East Lothian Instrumental Music Service comprises a number of professionally qualified Instrumental Instructors, who provide music tuition in both primary and secondary schools.

They work in partnership with the schools, pupils and their families.

The service is funded by East Lothian Council with a parental contribution towards the tuition. A charge of £280 per year will be introduced in the new academic session from August, with a number of exemptions and discounts being put in place. Payments can be made in 10 monthly or three termly instalments - or by a one off payment at the start of the academic year.

Further details of the discounts and exemptions have been published.

Key points:

  • Free tuition will be provided for pupils in receipt of free school meals and/or clothing grant, looked after children within East Lothian Council’s social care system, and pupils using their tutored instrument towards an SQA qualification in years S4-S6.
  • There is a bursary scheme, which will provide support for households with taxable income less than £26,884 who do not receive free tuition*. This will be a contribution towards the cost of tuition, resulting in those pupils paying 70% of the cost.
  • There are discounts for families where siblings are also undertaking tuition. Sibling(s) includes all siblings undertaking tuition e.g. a family with three children undertaking tuition at the full rate would be charged £280 for the eldest child and £240 each for the younger children.

Registration for the new academic year is now open for pupils previously enrolled. Pupils interested in taking up lessons for the first time can register from the start of the new session in August. Click here to find out more and register.

Shamin Akhtar, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education, said:

“Our priority is to continue providing high-quality instrumental music tuition to pupils in our schools. We want this to be open and accessible. That’s why we have agreed a package of discounts and exemptions.

“This includes free tuition for pupils receiving free school meals and/or clothing grants, as well as for looked after children within our social care system. Pupils learning a tutored instrument while studying for a SQA qualification in S4-6 will also be exempt.

“There is a bursary scheme, which will provide support to pupils from a households with a total taxable income of less than £26,884. This will be a contribution towards the cost of tuition, resulting in those pupils paying 70%.

“The results of our 2018/19 budget consultation told us that people would rather see charges introduced than services being reduced. In a challenging financial environment for local authorities, most other councils have already introduced such charges. One local authority charges £524 per year – significantly more than will be charged here in East Lothian.

“These new arrangements will ensure the instrumental music service continues – in addition to the music curriculum which is taught more generally in the classroom. The Instrumental Music Service will deliver an accessible service which helps to enrich the learning experience for many more children across the county.”

Instrumental music tuition is a discretionary service provided by East Lothian Council and is separate to the entitlement to a music curriculum taught within the classroom.

It is available from P4 to S6 in a wide range of instruments including upper and lower strings, woodwind, brass, percussion, piano, guitar and pipes.

The decision to introduce charging for instrumental tuition was made at the full council meeting on 13 February, as part of agreeing a budget for 2018/19. The budget was passed after a majority of Elected Members voted in favour. This followed a public budget consultation - which received almost 1,000 responses.

At their June meeting Cabinet members were asked to approve the charge level – which will generate income equivalent to around half the cost of providing this discretionary service.

*The threshold of £26,884 is in line with the household income threshold of the Education Maintenance Allowance.

Published: Thursday, 2nd August 2018