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Created: 20 December 2012 | Last Updated: 21 December 2012 | Printer Friendly Version Printer Friendly Version | Make Text Smaller Make Text Larger |

Music education cuts may threaten school Christmas performances

The EIS has warned that the postcode lottery of music education could threaten the future of school Christmas performances in some areas. 

As local authorities across Scotland continue to cut costs, music education services in schools continue to be threatened. 

The EIS is highlighting the value of music education to pupils, and is calling for proper support and funding for its provision in all schools.

The EIS also welcomed the recent Scottish Government announcement of an additional £1Million in funding for the purchase of musical instruments in schools, and the announcement of a new Working Group – with EIS involvement – to examine the issues around levels of charging for music tuition and, in particular, the damaging practice of some local authorities charging pupils for presentation at SQA Music exams.

Larry Flanagan said, "The EIS believes that every child should have the right to learn to play a music instrument or to develop their ability to sing.”

"This is brought into particularly sharp focus at Christmas, a time when festive school concerts, carol singing performances, and nativity plays are being enjoyed by parents, pupils, teachers, and local communities.”

"These events celebrate the musical and vocal talents of pupils while helping to build self-confidence, encourage team-work and fostering a sense of community both within the school and in the surrounding area." 

"Many schools, for example, have strong links with their local communities, and provide special Christmas performances for senior citizens groups and other community support organisations.  At every concert a vote of thanks will be given to the staff and instrumental music teachers who have supported the performances of the pupils."

"All of this good work is threatened, however, by continuing and short-sighted attacks on music education. Local councillors attending these events should remember that the excellence which they see before them on the stage has been nurtured and supported by hardworking and committed professionals." 

"The Scottish Government announcement of the new Working Group is a positive step – but it is now down to local authorities to review their own policies on music education, particularly charging policy, and recommit to delivering a high-quality music education for all pupils who want it.”

"The postcode lottery of provision that has emerged across Scotland – with wide variations in fee policy and the level of charges for instrumental music tuition – is causing significant damage to the availability of music education for children in some parts of Scotland." 

"A recent EIS survey of instrumental music tuition in schools found huge variations in the level of fees that pupils are expected to pay – while some Councils provide free tuition in their schools or charge only for equipment hire, others are charging pupils up to £340 a year for their tuition."

"Even more worrying is the damaging practice in some local authority areas of actually charging pupils for presentation to SQA Music Exams.  This is simply unacceptable from both an education and equality point of view, and must be one of the top priorities for the new Working Group to address.”

Moving on to the benefits for pupils, Mr Flanagan added, "Developing an understanding of music is beneficial to pupils in many ways, and can have a profound effect on the personal and social development of children." 

"The Curriculum for Excellence has creativity at its centre. Access to music instruction supports that concept."

"Through instrumental music instruction, pupils can learn how to work both as an individual and as part of a larger group, creating a positive effect on their social skills, their self-confidence and their overall personal development. Performance, in particular, allows pupils to take pride in their accomplishments.”

 "It is extremely important that the Scottish Government and local authorities commit to properly funding the further development of instrumental music teaching across Scotland, so that all young people have an equal opportunity to learn about music and develop their own personal skills." 

"We believe that every child, no matter where they live, should have an equal right to receive proper music education that can nurture their own particular musical talents.”

(ENDS)

For further information, please contact Brian Cooper on 0131 225 6244 or bcooper@eis.org.uk