Teaching union hits out at new threat to music tuition in Fife schools

Fife EIS has pledged to campaign against any proposed cut to music tuition in Fife schools. Pictured are young people taking part in a music protest when cuts to music tuition were proposed in 2010.
Fife EIS has pledged to campaign against any proposed cut to music tuition in Fife schools. Pictured are young people taking part in a music protest when cuts to music tuition were proposed in 2010.

A teaching union has pledged to campaign against another ‘unacceptable’ threat to cut music tuition in Fife schools.

Members of Fife EIS have hit out at the ‘apparently annual’ proposal by Fife Council’s education service to terminate instrumental instruction in primary schools and from S1-S3 in secondaries.

The union claims its members are facing an ‘uncertain future’ as plans to reduce the service are back on the agenda as part of Fife Council’s yearly budget which is set next month.

However, the local authority has insisted a reduction in music tuition, which is part of a package of budget saving measures, is just an option and as yet, no decision has been taken on the plans.

But David Farmer, Fife EIS publicity officer, said: “The threat comes in proposals from the Education and Children’s Services for the 2019 Fife Council Budget.

“Fife EIS which represents the instrumental music teachers sees this apparently annual threat as unacceptable. Along with our music service members, who yet again are having to endure the stress of employment uncertainty inflicted on them by the Education and Children’s Service, we will be campaigning to overturn this proposal.

“Fifers will recently have enjoyed a festive concert or musical event at their local school but without the hard work and dedication of teachers of instrumental music and, of course, the pupils, such events simply would not happen.

“Now these same dedicated professionals face a seemingly uncertain future.”

He continued: “The proposal would mean the termination of instrumental instruction in the primary sector and in years 1-3 in secondary. The proposal would lead to the complete removal of tuition, apart from those students studying for SQA examinations, and could see the loss of the whole service within a very few years.”

He added: “Fife EIS and its members in the music service are fully committed to opposing this proposal and we call on every parent and elected member to join us in doing just that.”

But Fife Council co-leader cllr David Ross, warned against jumping the gun. He said: “The EIS have been told that there is a significant difference between the savings proposals put forward by officers and what will be acceptable to the joint administration.

“In particular they should look at what savings have been rejected by councillors in previous years before jumping to conclusions – the music service being a case in point.”

Co-Leader, Cllr David Alexander added: “We face this speculation every year.

“We also have to put forward a balanced budget. Any suggestions on how we achieve that would be welcome.”