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

It has recently come to light that Aberdeen Music Centre has suspended its services as a direct consequence of Aberdeen Council seeking to make cuts in the funding of its instrumental music service.

Commenting on the proposed suspension of the service, EIS General Secretary, Larry Flanagan said, "I am sure that when Aberdeen voters cast their ballots in the recent local government elections, they weren’t voting to cut the funding for Instrumental Music tuition and in particular the popular service offered through the Aberdeen Music Centre.

"Councils should be continuing support for instrumental tuition and indeed looking for ways to expand it. Instead across the country we see a penny pinching cuts agenda slicing away at the service, as in the case of the Aberdeen Music Centre.”

The announcement that Aberdeen Music Centre is suspending its services follows on from the recent announcement that North Lanarkshire Council 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.

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 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."