A PETITION has been launched against charges for music lessons.

In the budget set out by South Ayrshire Council at the beginning of March included the introduction of new charges for music tuition in schools across the county, which will amount to £200 per school year.

However, the campaign which currently holds over 1200 signatures, is pushing for the council to keep the tuition free of charge.

It reads: “Tuition is currently free and should remain so. “Education in state schools is free in Scotland and all aspects of it must remain so.

“There should be no barriers to education in any schools, and financial barriers in state schools are unacceptable. 

“The instrumental music service in South Ayrshire is an outstanding success.

“Learning a musical instrument boosts educational attainment in other disciplines, improves health, wellbeing and confidence, provides careers for many and is central to our proud cultural heritage.

“South Ayrshire Council should reverse the budget decision to introduce fees for musical instrument tuition.”

A spokesperson for South Ayrshire Council, said: “The budget set by councillors includes the introduction of new charges for instrumental music tuition in schools.

“The new charges will be introduced in August this year and will bring South Ayrshire into line with the majority of other Scottish Councils that charge for this service.

“The charge of £200 per school year – which is lower than the national average– applies to the first child in a family and is reduced or free for additional children.

“Parents and carers have the flexibility to spread the cost over each school term – and pay it up within each term – so it doesn’t have to be paid in one lump sum.

“There are also a number of exemptions where tuition will continue to be provided free of charge. 

“We understand that this is a significant change for parents and carers and would ask anyone with specific queries to contact our Instrumental Music Service.”

If you would like to support the petition, you can find it at www.change.org/p/south-ayrshire-council-musical-instrument-lessons-for-children-in-state-schools-should-be-free-in-south-ayrshire