TALKS are to be held between the Scottish Government, councils and campaigners over the future of music tuition in schools.

John Swinney, the Education Secretary, has agreed to discuss the future of the service with local authorities and members of the Music Education Partnership Group.

The move comes amidst growing concern over the future of music tuition in schools with budget cuts leading to spiralling charges and threats to axe parts of the service.

Read more: School music tuition facing 'extinction'

Ten councils already charge for tuition with fees ranging from a few pounds a week to more than £500 a year in Clackmannanshire. Other councils such as Glasgow do not charge for tuition.

Campaigners want to see a return to free tuition across the country, but current estimates suggest this could cost as much as £30 million. Other options include a cap on fees charge to parents.

Read more: Parents facing fees of £350 for music tuition

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Music tuition is of enormous benefit to young people and the Scottish Government is actively providing leadership to encourage participation in music.

“Local authorities are directly responsible for spending on music tuition in schools. Overall funding to councils is increasing in real terms, despite continued UK Government cuts to Scotland’s resource budget.

“While respecting the autonomy of local councils, Scottish ministers have committed to working in collaboration with partners to find solutions that help ensure instrumental music remains accessible to all.”

The country's largest teaching union will also call for music tuition to be protected at its annual general meeting in Dundee next week.

Read more: Composers back free music tuition in schools

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has repeatedly raised concerns over an emerging "postcode lottery" of provision following what it described as "catastrophic cuts" to teaching staff and "outrageous" lesson fees for some pupils.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said: "We have argued over many years, and never more so than in recent months, that Scotland's instrumental music services are both highly valuable and hugely under-invested.

"Our position is that the cuts that have been imposed on these services during a period of austerity budgeting, and the increase in charges levied to families for music tuition, have contributed to a significant erosion of music in schools and place them at risk of extinction."