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  1. ITV Report

Andrew Lloyd Webber calls for better Government support for the arts in schools

Andrew Lloyd Webber has called on the Government to support arts education, saying "every penny you spend on the arts comes back many many fold".

The plea comes as the composer revealed he gave more than £4 million to projects across the country to pay for musical instruments and lessons for youngsters in 2017.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, a Tory peer, told ITV News: "I feel passionately about the importance of music in in education and never has there been a moment where the arts have so important in schools."

Music can support behavioural and academic success. Credit: ITV News

A report by the Education Policy Institute suggests schools have whittled down the number of pupils taking dance and fine art at key stage four, after reforms pushed pupils towards more traditional academic subjects such as geography and English.

The 70-year-old criticised the educational system for failing to see how music can support behavioural and academic success.

"It's ridiculous because it's only about hitting artificial targets that are about so-called academic achievement.

"If you study music in any kind of form you're going to be very much up to speed with maths.

"You think of the BRITS school who produced Adele and Amy Winehouse and they've had their sixth form grant cut, you'd say what what is this government doing?", he said.

Schools have whittled down the number of pupils taking dance and fine art at key stage four.

The music maker also commented on the impact cuts have had on stage.

"One of the things that concerns me deeply, is the lack of diversity in the theatre because of the fact that stage schools are expensive to go to.

"It's wrong because then you tend to get children from a background where there is money.

"Therefore the actors I tend to see in auditions come from a limited background, this is wrong.

"The Royal College of Music used to be free and it's nonsense that it's not anymore."

Lord Lloyd-Webber, urged politicians to refrain from arguing and invest in the arts.

"The answer is for the government to realise and it's not a political point, this is for politicians to realise that every penny you spend on the arts comes back many many fold," he said.