Social Sciences student helps secure free music tuition as part of Scottish Youth Parliament campaign 

Thu, 19 Aug 2021 16:19:00 BST
(Pictured Left to Right) MYSP Alice Ferguson & MYSP Catherine Jean Mackie
(Pictured Left to Right) MYSP Alice Ferguson & MYSP Catherine Jean Mackie

A Social Sciences student has successfully campaigned alongside the Scottish Youth Parliament to secure free music tuition for secondary schools.  

Third year Social Sciences student Catherine Jean Mackie has been working as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP) since 2017, and music tuition has been an area close to her heart.  

Catherine spoke to officials in the Scottish Parliament and had the opportunity to represent the voices of young people all over Scotland. She said: “SYP first passed policy calling for free music tuition in secondary schools back in 2015, and more recently, Alice Ferguson, a former MSYP, campaigned locally to scrap music tuition fees in West Lothian.   
I've been a member of the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee (ELL) since I was first elected, and because ELL has done work before to oppose music tuition charges, I got to speak alongside Alice to the Scottish Parliament Education and Skills Committee about why music tuition charges should be scrapped.  
It was a bit nerve-wracking to be questioned by so many notable MSPs, including Clare Adamson MSP and Johann Lamont MSP, but it was amazing to get to be able to represent young people on why music tuition fees should be scrapped.”  
Being a young musician herself, Catherine personally understands the importance of free music tuition in schools. She said: “The campaign means a lot to me on both a general and a personal note.   
On a general note, it means a lot because no young person should ever be deterred from learning how to play an instrument because of financial barriers. The benefits of learning an instrument are fantastic, such as improving academic abilities, giving pupils different opportunities to play in orchestras/string groups etc, developing children's social skills and more. No young person should ever need to worry about the cost of music tuition just to reap the benefits of learning a musical instrument.   
On a more person level, the campaign means a lot to me because I benefitted from learning how to play two instruments whilst at school and I benefitted from the opportunities that came with learning the violin and saxophone. For example, I was able to play in the school orchestra, string group, make friends through these, and get the chance to sit National 5, Higher Music and graded ABRSM and Trinity College exams in both instruments. The campaign was very important to me because I want every young person to be able to enjoy the benefits of learning how to play an instrument, regardless of financial circumstances.”  
After working tirelessly on the campaign, Catherine was ecstatic to be told the news that the Scottish Parliament have granted more funding for music tuition to councils in Scotland. She said: “I’m delighted! I feel so pleased knowing that the ongoing campaigning SYP has done and the evidence Alice and I presented to the Scottish Parliament Education and Skills Committee has been taken on board.  

It’s great knowing that more young people might consider learning how to play an instrument because they won't need to worry about how their family might pay for tuition.”  

Find out more about the Scottish Youth Parliament on their website 


 By Rachael McAlonan 

Got a SCEBE or GSBS story? Email me at or connect with me on social media