EIS kicks off campaign to save free music education

The Educational Institute of Scotland, the country’s largest teaching union, has warned against the development of a ‘postcode lottery’ which puts music tuition out of reach for poorer families.

The union has pointed out the discrepancy between the practices of different local authorities, with some providing free tuition, and others charging hundreds of pounds - a price tag that is out of reach for many in an age of austerity and flatlining wages.

To stop this, they are supporting a petition, which has been lodged with the Scottish Parliament, calling on the Scottish Government to change their tune on council funding and protect free music tuition.

Earlier this year, Scotland’s commissioner for children warned that cuts to music tuition could infringe on the UN convention on Children’s rights, that states that all children must be provided with “education directed towards the development of their personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential”. Over the last decade, the number of music teachers in Scotland has fallen from 1150 to 640.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said:

“The EIS has argued over many years, and never more so than in recent months, that Scotland’s instrumental music services are both highly valuable and hugely under-invested.”

“Our position is that the cuts that have been imposed on these services during a period of austerity budgeting, and the increase in charges levied to families for music tuition, have contributed to a significant erosion of music in schools and place them at risk of extinction.”

“EIS members who teach Instrumental Music are now reporting catastrophic cuts and outrageous charges; we are hearing of annual charges of up to £524 per pupil being mooted; and music services losing up to ten FTE (Full Time Equivalent) staff in the most recent budget round.”

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