John McLellan: Was attempt to close the City of Edinburgh Music School a cunning plan?

Music school pupils protesting at the Scottish Parliament
Music school pupils protesting at the Scottish Parliament
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You would expect a campaign to save a top class music school to be well orchestrated, but the fight against the council administration’s plans to break up the City of Edinburgh Music School was a protest masterclass.

Now it has been saved there are still questions to be asked about how it came to be under threat in the first place, especially as administration councillors are scurrying to dissociate themselves from the idea as if it came out of thin air. We know Labour councillors were unhappy at its inclusion in the consultation programme and prominent SNP figures like Gavin Barrie had disowned it before the school’s open day on Saturday. Yet in his article on the cuts in Monday’s Evening News, the leader Adam McVey made no mention of it, so it must be assumed that by the time the article was submitted the plan was still live. It was certainly dead before Tuesday’s finance committee meeting but, when pressed by my colleague Graham Hutchison, the convener Alastair Rankin refused to apologise for the distress it had caused.

Maybe it was all a cunning plan to give Education Secretary the evidence he needs to back up his proposals to take schools out of council control and give more responsibility to head-teachers, and if so the council’s SNP group has played a blinder.