Fewer than a quarter of Scot schools offering bagpipe lessons to pupils

Concerns have been raised that bagpipes are more of a priority in the private sector. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Concerns have been raised that bagpipes are more of a priority in the private sector. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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Fewer than a quarter of Scotland’s schools offer pupils the chance to learn the bagpipes, new research has revealed.

Some local authority areas don’t offer any piping at all while only Dundee, Edinburgh and Stirling provide 100 per cent provision across all schools.

The lack of tuition for the pipes has been a bone of contention for some time with many pipers expressing dismay that the instrument appears to be more of a priority in the private sector than in state schools.

A survey conducted by the Scottish Conservatives under freedom of information legislation revealed that only 21 per cent of primaries offering the chance to learn Scotland’s national instrument, and 44 per cent of secondaries.

Overall, the total national average for both primary and secondary schools to 24 per cent.

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According to the figures, no schools in Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire and Perth and Kinross offer bagpipe lessons.

This in comparison to places like Dundee, Edinburgh and Stirling, where all schools have the option. In some councils, pupils can learn the instrument in primary schools, but then experience difficulty in continuing their studies because there are no piping classes provided when they go on to secondary school.

Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Mary Scanlon said: “It is indicative of the SNP’s poor record on music tuition that even the national instrument isn’t widely available for students to learn.

“In many areas across Scotland, it means parents will have to pay for expensive private lessons if they want their child to play the bagpipes, and not everyone will be able to do that.

“We clearly need the Scottish Government to look again at music lesson provision in Scotland’s schools, to make sure this disparity is brought to an end.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said £1 million had been invested in 2012 to give children better access to musical instruments including the pipes.

She added that the £10 million Youth Music Initiative, which included £100,000 to the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, had supported more than 225,000 young people in and out of school to get involved in music.