Coun­cil de­fends mu­sic fee

The Oban Times - - News -

MU­SIC tu­ition in Ar­gyll and Bute should be free, claims the MSP for the area – but the lo­cal au­thor­ity dis­agrees and is is­su­ing fi­nal de­mands to par­ents for un­paid bills.

The Oban Times re­cently re­ported that Michael Rus­sell MSP had been given as­sur­ances from the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment that mu­sic tu­ition should be pro­vided to pupils as part of the cur­ricu­lum – though some pupils were still be­ing charged.

Mr Rus­sell said: ‘The coun­cil is con­tin­u­ing to charge and is adamant that it can do so as the le­gal sit­u­a­tion re­ferred to in ear­lier pub­lic­ity re­lates only to lessons in schools – not to in­stru­men­tal tu­ition.

‘So, in com­mon with many other coun­cils, it is charg­ing for in­stru­men­tal tu­ition and is en­ti­tled to do so.

‘I had hoped that it would re­con­sider the rise in charges that it made in the light of the protests from par­ents but it has gone ahead re­gard­less.

‘I con­tinue to be ap­pre­hen­sive about mu­sic tu­ition in schools as it doesn’t seem to me that there is sup­port for mu­sic or other arts at the very top of the ed­u­ca­tional tree in the coun­cil as has been ev­i­denced by this saga.’

An Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil spokes­woman said: ‘ We con­tinue to de­liver a mixed and var­ied in­stru­men­tal tu­ition pro­gramme.

‘Pupils re­ceive one year free tu­ition then pay a fee with con­ces­sions ap­pro­pri­ate to a young per­son’s cir­cum­stances.

‘All young peo­ple who are sit­ting na­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions re­ceive their tu­ition free.

‘This ser­vice is sub­sided by the coun­cil with the level be­ing pe­ri­od­i­cally re­viewed.’

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