Wed 14 Nov, 2018

We're on a slippery slope with teaching posts already going unfilled. Ross Greer MSP

Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP today (14 Nov) stepped up his call for action from government after the country's biggest teaching union raised the prospect that music teachers could soon disappear from schools for good.

At today's meeting of Holyrood's Education Committee, Mr Greer highlighted that local councils facing funding pressures are cutting staff, as well as charging for tuition, pricing many children out of learning an instrument.

In response, Kirk Richardson, Convener of the EIS Instrumental Music Teachers' Network, said: "Once they go it's very difficult to bring them back."

The EIS has warned that Edinburgh faces a 50 per cent reduction in music teaching staff, while in West Lothian the introduction of charges of £354 a year has resulted in one instructor losing 78 per cent of their pupils. In some primary schools in South Ayrshire there is now no child learning to play a musical instrument, while in East Lothian three music teachers who left have not been replaced.

Ross Greer, Education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for the West of Scotland, said:

"It's appalling that young people who are not from wealthy backgrounds are losing out because music lessons are viewed as a soft option for cuts and price hikes. We're on a slippery slope with teaching posts already going unfilled.

"Learning an instrument brings so many personal and wider community benefits and should be viewed as a public good that is properly funded, free and to which all children are entitled. Local councils need greater freedom to raise more funds in a fair way so they can deliver these vital education services.

“Green MSPs have used the opportunity of a minority government since 2016 to successfully prevent over £300 million of cuts to council funding but the historic backlog cannot be addressed by annual haggling. The SNP have had since 2007 to devolve responsibility and give councils a fighting chance. Do they really want the death of music tuition to be their legacy?"

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