#ChangeTheTune campaign takes first step in legal challenge

The #ChangeTheTune campaign has taken the first step in formally challenging the legality of charging fees for instrumental tuition in schools.

Making Music is supporting lawyer and community musician Ralph Riddough’s campaign, to clarify the lawfulness of fees for musical instrument tuition in Scottish state schools.

As a person with interest, Ralph Riddiough has lodged a formal complaint with the Scottish Government under the 1980 Education Scotland Act. A spokesman for the Scottish Government confirmed that Mr Riddiough’s section 70 complaint has been received and that ministers will, 'consider it in accordance with the relevant procedure'. The Government has until January 2020 to issue its response.

Ralph believes that, by charging for music tuition in schools, not only are children being priced out of an aspect of their education, but that councils are inadvertently breaking Scottish law which states that no fees should be charged for education.

As Ralph explains:

“Section 3 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 states that local authorities shall not charge fees for the provision of education. It is my belief that Instrumental Music Services (IMSs) which teach children to play musical instruments within a school setting, are indeed education, a view which was confirmed by the report of the Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills Committee issued in January 2019. As such, I am seeking to clarify, through the courts, that it is unlawful for local authorities to charge fees for the provision of this music education.” 

Read more in The Herald and find out more about our support of the campaign.