Scottish school students will be able to get their music tuition free of charge from next term, thanks to funding from the Scottish government.
In an initial one-year deal, Scottish councils which oversee education and the Scottish education department have agreed seven million pounds of extra funding to cover the cost. This follows a sudden decline in school music tuition take-up after some councils imposed three-figure fees on students to cover cuts to their budgets.
The £7m is part of additional funding for a range of core subjects hit by budget cuts, including materials for home economics and theatre visits for drama students.
The Scottish local councils’ body, Cosla, had argued that ring-fencing money for music tuition by the government was a breach of each council’s democratic right to run its own budget, but it acknowledged that music learning had suffered in some constituencies.
The announcement has been given a cautious welcome as it only covers the 2021/22 school year at present.
Scottish Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said she will continue to work with local authorities to come up with a sustainable long-term plan to protect music tuition in Scotland. She said, ‘My priority is to ensure the best possible outcomes for all of Scotland’s children and young people, whatever their background. 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.’