During a debate held by Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee, I was able to highlight the importance of supporting instrumental music tuition, arguing the case for free tuition for young people in Scotland’s schools.

As a former music tutor, member of the Musician’s Union and the founder and convener of the CPG on Music, I see instrumental music tuition as part of music education and indeed as part of the core curriculum.

It is reassuring that the SNP-led Council is demonstrating that delivering instrumental music services without charge is an achievable goal by making the commitment to maintain free music tuition in local schools for the next four years, supported by a £500,000 investment announced in their 2019/20 budget.

I hope that other local authorities will look to and engage with the example set by Renfrewshire Council, in the hope of understanding how services in the area have been successfully delivered without charge.

I also took part in my colleague Bruce Crawford MSP’s debate on Scottish Gigabit Cities.

Infrastructure development in Scottish Gigabit cities will support future 5G connectivity, help households unlock the benefits of smart technology, spark economic growth by opening up business opportunities and make them among the best-connected places in Europe.

However, when we discuss the fourth industrial revolution and 5G, it is incredibly important that mention not only the benefits and the transformative effects, but also potential abuse of the system.

I had a productive discussion with Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP during Finance and Constitution Committee on earnings, including the future of work.

The Climate Emergency is the biggest challenge facing our generation however it also presents an opportunity for Scotland to lead in the creation of highly paid, green jobs.

After that busy meeting, I took the opportunity to visit Poppyscotland’s exhibition at the Scottish Parliament and to hear about all the vital work they do to support the Armed Forces community.

Poppyscotland is best known for running the iconic Scottish Poppy Appeal, but the charity works all year round to help those who have served, those still serving and their families receive the care and support they urgently need.

Meeting with Poppyscotland representatives

Locally, I had a very interesting visit to the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre, dedicated to preserving Scotland’s Jewish heritage, to hear about plans for a Scottish Jewish Heritage Centre supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

At the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre

Three new Bills were passed in the Scottish Parliament in the space of just one week.

On Thursday afternoon, the Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill was passed. The Bill aims to minimise distress and improve the quality of evidence given, by allowing evidence from children involved in the most serious cases to be recorded ahead of trial.

The Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Bill confirmed the decriminalisation of primary school-aged children, while the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill enables safe and high quality care and improved outcomes for health and care service users.

These recent developments show the SNP Government’s commitment to making tangible progress on matters that have a real impact on lives across Scotland.

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