All school music lessons ‘should be free’, MSPs say

BBC is reporting that music tuition should be provided free of charge in schools, Holyrood’s education committee has recommended.

Some councils still give pupils individual lessons for free, but others have introduced charges of up to £524.

MSPs said they “respect the democratic right of local authorities to take decisions about local expenditure and acknowledge the choices they face”.

But they said that “in principle, music tuition should be provided free of charge in every local authority”.

Councils including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Orkney and Renfrewshire still provide free music lessons for pupils.

Figures from Improvement Service Scotland show that schools in Clackmannanshire charged the most in 2018-19, at £524 – more than double the £258.50 the previous year.

One council, West Lothian, reported seeing nearly 70% of pupils drop out of music lessons after a £354 charge was introduced – something the committee described as “alarming”.

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “Choices are being made, but it is important that we do not simply say that the answer is for the government to provide more resources to local government in general, because some local authorities are attaching a greater priority to the service than others are.”

Read more All school music lessons ‘should be free’, MSPs say

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