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Scotland Relaxes Some Restrictions on Wind, Brass and Singing in Schools

We are pleased that new guidance from Education Scotland relaxes some of the restrictions that have held back access to singing and lessons on brass and wind instruments in schools in Scotland.

Published: 20 May 2021 | 4:34 PM
In this photograph musician holds up a small brass instrument, in the background blurred are other uniformed musicians with brass instruments in what appears to be a band setting.
At level 1 (most islands) and level 2 (most of mainland Scotland), singing, wind and brass are now permitted indoors, but with restrictions.

Education Scotland, a Scottish Government executive agency, has published new guidance that relaxes the ban on singing, wind and brass in schools in Scotland – although recommendations vary at each Covid protection level, and some activities remain prohibited.

At level 1 (most islands) and level 2 (most of mainland Scotland), singing, wind and brass are now permitted indoors, but with restrictions. At level 1, group activities can take place at primary level, but at secondary level indoor activity must be limited to one-to-one lessons. At level 2, all activity must be limited to one-to-one lessons, both at primary and secondary level.

At level 3 (Glasgow City and Moray local council areas) wind and brass are not recommended at all. Singing is permitted indoors or outdoors up to Primary 3 only.

Appropriate mitigations are still necessary

Exceptions to the above can be made where students are preparing for assessments. “Low risk” instruments (e.g. strings, percussion and keyboards) are still permitted indoors in groups at all levels.

Education Scotland advises that where possible, aerosol-generating activities should be conducted outdoors or in large, ventilated spaces that enable physical distancing, particularly in secondary schools. Teaching remains subject to risk assessment and appropriate mitigations at all levels.

We hope to see remaining restrictions relaxed soon

Chris Walters, MU National Organiser for Education, said: “We are pleased to see a relaxation of some of the restrictions that have put Scotland behind other the nations of the UK in terms of access to singing and lessons on brass and wind instruments in schools.

“However, we are concerned that singing groups and small-group tuition on wind and brass are still not allowed indoors in most schools in Scotland. We hope to see the remaining restrictions relaxed soon.”

Education Scotland has responded to the MU that its approach is based on science.

Guidance for private teachers in Scotland has not changed. Read the MU’s guidance for teaching in all four nations of the UK.

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