School Instrument Loan Scheme

Cambridgeshire Music has a large stock of instruments to support learners. Our schemes to access these are designed to provide low-cost support for encouraging new and continuing learners. We use the resources strategically to support music education development for settings and music practitioners as part of the Music Education Hub’s collaboration programmes.

Our service objectives are to offer a scheme that:
• Enables the equipment stock to be in the hands of students rather than in storage
• Is low cost and encourages continued development through settings and practitioners of more learners
• Keeps the cost of learning low and where possible at no charge for learners and their families
• Reduces overheads for managing and maintaining central stock that is being unused

The scheme can be accessed in the following ways and all loans are subject to available stock:
• Settings can have an agreed stock of instruments to support their existing and future learners
• Individual music teachers registered with the Hub Associate Teacher scheme or working for the service can borrow a stock of instruments for their specialism to support their learners.
• Members of service hub academy programmes at music centres or projects (including the settings development programme) can access instruments for their learning as part of the work.

The change from our individual loan processes will take time to transition. It will reduce the number of individual loans to students and families from previous schemes. For those currently accessing resources in this way, the continued use of instruments will be transitioned over time into one of the above schemes.

How the schemes work in summary (Terms and Conditions below)
• All instruments loaned remain the property of Cambridgeshire County Council managed by Cambridgeshire Music.

• Borrowers are responsible for the maintenance and repair of any equipment loaned – a list of approved repairers will be provided and the process for managing maintenance is set out below.

• Instruments that are deemed to have been damaged due to negligence or mistreatment will be the responsibility of the borrower to replace with an instrument of a similar quality, approved by the service.

• Instruments that have reached their “end of life” and are no longer useable or justifiable for repair will be notified by approved repairers and returned to the service for disposal.

• For loans requested under the new scheme, there will be a one-off charge to settings and practitioners for the period of loan to cover the preparation, set up and distribution of each (set of) instrument(s) provided. There are no further charges during the loan period. For our centre based and ensemble access work, the loan of the instrument to the student is included in the programmes. There are therefore no charges to the student for use of the provided instrument. During the transition period, existing loan charges will apply if not yet transitioned to one of the above schemes.

• As the cost of borrowing is very low (particularly if sets of instruments are borrowed beyond the initial year) borrowers agree to be responsible for new loan charges, any maintenance and repair costs themselves and not pass these on to end users. It is anticipated that practitioners with private practice will be able to off-set borrowing and maintenance costs in their business costs against tax. We will continue to maintain any directly loaned instruments through our employed staff or own programmes at centres and during transition. We may, if there is demand, provide an optional charged maintenance option within the scheme to help settings manage stock.

Requests can be made during the summer term annually for new loans of sets to settings and practitioners, subject to available stock through a request form (See download below).

For learners in settings currently making use of instruments, these instruments can (with setting agreement) be transitioned into the borrowed inventory by the setting with no set up charge and will become part of the settings inventory. We will endeavour to inform all settings of current usage by students by September annually.

When students change settings, the instrument should be retained by the previous setting unless agreement to reassign to the new setting has been confirmed by the new setting and the service. Unless the inventory is updated for both settings, the original setting will remain responsible for the instrument and its return. This will be reviewed annually in the summer term but mid-year moves can be discussed via the business team (

Initial loans will be for a minimum of 11 months from September to July. The service will issue a loan contract and inventory of instruments loaned to the borrower and record this. Once contracts are returned and payment completed of any charges due, instruments will be delivered to the agreed location. The loan and borrower responsibilities will begin from that point until the end of the following July. It is anticipated that most borrowing will be agreed each summer for the following year, however ad hoc additions to inventory can be requested subject to availability (with a charge) if needed mid-year.

In April annually, borrowers will be contacted to discuss provision for the following academic year. There will be four elements to review and borrowers must advise on these by the end of May annually otherwise stock will be reallocated for the following academic year and will need to be returned in July:
• Requests for new provision, the one-off charge will apply if the stock is available from the following academic year. This will be confirmed in June once any returns are known.

• Continued use of existing borrowed instruments for a further period (a minimum of 12 months from Aug-July). No further charge will apply for this and instruments can be retained from the end of July for further work by students over the summer.

• Return of instruments no longer required or deemed unviable to repair by the service/repairers to the service.

• School transitions – where pupils are changing settings and wish to retain their instrument in the new setting. The service will notify the new setting and if transfer is agreed, update the inventory and inform both settings.

Stock held by a setting must not be transferred to another setting without agreement from the service. The exception to this will be where schemes are centrally operated by academy trusts as a provision across all their settings as the trust will be responsible for tracking their location.

Charges (as of Sept 2022 and updated annually)
Our charges are raised to ensure we can maintain an instrument prior to loan to be used and the cost of distribution.

We do not under the scheme make a regular charge for loan in the same way as instrument suppliers or offer hire and buy schemes as the borrower takes responsibility for maintenance, usage and replacement when appropriate.

As such we do not distinguish between the value of instruments due to their complexity or original purchase price, other than in the inventory value provided to settings. We do this to encourage settings to support the playing of more complex and valuable instruments so that a wide range of studies can take place with no financial barriers that might mean some instruments are chosen instead of others. Settings and practitioners will know and understand the expectation to ensure that pupils and families understand the value of instruments and the need to treat them with appropriate care.

Settings and practitioners scheme per period (period is from start of loan in September or mid year up to the end of July annually – the charge remains the same as it is for set up and distribution cost only)

Single instrument loan to setting or practitioner – £66 per period. (Maximum monthly cost for single year loan of £6 month)

Up to 5 instruments – £165 per period (Maximum monthly cost for single year loan of £3 per month per instrument)

Up to 15 instruments – £330 per period (Maximum monthly cost for single year loan of £2 per month.

Up to 35 instruments – £385 (Maximum monthly cost for single year loan of £1 per month per instrument)

More than 35 instruments can be considered as multiples of the 35-instrument set and can be “topped up” if further development is being considered or at the smaller set rates above.

The inventory value will be recalculated annually on a decreasing value basis of depreciation so that any insurance information needed by borrowers can be put in place.

If provided as a service, the service will calculate an annual charge for the protection against costs of accidental (not negligent) damage based initially on a 10% of the value of the inventory loaned.
This will mean that the service will cover the costs of minor repairs or accidental damage as indicated in the terms and conditions; the borrower will remain responsible for minor adjustments not due to accident or negligence and incidental costs. Under this scheme, repairers can invoice agreed repairs direct to the service. This service is offered at our discretion only.

Charges will be invoiced once contracts are confirmed through the settings or academy account with the service and are payable within 30 days. Delivery will not take place until payment is received.

Linked Services
The instrument loan scheme is also relevant to the following change programmes:
• Settings development programme: where the hub is developing 2 year programmes of development with settings, instrument provision where available may be included if relevant for the objectives that are being supported as part of the support package. If included, the charges will form part of the agreed development and an inventory produced for the setting.

• Associate Teacher programme: as well as established practitioners who want to access our support schemes, the programme will be encouraging new entrants to the profession using a start-up version of the scheme to establish practice subject to available stock.

• Music Academy: students joining our central learning programmes at our centres will be able to benefit from the loan of instruments at Stages 1 and 2 and specialist instruments at advanced levels.

Get in touch

If you are interested in loaning instruments with us, please send an initial email to with your request.