Shock at councils' £3 million music profit

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Scottish councils are making a collective profit of £3 million from charging pupils for music lessons, despite deep cuts to provision in schools across the country.

The EIS teaching union obtained the figures via Freedom of Information requests to Scotland’s 32 local authorities. All responded and the union has submitted its evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee, which was due to meet on Tuesday (September 11).

Two-thirds of councils charge for instrumental music tuition, with fees ranging from £95 to £340 per-year, per-pupil, the EIS found. Two local authorities made about £500,000 profit each from charging such fees. The profits are used to shore up other budget areas.

Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said: “It is truly shocking. Education should be about providing an equal opportunity for all to benefit and learn but, sadly, in the case of music instruction a small number of pupils are being charged a heavy price for developing their talents in music.”

It was “incredible”, he added, that while some councils charged nothing or only enough to cover costs, others were generating substantial profits. He said: “These need to explain their actions and outline precisely how this excess revenue is being spent to support music education in our schools.”

The only councils not charging are Edinburgh, Glasgow, East Lothian, West Lothian, Dunbartonshire, Western Isles, South Ayrshire and Orkney. Aberdeen City charged 1,863 pupils, with 914 exempt. The individual fee was £340 and total profit £523,000. In Highland only 387 pupils out of 2,900 were exempt. The fee was £252, making total profit £453,000.


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