Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme (AIPS)

What is the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme?

The Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme (AIPS) allows you as a parent or guardian to purchase a musical instrument for your child without paying VAT via the school.

Am I eligible for the scheme and what are the requirements?

Changes in the 1994 VAT (Education) Order enables school pupils to purchase musical instruments free of VAT. The procedure for this scheme has been approved by HM Customs & Excise and was reviewed in September 1994 by the VAT office. To comply with the Customs & Excise rules the following criteria music be satisfied:

  • The student must be in full-time education at a Local Education Authority School
  • The student must either be receiving tuition at the school as part of their curriculum or receiving private tuition in support of a curricular activity such as GCSE music
  • The instrument must be appropriate for the student’s needs
  • The instrument must be portable (e.g. no pianos)
  • The instrument must be purchased via the school and passed on to the student on the school premises

I am eligible! How do I purchase the instrument?

  1. Choose your instrument making a note of the make and model – this could be from a local shop or on a website 
  2. Download and print the LiFE MAT AIPS form (CLICK HERE), or collect a printed copy from reception
  3. Complete the details on the form and ask the Head of Music to countersign the form 
  4. Please send the completed form along with a copy of the quote to the finance office: [email protected]
  5. The finance office will send an invoice to the parent/guardian – this must be paid before the instrument can be ordered
  6. The school will then issue a purchase order for the instrument and pay the invoice to the company
  7. The parent/guardian signs for and collects the instrument from school


Are there any local shops I can go to for advice or to get a quote?

Yes, there is Intasound on Narborough Road in Leicester.

Are there any online music shops that the school uses?

Yes, but we always advise you to shop around. We use a variety of online shops to purchase classroom and extracurricular instruments. Here are a few that we have successfully placed orders with:



DV247 Music Store:

Chamberlain Music:



Caswells Strings:

How do I get a quote?

You could ask in-store for shop staff to write down the instrument make & model, and price excluding VAT on branded/stamped paper. If you are looking online then you could either print the page or create a screenshot which could be printed later. Please ensure the shop’s details are clear.

Can I pay in installments?

You can make arrangements with the finance team to pay in installments, however, the instrument must be paid for in full before it can be ordered and collected. Don’t forget that you can hire an instrument from Leicestershire Music for minimal cost (or for free if your child has Free School Meals), which could be a preferred option as younger players will grow out of smaller-sized instruments.

Can my son/daughter collect the instrument instead?

No, it is a condition of the scheme that the parent or guardian who applied to the scheme must come onto the school premises to collect the instrument from a member of staff.

Can I use this scheme for instrument accessories?

Unfortunately, no. Whilst you can buy a ‘package’ to get you started, it is not possible to purchase instrument accessories separately under this scheme.