Page last updated at 00:58 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

EIS says music tuition is 'vital' for schools

The EIS said every child should have the right to learn an instrument

A teaching union has contacted every school in Scotland in a bid to promote and support music tuition.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) believes it is vital that core music education services are maintained in schools.

The EIS charter highlights the value of music education and calls for proper support and funding.

Local authority umbrella group Cosla said the £5bn spending on education is at record levels.

It said this was likely to be maintained in the coming year.

The EIS letter to schools said playing an instrument helps to develop children's confidence and ability to work in a group - key objectives under the new curriculum.

The guidance on expressive arts is clear that all young people should have active involvement in creative activities and performances
Scottish government spokesman

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said: "The EIS believes that every child should have the right to learn to play a music instrument and to develop their ability to sing.

"Developing an understanding of music is beneficial to pupils in many ways, and can have a profound effect on the personal and social development of children."

Mr Smith added that many of Scotland's great musicians had spoken of the major impact that instrumental music tuition in schools had on their lives and careers.

"It is vital that we do everything that we can to maintain Scotland's rich musical heritage and that the funding is secured to ensure that qualified instrumental music teachers are an integral part of our children's musical education," he added.

'Scarce resources'

Councillor Isabel Hutton, Cosla's education spokeswoman, said: "Despite accusations to the contrary and in the face of unprecedented budgetary pressures, councils continue to spend record levels on education.

"In the most recently published statistics, local authority expenditure on education sat at around £4.7bn nationally and the budget estimates for 09-10 suggest that these levels will be broadly maintained.

A Scottish government spokesman said: "The guidance on expressive arts is clear that all young people should have active involvement in creative activities and performances. Performing and creating music should be prominent activities for all learners.

"Local authorities have responsibility for implementing the curriculum within their schools.

"But we need to be realistic, much as budgets have been protected to this point in time, council's record levels of education expenditure are unlikely to be sustainable in face of the forecast budget cuts and we must debate how to prioritise these increasingly scarce resources in an open and mature way."

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