First Access

First Access – An Introduction to Instrumental Learning

First Access is one of the key initiatives of the government’s National Plan for Music Education. The aim of the First Access is to introduce students at Key Stages 1 – 3 to learning an instrument through weekly whole class instrumental lessons.

In Cornwall, we are able to offer a grant to schools to fund a specialist to deliver a 12 week programme which consists of:

Is my school eligible for this funding?

All LA or former LA schools are eligible to apply for the First Access grant provided that the class for which it is being claimed has not previously participated in the First Access programme.

Following the Government's guidance regarding Music in schools, we are still able to offer First Access in all instruments:

Teachers are able to visit schools but online sessons may also be available 

How to access the First Access Grant

  1. Choose your instrument – you can hire from the Hub if you don’t have your own - Online Whole Class Instrument Hire Form   Choose a music teacher - (there is a list on the Hub website if you do not already have a teacher in mind or please contact 
  2. Complete and submit the online School Agreement
  3. Plan the sessions - Music leader and classroom teacher meet to plan the sessions.
  4. 45 minute whole class sessions take place for 10 weeks
  5. Review the sessions -  Music teacher meets with the class teacher to review and discuss next steps
  6. School completes and emails the Primary Post Delivery Document/Secondary Post Delivery Document to the Hub office (
  7. Hub pays the grant to the school which covers the actual cost of the 10 sessions plus the two meetings (up to £33.75 per session)

More detail about this process can be found in this document - First Access Information for Schools

First Access Required Documents

Please see below the documents that have been designed to help schools to get the most out of their free First Access sessions and also help us to gain a better understanding of your school's needs.  These documents must be submitted to the Hub office in order to access the grant:

* These documents are mandatory and should be completed and submitted to the Hub office in order to access the First Access grant.  

Other Supporting Documents

First Access – Planning Meeting Discussion - A template to structure the initial planning meeting, you do not need to send in this form.  

First Access School Self Evaluation Questions for Planning Meeting - These questions can help guide schools when reviewing their music education provision.   Schools do not need to submit this document to us.


Instruments for First Access

Schools are responsible for organising their own instruments for the First Access and instruments are still available to hire from the Hub  at the subsidised rate of £70 per class set per term, including delivery (subject to availability).   We recommend that each student has their own designated instrument and does not share.  All of our instruments will have been deep cleaned prior to delivery.  

These class sets include: African percussion, Brass, Woodwind and Strings (single instrument or mixed), Gamelan (Indonesian Tuned Percussion), Guitars, Keyboards, Ocarinas and Fifes (£35 per term) Taiko Drums, Ukuleles and Samba. 

To hire your set of instruments, please complete and submit this online form:

Online Whole Class Instrument Hire Form  


First Access - Important payment information For Autumn 2019 - Autumn 2020

Please find below important information regarding first access from Autumn 2019 - Autumn 2020. Please ensure to read it fully as it contains important information and deadlines moving forwards.

We will now be making all payments to schools via BAC’s for the grant amount and only on receipt of the mandatory documents within the deadline.  We will send an email to the school confirming your payment reference and date once the payment has been made.

All old purchase orders where mandatory documents were not submitted during the subsequent term will be closed on our system. 

Please ensure to pass this message to anyone in your school/academy who deals with finance payments. They can contact us at if there are any further questions.

Autumn Term 2019 Payments

We have sent a number of reminders to schools to submit all mandatory paperwork for the First Access Grant (School Agreement and Post Delivery Document)

We cannot pay the grant amount without receiving the mandatory documents listed above. The payment will be made directly to the school. We have extended the deadline to Friday 15 January 2021 for documents to be submitted to the Hub due to exceptional pressure on schools in the summer term 2020. After this date we will be unable to pay any grant amount from Autumn 2019.

Spring Term 2020 Payments

CMEH made direct payments to the school registered for First Access via BACs.  Due to school closures/COVID-19 we do not require any final documents for this term. If this payment has not been allocated please email and we can provide further details.

Autumn Term 2020 Payments

Please submit the following document by Friday 26th February 2021.  A direct payment of the First Access Grant will then be made to schools at the end of January, provided the mandatory document below has been received by the Hub.

Please note, after this date we will be unable to make any further payments for Autumn 2020 first access due to the end of our financial year, therefore please ensure documents are submitted on time.  


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