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MSP hails plan to scrap music tuition fees in schools

By Alan Beresford

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FEES for children learning a musical instrument at school will be removed thanks to more than £7 million funding from the Scottish Government.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam.

Councils will also receive £6 million to waive core curriculum charges which can be levied on families for things such as materials for home economics or theatre trips associated with drama qualifications.

The agreement with Cosla covers the 2021-22 academic year and marks the delivery of two further commitments for the first 100 days of the SNP government.

Welcoming the move, Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam said: “The rollout of the SNP’s 100 day plan continues as the Scottish Government announce the removal of fees for music tuition and other core activities, such as art and drama.

“This welcome announcement means that so many more families across Scotland will now be in the position to offer their children the opportunity to learn invaluable new lifelong skills.

“Particularly when it comes to core activities such as music, art and drama, it is linked to supporting our long-term goal of achieving a wellbeing economy, especially because of the transformative effect music, art and drama can have on the positive development of young people.

“This is something I had been a massive advocate for in my role as a councillor for Aberdeenshire, that is why I am delighted to support this change in my role now as the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast."

The move was also welcomed by Moray Council's education committee chairwoman Councillor Sonya Warren (Buckie, SNP).

She commented: "This is a great opportunity for all young people who want to learn a musical instrument to do so.

"The value of learning music is well recognised and it should not be limited by cost and affordability to our young people and their families.

"I really welcome the extra finding from Scottish Government to allow this to happen. Until now there has been no ring fenced funding for music tuition and there has been huge pressures on the council budgets.

"I welcome that there are going to be further talks at Cosla for developing a more sustainable model of music tuition and future funding."

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said that providing the best possible outcome for all children was her priority

She continued: "All children should have the best start in life and the ability to take part in core elements of education should never be limited by a child’s ability to pay.

“Today’s announcement means families will not see bills for musical tuition or core curriculum activities in the new school year. I will continue to work with Cosla and local authorities to develop a sustainable and funded model for future years.”

Cosla Children and Young People spokesperson Councillor Stephen McCabe, added:

“Councils recognise the importance of instrumental music tuition for the learning and development of our children and young people.

"Where fees were in place for tuition this is due to a range of local pressures on core council budgets. The one-year funding package agreed between Cosla leaders and the Scottish Government will allow for the removal of fees in the coming academic year and the maintenance of existing levels of provision, so that fees and charges are not a barrier to learning an instrument.

“We welcome the commitment from the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills to work with Cosla and partners in the sector to consider the intent, impact, and broader implications of this Scottish Government policy intervention and to develop a model for the long-term sustainability of instrumental music tuition services across Scotland which must include sustainable funding arrangements for all councils.”

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