7 February 2011

FMS warns that the funding cuts could mean music education is reserved for the wealthy

The cuts could mean that music lessons are inaccessible to children from poorer backgrounds. Talking this month Virginia Haworth-Galt, chief executive of the Federation of Music Services, said that the cuts to services will mean that parents will have to make up the shortfall. "In some areas parents are having to step in and pick up the pieces to ensure provision continues. This is one option where there are cuts. It will mean a lack of access to music for those children from low-income backgrounds."

She said that it would be the local authority orchestras and ensembles that would be the worst affected as these are often directly funded by the councils. Additionally the £83 million ring-fenced funding will be scrapped at the end of March. The risk is now that future funding could be given to schools to decide how to spend their own budgets.

Concerns in this approach are advocated by the FMS as "a very high-risk strategy". "Such a move could jeopardise much of the excellent work that music services undertake and decimate their numbers, as occurred in the early 1990's when music education went into steep decline,". They go on to say "quality provision will only be available for those who pay."

Furthermore a recent survey found that over one in three (34%) providers of music tution in schools in England have already issued redundancy notices to staff.

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