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Instrument Purchase Schemes

This page details two options which may be helpful if you intend to buy an instrument. If you're interested in hiring an instrument, please visit our Hire an Instrument page

'Take it Away' Purchase Scheme

Take it away aims to make musical instruments more accessible to children and young people by providing interest-free loans of up to £5,000. Find out how it works and what you can buy by clicking on the link below.


VAT Purchase Scheme

The aim of the Scheme is to enable the pupils of Leicestershire County Council and Leicester City Council to purchase musical instruments that are essential to the furtherance of their musical studies at a reduced price. This can be achieved by a concession, which enables the local authority to recover the VAT on such instruments and to sell the instrument free of VAT to the pupil.

The conditions that must be observed are as follows;

  • The sale of the instrument is made to pupils receiving tuition from the local authority (see note below ).
  • The instrument is required as part of normal curricular studies and these studies are expected to continue for a minimum of 2 school terms.

Pupils receiving tuition from the local authority:

If the pupil plays the instrument at an LSMS Band, Orchestra or other music ensemble including an Area Centre


If the pupil receives weekly lessons on the instrument provided by either a teacher of a Local Authority school or the parent pays the local authority school for lessons.

If the lessons are paid direct to the Associate Teacher, private teacher of a member of staff employed by the Academy the pupil is not receiving tuition from the local authority.

Before completing an application form, please ensure that you have read and understood our Fair Processing Notice.


Headteachers, or their authorised representatives, will be responsible for ensuring that the application form is completed at Parts 1 and 2 by the appropriate person and that information regarding the tuition is accurate. Completed forms should be forwarded to the VAT Liaison Officer at County Hall for authorisation prior to any further action being undertaken. (Note: this is the case even for City Council pupils – see further note below).

NB: If the application is for an instrument that a pupil plays in an LSMS band or orchestra, the completed form should be sent to LSMS in the first instance. (Leicester-Shire Schools Music Service, Leicestershire County Council, Room G40, County Hall, Glenfield, Leicester, LE3 8RA.)

When the form is authorised it will be sent to Leicester–Shire Schools Music Service and they will issue an official order to the retailer. The retailer will invoice Leicester–Shire Schools Music Service who will pay the invoice through the Local Authority Budget. Parents/carers will send a cheque payable to Leicestershire County Council before the instrument is received to Leicester–Shire Schools Music Service for the amount charged by the retailer (exclusive of VAT) plus £13.50 (Administration Charge).

City Council Pupils:

The arrangements for City Council pupils may be slightly different in that the VAT Liaison Officer will identify appropriate cases and forward the authorised Form to the City Council VAT and Taxation Advice Office. The latter will confirm the details and pass the Form to the City Council's Education Department who will carry out the steps otherwise undertaken by Leicester–Shire Schools Music Service. The parents/carers cheque in such cases should be made payable to Leicester City Council and sent to the Education Department, Marlborough House, Leicester. Parents / Carers will be advised if these alternative arrangements apply.


This Scheme will be administered jointly by the Business Manager of the Leicester–Shire Schools Music Service and the VAT Liaison Officer in conjunction with the City Council VAT and Taxation Advice Office. Any disputes or disagreements arising from any applications will be dealt with by these persons or their representatives.

Any arrangement for the Parents / Carers to take away the instrument, before the form is authorised, is strictly a private arrangement between Parents / Carers and retailer. Leicestershire County Council and the Leicester City Council accept no responsibility for any loss arising from this arrangement.