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Arts Colleges were introduced in 1997 as part of the now defunct Specialist Programme in the United Kingdom. The system enabled secondary schools to specialise in certain fields, in this case, the performing, visual and/or media arts. Schools that successfully applied to the Specialist Schools Trust and became Arts Colleges received extra funding from this joint private sector and government scheme. Arts Colleges also acted as a local point of reference for other schools and businesses in the area, with an emphasis on promoting art within the community.