In a workstream meeting on 3 April, councillors were given an update on the work to develop new ways of providing a music service in Ceredigion.
Councillors were told that the Ceredigion Music Service currently spends £65 per pupil, which is the highest spend of any council in Wales. It is almost three times higher than the next highest spending council, which spends £22 per pupil.
Under the new structure, the Music Service will still be the best funded in Wales. Despite a 32.4% reduction, the budget will still be more than double the amount that the second highest spending council pays per pupil.
The new service plan will offer a standard cost for instrument and vocal provision, to include lessons, ensembles, orchestras and choirs. This ensures fairness for families across the county. The current models allows schools to charge different amounts, with some schools not charging at all, and the highest charging £175 per year. The new model would allow the Music Service to retain all of the income generated from charging for provision.
Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said “We are proud of the long and successful history of the Ceredigion Music Service and want to see it flourish in the future. We want to change the way the service works to give a fairer service to our pupils. The new plans give a minimum guarantee on lesson length, which isn’t the case under the current model.”
With the huge cuts to council budgets, it’s inevitable that we will need to make further savings in every council service, including the Music Service. We want to do this in a way that uses our budgets effectively and to carry on providing a music service we can all be proud of.”
“Unfortunately, false information has been spread online which has misled many concerned residents. I’m glad that councillors have had a chance to understand the true facts of the situation.”
The workstream was an opportunity to explain to councillors why information that has been shared on social media is incorrect. The figure of 68% savings that has been used on social media is incorrect as it only considers the overall reduction in core funding, without including any income from the music lessons. It is incorrect to suggest that the council has at any point considered overall savings of 68%.
The new proposals for the Music Service will be discussed further in the Learning Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 9 May. This meeting is open to the public.