Friday 30 June 2017

The EIS has warned that cuts to the Instrumental Music (IM) Service are placing instrumental music provision at risk in schools across Scotland.

The warning comes as it emerged that one local authority, North Lanarkshire, is set to cut £158,000 from its IM budget for 2017/18, which amounts to four full-time equivalent Instrumental Music Teacher posts, with serious implications for pupils’ opportunities to study music.

The cut equates to twenty days of teaching, affecting dozens of schools across the authority.

A recent survey of Instrumental Music Teachers, carried out via the EIS Instrumental Music Teachers’ Network, found that 71% of respondents cited cuts to the instrumental music service as an issue in their area.

The most commonly cited concerns related to budget and staffing cuts, while the charging of fees to pupils to access instrumental music provision was also a frequently cited concern.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "It is clear that Instrumental Music Teachers are facing an uncertain future across Scotland. Budget and staff cuts are affecting Instrumental Music services in many schools and the level of provision that can be offered to pupils."

"Some local authorities are also increasing charges for instrumental music lessons, imposing charges for instrument hire, or are moving to, in essence, the privatisation of instrumental music provision by stealth."

"All of this is damaging a valuable component of education, and limiting the opportunities for young people to benefit from access to instrumental music."

Mr Flanagan continued, "A recent EIS survey of Instrumental Music Teachers (IMTs) found that 71% identified cuts to budgets and to staffing of the service as an issue in their authority."

"Other issues raised include the job and role insecurity being experienced by IMTs, increased workload, and low morale. These are worrying findings for everyone involved with music provision in our schools."

Mr Flanagan added, "This erosion of the IMT service is continuing despite the strong evidence highlighting the many wider educational benefits of learning music - including in areas such as enhanced literacy, numeracy, communications and teamworking skills."

"Instrumental Music Teachers are highly skilled professionals who offer a service highly valued by learners and parents, so it is essential that we protect their vital role in delivery of music education in our schools."

"We owe it to our young people to protect this important aspect of their education, so that as many pupils as possible can benefit from learning instrumental music, regardless of their family income."