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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
How the money is spent
End result: How did the money get there?
End result: How did the money get there?

Once Chancellor Gordon Brown announces his spending plan for the next three years - what happens then? BBC News Online's traces the arduous journey from Ministerial announcement to money on the ground.

Pity the poor art teacher, trying to convince her students that there is more to art than a doss period in the timetable, or that Michelangelo is more than a teenage mutant ninja turtle.

Where once she might have taken them to a gallery or museum to dawdle in front of dusty paintings or headless statues, now museums and galleries are trying to bring their exhibitions into the classroom.

The approach mightn't be radically new, but the money is.

The government spends 400bn of our money annually, and over 50bn on education.

But tracing the outcome of just one small project highlights the complicated and lengthy path the cash travels before it benefits anyone.

Promoting museums in schools

In 1999, the Department for Education said there would be 3.25m of cash available under the Museums and Galleries Education Programme (MGEP).

Its aims are both lofty and laudable.

Young people should get more out of museums and galleries, who should strengthen their links with schools - and all of this should enhance the National Curriculum.

An extra 1m was added to the pot earlier this year and now museums and galleries are submitting proposals for the cash.

Arts and books

About 63 organisations benefited from the cash the first time around.

Among those, were the Whitechapel Arts Gallery in east London, which received 45,000 of government money.

With this cash, it developed a project called SWAP, the Schools Whitechapel Artist Placement , sending artists in local schools to work with students and letting students make introductory videos to their art exhibitions.

Gordon Brown
Where does the Treasury's cash go?

The British Library used its 87,000 to develop a website, Words Alive - allowing bring the contents of the library to school.

Trail of cash

The first phase of the project was run centrally.

The second phase is run by Resource - the name for Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, though ultimately the responsibility remains with the Department.

With 1m to spend, they invited bids from the nine English regions, with 10 June the closing date.

A minimum of 50% of the funding had to be used to develop and operate a small arts programme. About 10% could be retained to cover central administration involved with managing the programme while 40% can be used for specific projects.

On 27 June, a selection panel - consisting of Resource, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Department of Education, and the Department for culture, media and sport - met to assess the applications received by the nine regions.

Where the bids didn't meet the standard required, Resource stepped in to work with the region's applications.

The successful regions - in theory all of them - will get 'letters of award' by 12 August. The grant payments will then be staggered over the lifetime, between now and the end of the financial year in 2004, 31 March.

The remaining 100,000 is used for evaluating the project.

Regional divide

Once the regional bodies get it, where does the money go from there?

The London Museums' Agency intends to "use 85,000 as small grant funds, which will fund 17 or 18 projects. What we are going to do is use it as small grants fund, so museum will apply for project funds...they were prompted when we put the bid in," Fiona Talbot, the LMA's chief executive said.

About 13,000 has been put aside to provide a publication - for schools in the Local Education Authority and a conference in February 2004.

They plan to absorb the management costs and use about 2,000 for central administration costs and to publicise the scheme.

With a deadline of the end of October, museums will have a decision by the end of December and every applicant will hear by January 2003.

By then, the government's new three-year spending round will have begun - and perhaps yet another new set of procedures to encourage art appreciation in schools will be introduced.

The government's plans for future spending are published on 15 July

Key stories

At the sharp end



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