Cardiff Council today moved to calm fears over proposed changes to the way it funds children’s music services, stressing that it is not cutting the Music Development Fund, and that the impact of increased tuition fees may not affect all parents.
The council’s draft budget for 2013/2014 says that the Labour-run authority plans to stop the Music Development Fund (MDF) in an effort to save £174,000 a year.
But the council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Julia Magill, explained today that although the council’s central education service will stop funding the MDF, the £174,000 will instead be provided in schools’ delegated budgets.
She said: “There’s no reduction in the budget – it will just be located in a different place. This has been agreed by head teachers.”
Coun Magill also addressed fears about increases to the fees charged by the Cardiff County and Vale of Glamorgan Music Service. Budget documents state that the service’s fees will increase by 11% to cover an annual council subsidy of £151,000, but some parents have raised concerns that the increase would need to be 16% or even 20% to cover the shortfall.
However, Coun Magill said: “I have asked the council’s chief executive and officers in finance to go back over the figures and check that the 11% figure is correct, and I have been assured that it is.”
She also said that the increased fees would not necessarily affect all parents in the same way, as it is up to individual schools how much they subsidise music lessons.
The School Bursary Fund – which provides a total of £120,000 for children in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, with £80,000 going to children in Cardiff – will also continue to be funded in the city, Coun Magill said.