Report sounds a sour note;Music for the Millennium

5th February 1999 at 00:00
One in five schools is too poor to spend money on musical instrument tuition from its local music service, a survey by the Performing Rights Society has found.

Cash-strapped schools are opting to spend their delegated budgets on other resources or repairs. This, coupled with cuts in local authority spending, has meant a pound;100-million loss to music services over the past decade. The Government hopes to reverse this trend with last week's pound;180-million package for music in schools.

Results of the survey of schools and LEAs, carried out by MORI last autumn, were compared with a similar exercise in 1993.

The survey, published today, found that schools made less use of music services and they were not as readily available now, although in some areas they were flourishing.

It also found that there are now more opportunities for individual tuition in some more privileged boroughs and a broader range of instruments on offer, although demand for tuition still exceeded supply. Only 27 per cent of schools expressed satisfaction.

Music services had increased productivity by cutting the number of full-time teachers in favour of more part-time staff; by teachers working longer hours with more pupils in a group; and by reducing travel rates.

Three times as many parents of primary children, and twice as many parents of secondary pupils were paying for music tuition than in 1993.

Fee remission depended on area. Poorer pupils in a secondary school in an eastern LEA had a good chance of getting their fees subsidised, compared with primary children in a London borough. Just over half of authorities had a policy on fee remission.

Andrew Potter, PRS chairman, said he hoped the survey would stimulate some badly needed planning and commitment.

Musical Instrument Tuition in Schools, available from the PRS Corporate Communications Department, 0171 306 4228.

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