Music tuition in schools


About the Inquiry


The Education and Skills Committee agreed to carry out an inquiry into music tuition in schools. It wanted to find out the extent to which charging for instrumental music tuition as part of the school curriculum acts as a barrier to participation by pupils, particularly those from low income households. This inquiry follows some correspondence on this topic, which can be read on the correspondence section of the Committee website.       

The Committee took oral evidence on Wednesdays in November and December 2018.


The Committee heard evidence on this inquiry at its meetings on Wednesday 7, 14 and 21 November and Wednesday 5 December.


The Committee welcomed any written views on this subject by Thursday 1 November. The following information was provided for those wishing to provide written views:

Should you wish to write to the Committee with your views, please use the below template to format your submission. This includes the Data Protection Form. Fill this out and return it with your submission to [email protected].

Submission form

For anyone under 13 years of age, we will need to ask a parent or guardian to confirm to us that they are happy for the young person to send us their views. We have published a specific privacy notice for young people. In this case please contact the Committee clerks, using the contact details above, who will provide the necessary form.

To find out how the Scottish Parliament treats your personal data please read the Privacy Notice for written submissions.

More about what the Committee does, and why, is available here.

And here is the link to our full guide on how to submit information to the Committee.

If you have any questions about this work, please contact the clerks on 0131 348 5204.

If you would like to comment further, please email the Committee on [email protected]

If you prefer, you could send a letter to:

Education and Skills Committee
Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

If you find it easier to communicate in a language other than English, that's fine. We welcome written evidence in any language. We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service or in BSL through

If you would like to receive this document in Braille, or British Sign Language, please contact us and let us know.

7 November 2018 

The Committee heard evidence from young people on 7 November 2018.  

View the video of the meeting here.

14 November 2018

The Committee heard evidence from practitioners on 14 November 2018.

View the video of the meeting here

21 November 2018

The Committee heard evidence from representatives from local authorities on 21 November 2018.

5 December 2018

The Committee heard evidence from the Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills on 5 December 2018.


The Committee received the following submissions in respect of the music tuition in schools inquiry:



Parents/ Individuals

The Committee held three focus groups with young people, practitioners and students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The notes from these groups follow.

Visits and Events

On 9 November 2018, Committee Convener Clare Adamson MSP and Gordon MacDonald MSP visited Coatbridge High School to speak with officials from North Lanarkshire Council and speak to pupils taking part in instrumental music tuition. A note of this visit follows. 


The previous correspondence received on this topic, including notes of a meeting related to music tuition in schools, is below

Councillor Stephen McCabe, the spokesperson for COSLA Children and Young People wrote to the Convener regarding the invite to give evidence on the 5 December in respect of the Music tuition in schools inquiry.

The Convener wrote to COSLA in respect of attending the Committee meeting on the 5 December 2018. 

The Convener wrote to COSLA in respect of issues raised during the evidence sessions on the inquiry. 

COSLA reponded to the Conveners letters of the 8 November 2018 and 20 November 2018. 

The Convener wrote to the Leader of Midlothian Council in respect of issues raised during the evidence sessions. 

The Convener received a letter from the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland regarding the 14 November evidence session.

The Committee received a research paper, provided by the Music Education Partnership Group, on access to vocal and instrumental music tuition.

Work by other Committees

The Public Petition Committee has referred public petition PE1694 on the 26 November 2018 on Free Instrumental Music Services to the Education and Skills Committee.

  • Read the referral memo here.

Here is a link to the petition page and the submissions received by the Public Petition Committee. 

At its meeting on 23 January 2019, the Committee agreed to keep the petition open pending responses to its report on instrumental music tuition in schools.


The Committee's report was published on 22 January 2019. The report can be read in the Committee reports digital hub as well as via the link below the video.

The report was launched in Parliament with the help of Catherine Mackie MSYP, who gave evidence to the Committee alongside Alice Ferguson MSYP at the start of the inquiry.


The Committee receibed responses to its report from the Scottish Government and COSLA these responses are noted below

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