Ulster Orchestra

Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:45 am on 11th June 2007.

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Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party 3:45 am, 11th June 2007

8.   asked the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to state what resources have been made available to the Ulster Orchestra to organise workshops in schools and colleges. (AQO 45/07)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland provided the Ulster Orchestra with revenue funding of £1·925 million in 2007-08. That funding is towards core costs and includes the salary of an education officer, whose work includes organising workshops, concerts and master classes in schools and colleges and major education events.

Photo of John Dallat John Dallat Social Democratic and Labour Party

Will the Minister undertake to ensure that adequate resources are made available so that the Ulster Orchestra has the funding to organise workshops in schools? Will he accept that an appreciation of music is the right of everyone and that there is a chill factor when it comes to classical and orchestral music? Will the Minister further ensure that children from different social backgrounds have an opportunity to appreciate the music of the Ulster Orchestra?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

It would be impossible for me to assure the Member that every child will have the opportunity to participate in workshops and performances by the Ulster Orchestra. However, I am confident that as much as possible is being done, within the limitations of available resources, to encourage and support closer association between young people and the Ulster Orchestra. It is a question of educational resources, for which my ministerial colleagues in the Department of Education and the Department for Employment and Learning are responsible.

With the impending roll-out of the revised statutory curriculum, it is a matter for individual schools to decide which programmes and resources they should use.

Photo of Alastair Ross Alastair Ross DUP

Does the Minister agree that access to Ulster Orchestra workshops should be available to all schools?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

Ultimately, the Ulster Orchestra provides a superb outlook for Northern Ireland. The quality of the music is second to none. The opportunity for educational purposes should be used as much as possible. I encourage my departmental colleagues to examine that issue.

Photo of William Hay William Hay Speaker

Question 9 has been withdrawn and will receive a written answer.