TUITION costs for schools for music lessons could rise by £10 an hour or more following cuts to the Gwent Music Support Service.
That’s according to Bob Poole, cabinet member for education and young people, who told an opposition councillor the service could face redundancies.
Newport council is currently consulting on axing its £292,000 funding for the service.
Tory councillor David Fouweather speculated that some pupils would no longer be able to afford to carry on with their music lessons as a result.
In a response to questions from Cllr Fouweather, Cllr Poole said schools within each local authority buy in tuition, with parents asked to pay varying amounts as a contribution.
Cllr Poole said the tuition rate charged to schools is likely to increase in the next financial year, and until the full budget picture is confirmed then a definite rate cannot be quoted.
But he added: “Considered scenarios project rates for standard tuition could increase from the current rate of £29.75p/h to upwards of £40p/h.”
How much of that tuition rate is passed to parents varies from school to school – with some offering free tuition and others charging fees of up to £80 a term, while a typical session is attended by up to four pupils.
Asked how many GMSS staff may lose their jobs, Cllr Poole added: “While redundancy options are likely to need consideration there are restructure, redeployment and reduction in contractual hours options that will need to be costed out.”
Cllr Fouweather said: “The response is very worrying. It is likely that a good number of children will no longer be able to afford to carry on with their music lessons as the hourly charge could be as much as £40.
“It may well be the case that GMSS will stop supplying tuition in Newport and only children whose parents can afford private lessons will have the privilege.”
Newport council wants GMSS to become self-sufficient, and has proposed to find ways in which financial support can be offered to less well-off students.
The total budget for GMSS for 2012/2013 was £938,000, with the rest of the cash coming from Torfaen and Monmouthshire councils and some Blaenau Gwent schools.