HOLYROOD’s Education Committee has been urged to launch a probe into how easy it is for pupils in Scotland’s schools to access musical instrument tuition.

The committee, led by the SNP’s James Dornan was supposed to spend most of the autumn examining John Swinney’s Education Bill, but the Scottish Government have shelved plans to introduce the new legislation.

In a letter to Dornan, Tory MSP Liz Smith said this means there’s now space to take evidence on music tuition.

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Smith said that far too many pupils were being “excluded from accessing music tuition mainly because of cutbacks within local authorities”.

She added: “From recently published EIS statistics and the data collected by councils, it is very clear that there are huge variations in fees, what the exemptions are and what instrumental teaching is on offer.

“There is agreement across the political spectrum that something needs to be done. I believe there is the perfect opportunity to do so as soon as Parliament returns from recess.”

The most recent national Instrumental Music Survey showed charges varied between local authorities. While tuition was free in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Renfrewshire, and six other authorities, budding musicians were being charged up to £378 a year per pupil in Moray.

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A government spokesman said: “Local authorities are directly responsible for spending on music tuition in schools. Overall funding to councils is increasing in real terms, despite continued UK Government cuts to Scotland’s resource budget.

“While respecting the autonomy of local councils, Scottish ministers have committed to working in collaboration with partners to find solutions that help ensure instrumental music remains accessible to all.”