Proposals to cut musical instrument tuition in schools in Dumfries and Galloway have been raised at First Ministers’ Question Time.
MSP Oliver Mundell told the Scottish Parliament that it was “deeply worrying” that the local authority was considering cutting music tuition and asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to raise the issue “urgently” with the council.
The proposals, part of a raft of potential budget cuts to council services, have sparked controversy among parents, who have launched a petition against the move. The list of possible cuts has been provided to councillors, staff and the public by council officers in a bid to save £12.7 million in next year's budget. The savings suggestions are out for consultation before proposed budgets are formally drawn up and put to councillors.
Under the plans, instrumental lessons would be axed for all pupils except those taking Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exams such as National 5 or Higher in music in a move which would save the council £421,000 a year.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I think the government and in particular, the education secretary, has made his views very clear on music tuition. We would strongly encourage all local authorities to maintain their music tuition and not to reduce it and that goes for Dumfries and Galloway as it would for other local authorities across the country.”
A petition launched on change.org today said: “The impact on the wider community would mean that bands in the area would eventually fold with no new players coming. Music curriculum in schools would only be open to children who learn private tuition meaning that our music programme in Dumfries and Galloway would be a thing of the past with less being able to access it.
“Please help us stop this, we would be the only region in Scotland to do this, Midlothian stopped this from happening...we can too.”