Ayrshire MSP Sharon Dowey has said that the SNP have ‘turned their back’ on music students as the number of music students falls in East Ayrshire.
This comes after an Instrumental Music Services report revealed that the number of instrumental music pupils has fallen from 1242 in 2016/17 to just 738 in 2020/21. This represents a 40.5% decrease.
According to the Instrumental Music Services, this decrease is related to the impact of COVID-19. Alongside this, it has been noted that due to a decrease in instructors, there is less capacity to deliver lessons to all interested pupils.
Commenting, Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Sharon Dowey said:
“While the SNP’s own Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has said that all children should be able to take part in music tuition, it’s worrying to see such a sharp decline in student numbers over the last few years.
“When I confront the Scottish Government with these figures, I have no doubts that COVID-19 will be used as an excuse for such a sharp decline. This excuse isn’t going to wash though, as the number of music students in East Ayrshire has been falling since 2017, long before the pandemic began.
“It’s quite interesting that at the same time the SNP pledge to offer free music tuition, the number of music students drops drastically. It’s no wonder that there’s been a drop in the number of music students when the SNP won’t fork out the cash to pay instructors to teach them.
“How are we supposed to train future musical talent if this decline continues? It’s high time that the SNP stop turning their back on music students and get the figures back up to levels they were at in 2016.”