The Government has announced a Pounds 36 million scheme to help dance and drama students cover the cost of their training.
The money, which will be spread over three years from 1997/98, is to be provided by the Department for Education and Employment, local authorities and the Arts Council through National Lottery funds. The DFEE is providing Pounds 9 million of new money.
The move follows concerns earlier this year about the number of local authorities which no longer give discretionary awards for dance and drama students.
Results of a survey by the National Foundation for Education Research published in June by the Gulbenkian Foundation found that 28 per cent of all local authorities had a policy of no support for such students.
There has been a 12 per cent fall in the numbers awarded over the past year, and spending on awards has dropped by 13 per cent.