Historically, the majority of music services in Wales relied on Local Authority funding to provide subsidised musical instrument tuition in schools. However, following a £1.2 billion Welsh Block Grant reduction in 2010, Local Authority reforms have resulted in a substantial reduction to music service funding provision. Subsequently, costs have increasingly being placed on parents, with tuition fees being widely introduced since 2011. High deprivation levels across Wales means that many families are unable to afford such tuition fees, with children subsequently unable to experience the widely acknowledged educational benefits of instrumental tuition. Furthermore, Welsh Government reports have noted that action is required to ensure that learning musical instruments does not become solely available to those of a social class who can afford to pay for lessons, and that Welsh culture does not suffer as a result.
As empirical research into the effects of these funding reforms is sparse, my project will aim to:
- Investigate the extent of the changes in the music service funding structure across Wales;
- Gauge the degree to which children from socioeconomically deprived families are currently able (or unable) to access music service tuition;
- Explore policy initiatives that could be implemented to ensure equitable access to music education for all socio-demographic groups.