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Music tutor shortage highlighted

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
Music tutor shortage highlighted

TEACHERS' union EIS has insisted that there are “nowhere near enough” music tutors in Dumfries and Galloway.

This comes after it was revealed that 411 pupils locally are on a waiting list for instrumental music tuition.

There are currently 8.6 full time equivalent music instructors serving the whole of the region and they are being stretched to deliver additional instrumental lessons to 807 pupils.

The instrumental tutors to pupil ratio is 1:93, while the instructor/pupil ratio for guitar lessons is 1:120, according to a new council report.

Andrew O’Halloran, secretary of the Dumfries branch of EIS, said: “There are challenges in delivering an instrumental music service across such a vast area as Dumfries and Galloway and the current 8.6 FTE is nowhere near enough to meet the demand.

“Pupil demand has increased due to the removal of charging, which now gives the service the chance to reach out to children and young people, no matter their personal circumstances.

“What we do need to see going forward is further recruitment of instrumental music instructors.”

It has also been revealed that not all instruments can be taught in all areas due to the lack of resources.

The matter is due to be discussed at the council’s education committee on Tuesday where councillors will review the development of the authority’s children and young people’s music strategy.

A report by Jim Brown, the council’s head of education. explains that the Scottish Government has committed to providing £12m of funding nationally in 2022/23 to cover the removal of music tuition charges.

However, it is unclear what share Dumfries and Galloway will receive – and it won’t be enough to cover the current costs.

The report details costed options for employing more full-time music tutors. One ranges from £38,215-£50,794 per year, while five would be £191,075-£253,970.

The EIS welcomed any further investment in music tuition, with Andrew O’Halloran adding: “It is important that all pupils in Dumfries and Galloway have equal access to instrumental music tuition.

“However, we do need to see disbursement of the promised £12 million to local authorities in session 2022/2023 so that the pupil/instructor ratios can be improved.”

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