Charging and remissions

Devon & Torbay Music Education Hubs (the Hub) believe all children and young people should have the opportunity to enjoy, achieve and celebrate through music. Learning to play a musical instrument can be expensive, but there is support available for children and young people from low-income backgrounds. The Hub work in partnership with the Virtual Schools for Devon and Torbay to ensure that children in care have access to free music instrument hire, instrumental lessons, and ensemble membership.

Instrumental lessons

While the Hub does not directly provide instrumental or vocal tuition, lessons are available at most schools through Visiting Music Teachers, who are usually self-employed.

Pupil Premium and Pupil Premium Plus funding is made available in English schools to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and to close the gap between them and their peers. If your child is eligible for Pupil Premium or Pupil Premium Plus, it may be possible for this funding to be used to support the cost of lessons – please contact your child’s school for more information.

All local authority-maintained schools and academies with secondary phase pupils are eligible to receive delegated funding from the Hub, which, at the discretion of the school, can be used to subsidise the cost of lessons – please contact your child’s school for more information.

Hiring an instrument

The Hub offers a subsidised instrument hire service for children and young people, competitively priced at £33 per term, with a reduced rate of £11 per term for children and young people eligible for Free School Meals. Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit ‘run-on’ – the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

Alternative rates may apply to siblings or children who participate in a Hub funded ensemble, music centre or county group. Other cases of financial hardship may be considered on a case-by-case bases. Applications can be made online, through the parent portal – please click the following link to apply:

Hire an instrument

Please note: Currently infant children (reception, year 1 and year 2 pupils) are entitled to a Universal Infant Free School Meal – this is not the same as Free School Meals from the Local Authority. You will be billed termly and invoices will not be pro-rated if your instrument is collected or returned part way through a term.

Buying an instrument

Our instrument hire service is aimed mainly at children and young people starting to learn an instrument. As your child makes progress, sooner or later you will need to think about buying them their own instrument. It is a good idea to talk to your child’s teacher about when and how to buy an instrument.

The Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme (AIPS), which is supported by HMRC, enables students to purchase an instrument for educational purposes without paying VAT (Value Added Tax). In order to comply with HMRC regulations, the following criteria must apply:

  • Students must be in full time education at a Local Authority maintained school or college (not an Academy or Independent school)


  • Students must regularly participate in an ensemble, music centre, or county music group supported by Devon & Torbay Music Education Hubs

In many cases, maintained schools and academies are also able to offer this scheme directly.

Please note: It is not possible to use this scheme to purchase second-hand instruments or an instrument that has been hired from the Hub.

Apply for AIPS

Ensembles & Music Centres

Making music in a group is the most effective and enjoyable way to develop your skills as a young musician. The Hub supports a huge range of opportunities to make music in your area or as part of a county group, with free or subsidised place available for children and young people eligible for Free Schools Meals. Please contact your ensemble directly for more information.