Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme

Find out who's eligible to buy musical instruments through the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme and where to collect ordered instruments.

Pupils can buy new instruments VAT free or at an educational discount.

Follow the steps below to order an musical instrument.

Download the Assisted Instrument Purchase leaflet (PDF, 172KB).

Are you eligible?

The conditions of the scheme that you need to meet are:

  1. the instrument must be for the direct use of the pupil and is necessary for delivering their education
  2. the tuition must form part of the normal school curriculum
  3. the instrument is required for regular classroom use at least on a weekly basis
  4. the instrument is portable
  5. the pupil must be in full-time education in a Local Authority Maintained school, receiving tuition from a Suffolk County Music Service appointed tutor at that school
  6. the instrument must be appropriate to the needs of the pupil
  7. the instrument must be handed to the pupil in the school teaching room

You can ask your music tutor for advice on the which make and model of instrument is right for you. There are normally a number of good alternative makes and models which can vary in price. Please ask for a quote for a specific model otherwise we'll send you a quote for 2 - 4 alternative instruments.

You can't buy second-hand instruments through the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme.

Are you a member of the Suffolk Youth Music (SYM)?

If the pupil is not receiving lessons in a Suffolk Local Authority Maintained School from the Suffolk County Music Service (SCMS), but is a member of a SYM instrumental activity, you may be able to buy an instrument through the SCMS.


The conditions of the scheme for SYM members are the same as stated above, but condition number 5 does not apply.

SYM members must live in Suffolk and/or attend school in Suffolk. Pupils must show regular and on-going attendance of a SYM activity and the instrument must be handed to the pupil within the SYM activity premises.

Contact Suffolk County Music Service on 01473 263400, open 9am - 5.30pm, Monday to Friday or email if you have any questions.

Get a quote

Pupils can buy new instruments VAT free or at an educational discount.

An administrative charge of £12.75 (including VAT) will also be added to the cost of the instrument.

Call Suffolk County Music Service on 01473 263400 for a quotation.

We'll ask if you meet the conditions listed under "Are you eligible?"; and if successful we'll send you a quote.

You need to ask your parent/carer to sign the form and return it to us with payment.

Payment can be made:

  • online
  • by cheque
  • by postal order
  • cash at our office in Ipswich

Please don't send us cash.

VAT free

This scheme operates with regard to the guidance given by HM Revenue & Customs and governs the sale of goods closely related to the provision of education.

Education provided by the local authority (Suffolk County Council) is treated as a non-business activity. The Local Authority is therefore able to obtain refunds of VAT in certain cases.

Delivery arrangements

Delivery will be made to the SCMS at the Northgate Arts Centre in Ipswich.

The instrument will be checked by the tutor and then given to you during your lesson at school.

Delivery can vary according to the supplier's stock, the time of year when demands may increase and the make and model of the instrument. Normally instruments take approximately 4 weeks to arrive, but can be several months if they need to be imported or if there is a waiting list.

Please ensure you give yourself enough time for delivery, particularly if the instrument is needed to replace a loan instrument which is due for return.

Instrument handover may be delayed until the beginning of the new term if not enough time has been left for delivery.

Frequently asked questions

Where do the instruments come from?

The SCMS is part of Suffolk County Council and buys instruments from the Council's list of approved suppliers. We ensure suppliers provide us with good quality, value for money and good after sales care. We don't keep a stock of instruments for sale, but only buy them individually when requested.

My child wants to try the instrument first to decide if it is right for them, before we buy it. Is this possible?

In most circumstances the tutor will have a good idea of which instrument is suitable, and you may not need to try it first. However, if you wish to contact the office, it may be possible to arrange for you to visit our suppliers to try the instrument out.

My child is leaving school at the end of the term and will no longer be having lessons with a SCMS tutor in school. Can we still buy an instrument through the scheme?

Unless your child is also a member of SYM and will be continuing with this membership after leaving school, then it will not be possible to use the scheme.

My child’s school has converted to an academy although they will continue with lessons with a SCMS tutor in school. Can we still buy an instrument through the scheme?

Unless your child is also a member of SYM and will continue with this membership after the school changes, it will not be possible to use the scheme. You can contact the Academy to find out if you can buy a VAT-free instrument through them.

Can we collect the instrument from the office/shop so we can get it quicker?

The rules governing the scheme do not allow us to do this. The instrument must be delivered to your child in school or if applicable at the SYM activity.

Contact us

Telephone: 01473 263400, open 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday



County Music Service
Northgate Arts Centre
Sidegate Lane West