Warning over music tuition in Argyll and Bute

Instrumental music instruction has increased in Argyll and Bute in the last four years. This picture was taken at the Rotary Club of Rothesay's 2014 Young Musician of the Year competition, with instrumental winner Michael Sweeney being accompanied by Tony Spencer on piano.

Instrumental music instruction has increased in Argyll and Bute in the last four years. This picture was taken at the Rotary Club of Rothesay's 2014 Young Musician of the Year competition, with instrumental winner Michael Sweeney being accompanied by Tony Spencer on piano.

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A warning note has been sounded over the future of instrumental music tuition in Argyll and Bute’s schools.

A report considered by the local council’s community services committee this week said the authority had failed to deliver a £110,000 saving in the service which was agreed in 2011.

Cleland Sneddon, the authority’s executive director for community services, said in his report: “In the absence of the saving, the education service has continued to meet the financial pressure within the existing wider service budget. However this has applied pressure to other areas of the service.

“The instrumental music instruction service is a popular service with pupils and parents.

“Addressing the previously agreed budget decision will be perceived as a detriment to the current levels of service and may be contentious.

“This is not a universal service however and failing to address the budget deficit would have an impact on all pupils in Argyll and Bute.”

The number of pupils receiving instrumental tuition in the area has increased in the last four years, despite a fall in pupil numbers across Argyll and Bute.

In 2010/11 1,222 pupils received tuition, a number which increased to 1,129 in 2011/12, 1,258 in 2012/13 and 1,423 in 2013/14.

The committee agreed to note the background, savings efforts and cost pressures, and agreed that as part of the council’s planned ‘Service Choices’ programme, consideration would be given to the longer-term level of tuition services.