TUC hears music cash plea

18th September 1998 at 01:00
An impassioned plea for more investment in music and the arts in Scottish schools was made at the TUC conference in Blackpool by a principal music teacher, writes Neil Munro.

Pam Viney, a member of the Educational Institute of Scotland delegation, said music education was being attacked as a soft target as a result of council underfunding. Instrumental tuition now barely existed in many areas and had been replaced by "the insidious practice of instrumental tuition fees".

Ms Viney, who is on secondment from her post at Wallace High in Stirling, continued: "These are the depths to which we have sunk from being world leaders in producing internationally famous musicians such as Evelyn Glennie, Sir Alexander Gibson and James McMillan." Ms Viney added: "Zoltan Kodaly will be turning in his grave." The Hungarian composer persuaded his Government that the more a child participated in music-making, "the better he or she would progress in all areas".

The EIS is concerned about the dangers posed to the expressive arts by the heavy emphasis now being placed on the basic skills. It fears this, combined with the pressures on delegated school budgets, could put specialist teaching at risk.

The union is seeking the views of directors of education and the parent bodies before deciding whether to mount a campaign.

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