School music lessons under threat

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 November 2010

Archant

SCHOOL music lessons could be under threat across North Somerset as headteachers face 'inevitable' budget cuts.

The district’s music service, which provides instrumental and vocal tuition to thousands of pupils, as well as training to teachers, faces an uncertain future.

Its central Government grant is under review at the moment and news on how much it could be cut by is set to be announced on December 7.

The local authority also provides the service with money, something which is also under scrutiny as part of North Somerset Council’s mission to save up to £42million in four years.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “It is inevitable in the face of such significant funding loss, that we, along with all other councils, will not be able to afford to maintain every one of our many services at their current level.

“We won’t know how much our music grant from Government will be until the announcement on December 7.”

North Somerset Music Service is among 65 per cent of such groups that receives local authority contributions, either in cash, kind or both.

On average, councils contribute 10.5 per cent of total music service budgets. Remaining funding comes from the central Government Music parental fees, school and other contributions.

Federation of Music Services (FMS) chief executive, Virginia Haworth-Galt, said: Music and our children’s education are too important to be jettisoned like this, particularly when we know that 91 per cent of the public backs music education in schools.

“The FMS and its members are preparing for change but at this stage we should remain flexible and open minded about the future shape of music education.”

North Somerset Council says it has made no decisions as yet about cuts in music services and will not make any until it finds out about the central Government grant next month.

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