CUTS to Ceredigion’s music service will see a budget reduction of more than 30 per cent but “will still be the best funded in Wales.”

Some councillors and members of the public are strongly opposed to the proposals with a petition calling for the cuts to be stopped signed by more than 3,000 people received by cabinet.

There is also the potential loss of two jobs.

Members of the council’s learning communities scrutiny committee will discuss a report of the standards and schools work-stream at its meeting on Thursday, May 9.

The feedback from this meeting held to discuss changes to the peripatetic music service states that the budget will remain more than double that of the second highest spending council.

Currently around £65 per pupil is spent by the music service (if including all pupils in the county) with some schools not charging for lessons, instruments, ensembles, orchestras, choirs or training and others charging as much as £175.

The budget of 2018-19 was £495,000 with a Welsh Government grant of £32,000.

Currently 1,200 pupils access extra-curricula music provision at a cost of £439 per head.

But the service faces a 32.4 per cent cut and the introduction of standard charges as well as retaining income generated.

The new service would see a standard charge of £140 but pupils receiving free school meals or studying music GCSE or A Level will not be charged.

It will ensure a at least a 15-minute lesson for 35 weeks of the year, a report to next week’s meeting states.

It adds that the current 9.98 members of staff will be reduced by 1.98 but if more pupils take up the provision extra teachers will be required.

Income generated is estimated to be around £70,000 if 500 pupils take part – in addition to £223,500 of core budget funding – increasing to as much as £168,000 if 1,200 pupils sign up.

Instruments on offer will remain the same, including voice, strings, woodwind, brass, harp and percussion as well as the addition of piano and ukulele, with the chance to take exams.

Collective musical experiences included in the annual charge would be primary ensembles for north, mid and south Ceredigion, youth band, county orchestra, county wind band, harp course, intermediate choir and Corissimo and primary proms.

 
 

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