The EIS continues to campaign to save instrumental music tuition in Scotland's schools. The importance of protecting music education in schools will be one of the issues to be debated at next week's EIS Annual General Meeting, in Dundee.
A Motion, to be brought to the AGM by Midlothian EIS Local Association, will call for Instrumental Music provision to be protected in all schools across Scotland. The EIS has repeatedly raised concerns about an emerging 'postcode lottery' of music provision, questioning why some local authorities can provide free music tuition for pupils while others are charging hundreds of pounds for tuition – creating a barrier to access for many young people.
During breaks in this year’s AGM, delegates will see and hear for themselves some of the many benefits of music education through performances organised by members of the EIS Instrumental Music Network and featuring young musicians from Scottish schools.
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."
Mr Flanagan added, "When questioned on this issue, the Scottish Government is quick to cite its support for the Youth Music Initiative (YMI). This initiative, while positive, is no substitute for properly resourced local authority music services."
"It generally offers twelve hours of learning on one instrument, serving as a taster for music education. It is a travesty that children who show interest and ability during these taster sessions are being denied access to fully-funded instrumental music services in the longer term, or excluded by unaffordable charges."
"Why spark interest if you don’t intend to keep the fire burning? It is hard to see how this approach is compatible with an ambition of excellence and equity for all."
As part of its 'Change the Tune' campaign to protect instrumental music in schools, the EIS is also supporting a petition lodged at the Scottish Parliament calling for free instrumental tuition to be available to all children attending state schools in Scotland.
The EIS is urging all its members to sign this petition.