and more straightforward. You will now be able to apply for help with music fees directly to Hertfordshire Music Service, removing the need to apply to Hertfordshire County Council first, and the evidence of your eligibility can be sent directly to us.
  • Even if you receive free school meals from Hertfordshire County Council, you still need to apply separately to be considered for music lesson funding from Hertfordshire Music Service.
  • Parents/carers will need to provide a National Insurance number in their application so Hertfordshire County Council can request an eligibility check for Free School Meals or other benefits. We will only ask for proof of your eligibility where we can’t obtain it ourselves.
  • This new process will be ready in June 2022 – all the information and how to apply will be available on our ‘Help with fees’ area of our website

Pupils funded in September 2021-July 2022: if you have received financial support during September 2021 and July 2022, please note:

  • Your financial support for music lessons does not automatically continue to the next school year (starting September 2022).
  • You will need to re-apply to HMS for funding in June 2022, with evidence of your eligibility, for lessons starting in September 2022.

Funding for music lessons from Hertfordshire Music Service is funded by the Arts Council England, therefore is separate from the funding you may be eligible for from Hertfordshire County Council, such as free school meals or saver cards.

On this page you will find details of the financial support we offer for music tuition, who is eligible, how to apply, help you with the process of applying, answering any questions and links you may need.

Your eligibility does not guarantee that you will receive financial support for music with HMS. After you have applied, please check your emails and messages to make sure you have received an offer of financial support from HMS, and what you need to do next.

Financial support cannot be backdated, so please do not apply to start lessons before financial support is confirmed by your child's school or HMS Music Centre, if you require this subsidy in order to pay the lesson fees. 

Herts Music Service financial support

Parents and carers can apply for one of three different levels of financial support to help with the fees for instrumental or vocal lessons with us from September 2022 to July 2023:

  1. Level One 100% Financial Support for students in Year 3 or above who currently receive Universal Credit or other benefits that entitle you to free school meals. Pupils who receive protected Free Schools Meals or Pupil Premium until 2023 are not automatically entitled to help with music fees - you will still need to apply for help with music fees each year to show what benefits you currently receive in order to be considered. 

    Qualifying benefits - Click to show

    Children in year 3 or above are eligible for 100% financial support for music if they currently receive any of the following:

    • Income Support

    • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

    • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

    • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

    • Child Tax Credit (as long as you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and you don't get more than £16,190 a year)

    • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

    • Universal Credit (with annual earned income of no more than £7,400 after tax and not including any benefits you get).

  2. Level Two 50% financial support for students in Year 3 or above who receive other qualifying benefits or Universal Credit with annual earned income of no more £15,000.

    Qualifying benefits - Click to show

    You're eligible for 50% financial support for music if you get:

    • Child Tax Credit, payable at a higher rate than the family element (more than £547.50)

    • Working Tax Credit

    • Housing Benefit

    • Council Tax Support (not including second adult rebate)

    • Universal Credit with annual earned income of no more than £7,400 (for 100% music help) or £15,000 (for 50% music help) after tax and not including any benefits you get.

A child will only be able to receive one level of financial support.

Financial support is offered for tuition with us until the end of the academic year (July), to a maximum of 33 weeks, based on continuing eligibility, satisfactory attendance and progress by the student. Parents/carers will need to sign a Music Learning Agreement before financial support is confirmed.

Financial support cannot be backdated, so please don't start lessons before we confirm financial support as you may not be guaranteed the financial support and still be liable for the lesson fees.

We offer this financial support scheme and we may operate a waiting list if we receive more applications than the available funding allows.

Tuition is free for children in the care of Hertfordshire County Council.

Before you apply, speak to your school, HMS Music Centre or email ask.hms@hertfordshire.gov.uk to find out what lessons are available. 

How to apply

Level One 100% and Level Two 50% Financial Support

This subsidy will apply to a maximum of one 20 minute individual lesson, and a group lesson or ensemble, with HMS teachers online, in schools or in HMS music centres.

  1. Provide your National Insurance number, so that HMS can check your eligibility against Free School Meals and other benefits. HMS may ask you for further evidence if required after this initial check.
  2. Confirm that you agree to the Music Learning Agreement, which describes how financial assistance is offered and monitored across the school year.

There is a new way to apply for help with music fees for lessons in September 2022 to July 2023. You can start your application for help with music fees direct to Hertfordshire Music Service on this link.

The Music Learning Agreement

The parent/carer (or the payer where this is different to the parent/carer) will be asked in their application for help with music fees to agree to the terms of the Music Learning Agreement below before financial support is confirmed by HMS. This agreement includes supporting your child’s good attendance and effort in the lessons.

The Terms and Conditions of all HMS instrumental and ensemble tuition is available on our Terms and Conditions page.

The Agreements Terms - Click to show

1. HMS awards financial support to eligible pupils across the county for music tuition and activities delivered by HMS teachers, on the basis that they show satisfactory attendance and musical progress across the school year.

2. Pupils can take up additional activities and opportunities with us across the county, and we want every child to enjoy their musical journey with us. If you are in receipt of 50% or 100% funding, this support can also be applied to an HMS music centre ensemble or choir.

3. HMS will, subject to availability, provide a loan instrument for pupils in receipt of 100% and 50% financial support. Please indicate if you require a loan instrument on the confirmation form.

4. HMS expects parents/carers to support their child to make the most of the opportunity HMS financial support offers. Parents/carers do not need to be a musician or have any musical experience to support a child’s learning at home. This support could include:

a. supporting the learning and practice objectives set by the teacher by reminding your child of set work

b. assisting with logistics e.g. making the instrument easily accessible at home and transporting the instrument to and from school

c. creating a quiet space for practice, free from loud noises and distractions

d. listen and praise practice and performances at home

e. inform the teacher of any planned or unplanned absences from lessons

5. HMS expects that all pupils who receive financial support will:

a. play and practice their instrument at home regularly – little and often is best to start with

b. do their best in lessons and ask questions if they don’t understand what or how to practice at home

c. contribute to their wider musical community by joining an ensemble or choir

d. if academic class lessons are missed for an instrumental music lesson, check with the class teacher if any homework has been set

6. The funding available is limited and we are not always able to offer financial support to every pupil who applies. Therefore, HMS will monitor the progress and attendance of pupils who receive financial support. 

7. HMS staff will support pupils to continue their learning both in and out of school whilst also working with parents/carers to ensure that expectations for attendance and musical progress is met.

8. The financial support will be withdrawn if 3 or more unauthorised absences are recorded within any one term without a valid reason such as exams, hospital appointments and school trips or continued musical progress is not met. HMS staff will contact parents/carers to discuss the absence reasons before the funding is withdrawn.

9. We must receive 4 weeks notice if you need to cancel a lesson for any reason as per the HMS lesson terms and conditions. If the required notice is not given, the lesson will be charged at the funded rate and not rescheduled.

10. This Music Learning Agreement needs to be confirmed by parents/carers before we can finalise an award of financial support. You may be charged in full for lessons that start before this agreement is authorised.

11. In order to stop lessons at the end of a term, you must inform HMS in writing by the relevant deadline detailed in the terms and conditions.

12. Any determination relating to financial support made by HMS shall be final. Please address any complaints regarding HMS tuition to Ben Stevens, Director of Music.


Please send any questions about the scheme to music.remission@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

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