By Mrs Wendy Goodall
I read your article about music tuition in Scottish schools. Funnily enough, it is our 10-year-old daughter Kirsten Goodall who features in the picture issued about piping-in the haggis this morning (above).
Kirsten is a P6 pupil at Cockenzie Primary School in East Lothian where she is learning to play the pipes in a scheme backed by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust [SSPDT].
I read the Scottish Government’s Education Committee recommendation in the press earlier this week,
Kirsten and her older brother Callum, who is 15, both receive piping tuition through the SSPDT and I could not speak more highly of the hard work and dedication of our kids’ tutors.
Kirsten and Callum both pipe in Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band, the first band set up with the help of the SSPDT and it is now much loved and a big part of our community.
We come under East Lothian Council who only started to charge £280 for music tuition in their schools from August 2018, after much protest from parents.
We have been very lucky, as our kids’ piping tuition is through the SSPDT not the council, so the tuition fees were not enforced; otherwise they would have affected us greatly. But I still feel very strongly against the fees.
There a lot of coverage here when tuition fees were being introduced. There is a Facebook page called East Lothian Ladies and the topic was well discussed there too.
I had shared this week’s article about the recommendation to the East Lothian Ladies page and was shocked when one parent said she had paid for music tuition for two kids and from August 2018 to date they haven’t received a single lesson!
Our local paper reported that there had been a significant drop in kids playing musical instruments in East Lothian, apparently from 1,200 down to only 350.
The council kept extending the deadline for payment, which I thought was an indication of a low uptake.
We are not a particularly musical family and would never have thought in a million years we would have two kids playing at the World Pipe Band Championships.
Of course we are super proud, but they both love playing and put in a lot of practice which is rewarded by the amazing events they get to take part in.
Callum and his pipe band friends are practising hard at the moment, learning a multitude of new tunes so they can play at Music Show Scotland in Rotterdam in March.
As you can imagine, the kids are excited at the prospect of a trip to Rotterdam, but yes, they are learning commitment and dedication through practice to achieve that goal and looking forward to a fun trip at the same time.
Our local paper reported – ‘A report to the council’s cabinet in June had estimated that fees would generate £240,000 – the equivalent of 860 pupils paying the full £280 annual fee for the current session.’
In East Lothian, if only 350 kids have taken up music tuition, I’m sure by the time the admin costs of payment etc. are deducted, there is not much profit for the council.
Keep up the fight against music tuition fees; parents are all backing you!
- The SSPDT is supporting lessons to nearly 3,000 young pipers and drummers across 16 council areas in Scotland and organises the world’s biggest schools pipe band competition that is being held on March 10 this year in Livingston. Preston Lodge PB piping tutor Lee Moore said: ‘There is huge enthusiasm for the pipes and drums and its great to see the SSPDT giving the opportunity to so many young people.’ PL drumming tutor Simon Grant played the role of chef in the picture.