Greer challenges Swinney over subsidy to fee-paying Music School when many councils are axing free tuition

Green MSP Ross Greer has challenged Education Secretary John Swinney to justify his Government’s long-running subsidy of around £1.2 million to the fee-paying St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, at a time when many councils are axing free music tuition in schools due to budget cuts passed down by the Scottish Government. 

In an exchange during a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee, Mr Greer argued that by grant funding a small number of places at a private school, the Government risked exacerbating a deep sense of inequality - highlighting the evidence previously given by one young person who said the situation was ‘approaching Victorian levels’ of inequality. 

Scottish Greens Education spokesperson, Ross Greer MSP said:

“We’ve heard countless stories about how cuts to council budgets are driving young people from less privileged backgrounds away from learning an instrument, with one young woman telling us this is approaching Victorian levels of inequality.

“So I just can’t see how the government justifies giving over one million pounds of public money every year to a small private school, without any clear assessment of whether that is value for money. Instead, for example, it could increase funding for the four centres of musical excellence that serve the whole of Scotland.”