Mogwai star Stuart Braithwaite has backed a call by Scottish Labour leadership hopeful Monica Lennon for free music lessons in all of Scotland’s schools.
Ms Lennon has pledged to make free universal music tuition in state schools a key manifesto pledge if she is elected to lead the party.
She insists learning an instrument should be a “core element of the curriculum” and that it is wrong charges imposed by councils mean some children miss out on music tuition.
Backing her call, Braithwaite said: “It’s terrible that children are being excluded from music lessons because of lack of finance.
“Music should be available to all no matter what their background.”
Ms Lennon, who is up against fellow MSP Anas Sarwar in the contest to succeed Richard Leonard as party leader, argues abolishing charges linked to school music lessons would complement wider
measures to tackle the attainment gap and curb the rising cost of the school day.
Holyrood’s Education Committee has already called for universal free music tuition to be introduced in Scotland’s schools, with a report in 2019 highlighting youngsters in some local authority areas can be charged as much as £524 a year for these classes, while they are free in other areas.
Ms Lennon, a Central Scotland MSP, said: “It’s wrong that children in Scotland are missing out on a full music education experience in our state schools because of instrumental tuition charges. Instrumental music tuition should be treated as a core element of the curriculum.
“A recovery from Covid must tackle the inequalities that existed in our classrooms before the pandemic.
“Music education can benefit attainment, mental health and well-being. The opportunity to learn an instrument and be in a school band should be open to every child in Scotland.
“It’s wrong that these opportunities are being taken away from young people due to their family income.
“I’m delighted to have Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai add his voice to the campaign for free music tuition in our state schools.”
Voting is currently taking place in the Scottish Labour leadership contest, with the winner due to be announced on February 27.