The Education, Sport and Culture Minister has today lodged a report and proposition seeking States approval for the introduction of charges for the Jersey Music Service.
States Members previously approved Comprehensive Savings Review proposals that included a reduction in the budget of the Jersey Music Service and the introduction of charges for the extra-curricular music lessons it provides.
The proposal has had to come to the Assembly a second time because of a ruling that separate States approval is required for any new ‘user pays’ charge.
The proposed scheme would bring Jersey in line with similar music services in England, where charges were introduced more than a decade ago.
“Although this is a highly valued service, it is not part of the school curriculum. That means it is not a core service and, in line with the CSR guidelines, it was one of the areas where savings had to be considered,” said Deputy Patrick Ryan. “We have worked hard to keep the fee levels as low as possible and have built in reductions for siblings, for talented musicians and for children from families that receive Income Support.
“This proposal has actually provided the impetus for us to review and refresh the Jersey Music Service. At the moment the JMS is limited in what it can do because it operates under a fixed budget. The ability to charge fees will provide much greater flexibility and opportunities for it to offer a wider range of instruments to a broader range of children in Jersey. If there is demand, the service can ‘buy in’ additional tutors and the fees will cover the costs,” Deputy Ryan added.
Charges for the existing lessons will not begin until September 2014 and costs per pupil will be approximately £55 per term. Charges for new instruments could start in September 2013 if the States agree.
“We know from services in the UK that, even when these changes have taken place, parents continue to value extra music tuition provided by specialist teams such as the JMS. The service here is highly regarded and I believe parents will continue to value the opportunities it gives their children,” Deputy Ryan added.