Music tuition now needs to be plugged in West Lothian schools

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West Lothian Council has launched an initiative aimed at getting more youngsters to take up music tuition – after it starting charging fees for the once-free service

Pupils have been issued with leaflets inviting them to “Tune In” to find out what tuition is available in their school.

The move follows suggestions that the number of pupils taking up lessons has fallen.

A spokesman for the council said: “The Tune In leaflet sets out what is available and how pupils can apply for tuition and we’d encourage pupils to return the application form by the advised date.”

Asked how the take up figures compared with October last year, he added: “We do not have a confirmed figure for instrumental music tuition numbers at the moment because enrolments in the IMS programme from existing members are still being received and processed.

“This information will be collated in due course and an interim review of the level of charging will take place in December 2018 with a report coming forward to the Education Executive for consideration.”

The initiative comes just over a month after the start of the new term and on the back of the controversial decision earlier this year to charge pupils £345 for music lessons.

The council had looked at various options including cutting out the teaching of percussion and string instruments.

Only brass, woodwind and piping would be retained.

A survey of families, whose children took lessons, showed that more than half of parents would be prepared to pay to maintain the tuition that was earmarked for cuts.

The £345 charge was set at the level at which the last year’s level of tuition could be maintained.

It also allows for concessions for low income families.

The council pledged to spend £500,000 a year, which maintains a substantial level of tuition.

The council spokesman added: “Music tuition is not a statutory service and most Scottish councils set charges as a matter of course for a number of years.”