Emails sent to parents by some Ceredigion schools have confirmed fears that there could be big bills to pay to keep any kind of music service in the county following the county council’s proposed cuts.
Cambrian News reported “Parents at one primary school, Ysgol Comins Coch, have received an email asking them if they would be willing to pay £225 per pupil for music lessons from September.
This is a major increase from current ‘top-up’ fees, which vary from school to school, up to around £150.
The email contained few details on how the lessons would be delivered, whether in school, as at present, or whether parents would have to take children to regional ‘hubs’ during evenings.
Comins Coch parent Jamie Medhurst expressed alarm at the news, saying: “The school is just the messenger obviously, but it’s very worrying that the cost of music lessons for my child might more than double, with no explanation of why.
“It seems that no increase in the amount of contact time is proposed, with lessons still to be 15 minutes long. Many parents are already very concerned that their children won’t be able to continue having lessons.”
Nia Peris, a spokesperson for the Friends of Ceredigion Young Musicians, who have started a petition against the proposed cuts, said: “This is exactly the kind of consequence we warned of when we first heard of plans to cut the core music service budget by 68 per cent.”
“Such a rise in fees would also risk undermining the choirs, bands and orchestras which are absolutely vital to the opportunities that youngsters have from music.
“In recent years as cuts have been made, parents have faced ‘top-up’ fees for lessons, in addition to other costs such as instrument insurance and residential courses and transport.”
“It would be a disaster if music just became the preserve of those who could afford increased fees for lessons,” she added.
“It’s fundamentally unfair and elitist” here.