School Music Development Grants (SMDG)

Grants of between £100 and £1000 are available to help schools* establish an instrumental ensemble or musical progression opportunities for their pupils†.

These grants are part of the Music Education Hub’s Ensembles and Progression Strategy and are funded by the Arts Council of England. The grants can be spent on the cost of employing specialist music tutors, renting instruments, buying or renting resources or any other associated cost that can be itemised (pending approval from SoundStorm).

* Available to all Bournemouth and Poole maintained schools and academies.

† For the purpose of these grants we define an ensemble as a group of 2 or more pupils who meet regularly to make music together using instruments. These grants are for instrumental groups only – not vocal groups (though singing can be part of the ensemble, it cannot only be made up of voices). We define progression as activities, support or equipment that allows pupils to make musical progress; developing their technical skills, critical responses, cultural understanding and creative expression.

How to apply

  • To apply for a School Music Development Grants (SMDG)please download and complete the pro-forma. This must be submitted by a school*, but can be developed in partnership with a provider.
  • Please read the criteria and priorities below and consider these when completing the pro-forma.  Once completed return your pro-forma to Claire White at
  • There is no deadline to submit a SMDG application, this is a rolling programme. We will endeavour to assess your application and respond to you within a fortnight of submission.

Please note that grants will be given subject to budget availability, qualification against the criteria and suitability against the priorities list. Submitting an application does not guarantee you will be successful in receiving a grant.


1) The school must explain how the activity or equipment they will use the SMDG for integrates into the schools current music offer; ensuring cohesive progression routes. However, a SMDG cannot be used to fund existing activity, unless you can demonstrate how it will add significant value to the current activity.

2) The school must contribute something financially and this must be listed in the budget section of the pro-forma – the schools contribution can be in-kind (teacher time, space, resources etc)

3) The school must demonstrate a legacy plan for after the SMDG grant runs-out. E.g. the equipment purchased will be used in music activity every year or the school will use Pupil Premium funding and student contributions to retain the ensemble.


The following priorities reflect the Bournemouth and Poole Music Education Hub’s business plan and SoundStorm’s will assess all applications against the following list.

  • School that have not received subsidised activity from SoundStorm or the Music Education Hub during the 2013-14 academic year.
  • Applications that seek to address reported need (e.g. the data provided in the 2012/13 Music Audit)
  • Applications that will result in activity that promotes creativity and agency – song-writing, composition etc
  • Applications that will result in activity that promotes transition by engaging with other schools.