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Schools to save more money via copyright licensing changes

Posted on: Friday, April 17th, 2015

New copyright agreements are set to free up more money to go towards improving the appearance and maintenance of educational facilities, it has been announced.

The Department for Education (DfE) has unveiled an initiative in which the government will hold music copyright licences centrally, freeing schools from the burden of applying for them independently.

This represents a significant change from the previous system in which schools and local authorities had to buy licences for the use of music individually.

The government claim that this will save around £4 million for schools and local authorities, which can then be channelled towards other projects.

The copyright licences will cover a wide variety of uses of music, such as, recording pupil's performances on CD and DVD, school discos, radios in the staff room and even telephone holding music.

This latest announcement comes after the previous agreements made over the past two years, which governed the ability of schools and local authorities to use films, TV shows and newspapers in schools.

When all of these different areas of copyright are taken into account, the total amount of money that schools and local authorities will save comes to £16.5 million each year.

Speaking about the latest announcements, schools minister David Laws said: "Day in, day out, teachers across the country are working phenomenally hard to help children reach their full potential.

"We want to do all we can to support them to reduce the burden of unnecessary tasks so they can channel their resources into what is most important – educating young people.

"The simplifying of copyright licensing in schools is another example of this, giving schools across the country the freedom to work on raising attainment levels further while saving millions of pounds."

The deals come into effect this month and is the result of collaboration between the government, the Performing Right Society (PRS), Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and CCLI.

Similarly, the government revealed that the Copyright Licensing Agency licence, the Schools Printed Music Licence and the Newspaper Licensing Agency licences have been extended for a further five years.

In addition to saving schools a significant amount of money, the move will also help to substantially reduce bureaucracy and workload.

Jo Warner-Howard, director of Education at the Copyright Licensing Agency, added: "The bottom line is that by simplifying copyright licensing in schools, the substantial administrative savings will directly benefit schools whilst rewarding the crucial role of creative content in school life."

These agreements come after the government vowed to do more to support the teaching profession.

As part of its overhaul, a series of new changes will be introduced, which includes a commitment by Ofsted not to change its handbook or framework during the school year, unless it is deemed to be necessary. In the same vein, no changes will be made to qualifications in the academic year or during a course, unless it is deemed necessary.

The inspection agency will also continue to update its new myths and facts document stating what inspectors do and do not expect to see.

This is expected to reduce the stress that often accompanies inspections.

Additionally, the government is set to ensure that schools get more notice of significant changes to the curriculum, exams and accountability.