South Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has renewed her call on Labour councillors to abandon their policy of charging school pupils for music tuition – after the Scottish Government confirmed such tuition should be free.
Responding to a question from an MSP earlier this month, the Education Secretary John Swinney confirmed that “music tuition in schools that takes place during the course of the school day… should be provided free of charge”.
But Ms McAlpine has been contacted by constituents angry that schools in Dumfries and Galloway are still charging pupils £200 if they want to study music at school.
Ms McAlpine has written to the chair of the Education Committee, Councillor Jeff Leaver, asking for urgent action.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“I have already stated my opposition to Labour’s policy of charging school children who wish to receive music tuition – and the response of Labour politicians was to simply pass the buck.
“Now we have clear guidance from the Scottish Government that the Labour administration’s policy of fees for music tuition is simply unacceptable.
“I have written to Jeff Leaver and this time I hope he responds in the interests of our constituents.
“After all, it was Mr Leaver himself who earlier spoke about music education helping to close the attainment gap between poor and affluent pupils. When did his position change?”
The parliamentary question and answer are available here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S5W-02079&ResultsPerPage=10