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Tories tap into the X Factor culture with plan for national schools music competition

Cameron Gary Barlow and Edward Timpson Visiting a school in Nantwich - part of the Crewe and Nantwich constituency won by Edward Timpson at the famous 2008 by-election - David Cameron has announced that a Conservative Government would launch a new schools music competition.

Mr Cameron was speaking alongside Take That's Gary Barlow, who has not only given his backing to the "School Stars" competition, as it will be called, but has offered the chance to make a record with him as the first prize.

The competition would be launched this autumn with each school holding a School Stars competition for children either singing or playing an instrument, and a winner chosen in under-11s, under-14s and under-19s categories. Each schools' winners would then proceed to local, county and regional heats before a national final in June 2011.

The BPI, UK Music and Global Radio have given the initiative their backing, which in its first year would cost no more than £1,000,000: half of that would come from private backing, and the other half would be taken from the existing Children and Young People’s Culture curriculum budget.

David Cameron spoke about it in terms of seeking talent which would eventually provide a boost the British music industry, and bringing young people together to make music, giving themselves a feeling of self belief whilst doing something fun.

And before the cynics and the sceptics scoff, I am not suggesting that this is the election-winning policy which trumps Conservative plans to tackle the state of the economy, immigration etc - but it's a great idea and was particularly good to see Gary Barlow giving his public backing to the party this morning (and you can click here to watch him singing at this morning's event).

Jonathan Isaby


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