Edinburgh music school ‘saved’ as Labour vow to halt proposals

Music School parents and children are 'cautiously optimistic' outside the Usher Hall in their attempts to save the music school. Picture:'' Neil Hanna
Music School parents and children are 'cautiously optimistic' outside the Usher Hall in their attempts to save the music school. Picture:'' Neil Hanna
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Plans to close Edinburgh Music School have been killed off after Labour councillors voted not to support proposals.

The Evening News exclusively revealed yesterday that councillors are expected to make a U-turn on the proposal following an outcry from parents.

Now a Labour source has said the party’s councillors have agreed to no longer include the Edinburgh Music School budget proposals as part of this budget consultation – meaning it is almost certain the plans will be dropped.

Lindsay Law, vice-chair of the parent council at Broughton High and Flora Stevenson’s Primary, said: “We are certainly more optimistic that the Labour group has agreed to be against the proposals.

“However the school is still part of the budget papers for Tuesday so we’re cautiously optimistic at this stage. We are humbled by the level of suppoprt we have received across the whole of society. It is clear how important this school is.”

“We feel the council is being deceptive in that the proposal that they are making will cut both services and neither increase equity nor improve excellence across the city and will deny the rest of Scotland access to what was a national centre of excellence.”

The school closure was part of council budget cuts aiming to save around £363,000. But this was met by cross-party opposition and protests from a host of leading cultural figures which led to an intervention from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last week.

Campaigner Katie Llewellin said support from the Edinburgh Evening News and sister title, The Scotsman had been integral in helping reverse the council’s decision to close the music school.

She said: “The Scotsman and Evening News have been an enormous help in publicising worldwide, the plight of the music school and were so quick with responses when we felt we had a story or interview to give.

“The Evening news has always been a brilliant campaigning paper.

“We are delighted with all the support, it is very much appreciated.”

Former student Alastair Orr, 53, was “delighted” to hear the news after being in the first ever cohort at Broughton in 1981 alongside jazz star Tommy Smith.

Alastair said: “I am delighted to hear about the change of heart by the council and that they are securing the future of the Edinburgh Music School.

“I gained enormous benefit from the specialist teaching and coaching which allowed me to enjoy a career as a professional musician spanning over 30 years.

The huge outcry at the possible loss of the school is no surprise as it provides amazing opportunities across all genres of music.”

Specialist tuition and facilities which have been on offer at Broughton High School were planned to be dispersed across the city under plans drawn up by senior councillors and officials.

But it has become clear in recent days that the idea did not have enough backing to even be included in an official budget consultation process due to start next week.

kieran.murray@jpress.co.uk

Kevin Buckle – Page 15