Partial return for free music tuition in West Lothian

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By Clare Grant

West Lothian Council is increasing the number of pupils eligible for free Instrumental Music tuition, it has emerged.

Its Education Executive voted to extend the current concessions scheme to include young people who receive the School Clothing Grant (SCG) as well as those who receive Free School Meals (FSM).

This means more children from lower income families can benefit from free instrumental music tuition from August 2019, with an estimated 23.5% of families eligible for SCG compared to 16.3% eligible for FSM.

Officers were previously asked to investigate how the concessions available for instrumental music could be extended to support families who are unable to pay the full charge, but who are not in receipt of free school meals.

Executive councillor for education David Dodds said: “I’m pleased that more West Lothian children from lower income families will be eligible for free instrumental music tuition from August 2019.

“Unfortunately the scale of the budget reductions facing the council means that we are not able to provide universal free tuition for all, with an estimated budget gap of £65.3 million over the five years

“Therefore it’s important that we take steps to ensure children from less affluent backgrounds are not disadvantaged as a result. This change gives West Lothian one of the widest concession schemes in Scotland for instrumental music.”