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EIS is out of tune

Scotland has 680 music instructors of whom 165 suppor-ted the pay settlement in the ballot of instructor members conducted by the Educational Institute of Scotland. This falls well short of a majority of support.

Many instructors are members of the Musicians' Union or are non-unionised individuals. Their views on the settlement have neither been sought nor appear to have been wanted.

The exclusion from the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers of the heads of instrumental teaching and the Musicians' Union has fatally undermined its credibility.

Both of these bodies could have provided specialist advice and expertise and would have been given warning of the anger and resentment that would be created by the proposal to sever the link between classroom teachers' salaries and instructors' salaries. It is this issue which is at the centre of the debate.

Music instructors view the link as a badge of professionalism that confers status within the teaching profession. Breaking the link would downgrade the instrumental teaching service in Scotland and would have the effect of discouraging many talented instructors from remaining.

I urge the management, through the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, to consult with those instructors who have so far been denied any opportunity to contribute to the debate on their future. To proceed with the proposals on their present narrow base of support is clearly unsustainable.

Alastair Orr

Mowbrey Court

Wallace Park

Stirling

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