We are currently exploring the possibility of buying an A clarinet for our daughter or possibly a professional level pair. This is frighteningly expensive, and I feel sick just thinking about it.
Her current instrument was purchased through the scheme via her current school, which she officially leaves tomorrow. So, this being a major decision we are not rushing out today to buy on impulse and cannot therefore get it delivered to the current school by tomorrow. (Tempting to enrol younger daughter for clarinet lessons there!) Her new school has "academy status" and due to the fact that they are a registered charity cannot claim the VAT back.
This is what the Howarth's website says:
1. Having chosen the instrument you wish to buy from our large range and with the benefit of expert advice, you can ask your child?s LEA (Local Education Authority), school or Music Centre to order it on your behalf.
2. The school or Music Centre will then issue an official order to Howarth and we will dispatch the instrument to your child?s school or Music Centre, from where you can collect it.
3. Payment will be made by you directly to the school or Music Centre. The LEA or school must sell the instrument to the student at or below cost, excluding VAT, though they may have an administration charge.
Some LEAs issue a form that must be used when the order is placed to qualify for the scheme. These forms can be requested from the school or Music Centre. Other LEAs do not produce a dedicated form and the school/Music Centre can simply issue its own official order to us stating the instrument you require. You can you can start the process by downloading our ready-made application form to fill in and give to your school or LEA.
So I phoned the LEA music service and they said they don't do the scheme, but the music shop will do it. Clearly the LEA don't know what they are talking about, but they said when I explained that the shop had to do it through the school or LEA that the school would do it, but the school have told me they can't do it.
I have phoned the conservatoire, where she will be having her lessons from September, but as it's only children as far as I know that qualify and they will mostly be dealing with their senior section they didn't seem to even know what I was talking about, and have said they will phone me back.
As my daughter is not at a private school she ought to qualify, but I just don't seem able to find a way to get it to work. I tried to phone the county music service, who she has been in orchestras with and just got an answerphone. Matters are somewhat complicated by the town being a separate LEA from the rest of the county.
Any suggestions or advice?