Committee backs principle of free music tuition

22.01.2019

Music tuition in schools should be provided free of charge. This is the conclusion of a report issued today by Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee which explores the provision of instrumental music tuition in schools.

During the inquiry, the Committee heard about the impact charging for tuition can have, with one local authority seeing nearly 70% of pupils receiving music tuition dropping out following the introduction of charges.

Although the Committee recognised the right of local authorities to take decisions about local expenditure, the report highlights the risk to instrumental tuition in Scotland if no action is taken and asks local authorities to re-examine the guidance for these services.

The Committee recommends a review of funding for music tuition as well as extension of Scottish Government support for programmes such as the Youth Music Initiative.

The Committee Convener, Clare Adamson MSP said:

“There is little doubt about the positive benefits that music can have on us as individuals, as communities and indeed to the wider Scottish culture and economy. However, for too many young people, these opportunities are being lost because of increasingly unaffordable fees. This is why our Committee believes in the principle that music tuition should be free.

“However, we recognise that in many local authorities, charging for music tuition is a reality and a decision which will not have been made lightly. This does not mean there is nothing to be done. Local authorities must work harder to make sure that those who can afford it the least do not lose out the most. This is why we have recommended that the funding for these services is re-examined and that more is done to extend concessions and discounts where possible. 

“Time and again we have heard this issue discussed in the Scottish Parliament. But whilst we talk, there are young people losing out. Changes must be made.  COSLA and the Scottish Government have to do all they can to ensure that tuition is affordable and something that can be accessed by all. Otherwise we are in danger of reaching a tipping point for music tuition in Scotland.”

Background

During evidence, the Committee heard from West Lothian Council who stated that:

“Since we introduced charging, the number of primary students in tuition has decreased from 1,128 last November [2017] to 234 this year [2018... At secondary level, the number of students has decreased from 1,042 in November 2017 to 514 in November this year [2018].”

In December 2018, the Improvement Service Scotland reported that charges for individual music tuition were as follows:

 

Local Authority

2018/19 Fees (per pupil, per instrument)

Aberdeen City

£340

Aberdeenshire

£328

Angus

£231 (plus £30 hire)

Argyll and Bute

£239.97

Clackmannanshire

£524

Dumfries and Galloway

£200

Dundee

No charge (£85 hire)

East Ayrshire

£180

East Dunbartonshire

£177

East Lothian

£280

East Renfrewshire

£300

Edinburgh

No charge

Eilean Siar

No charge

Falkirk

£156

Fife

£220

Glasgow

No charge

Highland

£318

Inverclyde

£117

Midlothian

£205.50

Moray

£378

North Ayrshire

£198

North Lanarkshire

£150

Orkney

No charge

Perth and Kinross

£295

Renfrewshire

No charge

Scottish Borders

£140

Shetland

£200

South Ayrshire

£200

South Lanarkshire

£210

Stirling

£267

West Dunbartonshire

No charge (£85 hire)

West Lothian

£354

More information about the Committee’s inquiry can be found on the Committee’s Webpages.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body securely processes journalists’ data for the purpose of enabling reporting on the work of the Scottish Parliament, in line with current data protection requirements. You have the right to unsubscribe at any time. For further information, please see our Privacy Notice.

 

Contact information

Media information

Committee information

 

 

Public information

  • Telephone enquiry line: 0800 092 7500 or 0131 348 5395 (Gàidhlig)
  • [email protected]
  • Text 07786 209 888
  • Ask a question online through live chat
  • We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service or in British Sign Language through contactSCOTLAND-BSL

Keep up to date with us on:

keep up to date with what's happening in Parliament on Facebook Follow the Scottish Parliament on Twitter @ScotParl keep up to date with what's 
happening in Parliament on YouTube

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.