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Blunder over instrument lesson charges

The Department of Education and Children appears to have jumped the gun in charging parents for their children's musical instrument lessons at Island schools.

The Music Service wrote to parents in the summer explaining the lessons - until now offered free of charge - would be charged for from September.

The department said the move was a cost-cutting measure to meet a reduced budget.

However formal changes to departmental regulations have to be agreed first by Tynwald.

The letters seeking payment were sent out before formalities were complete and cheques have now been returned to parents with a letter of apology.

It's unclear how many children ceased lessons as a result of the charge. Anecdotal reports suggest numbers taking musical instrument lessons in primnary schools have dropped dramatically since September, with many parents unwilling to pay in the region of £50 per term on top of the instrument hire charge.

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