Parents pledge to continue fight to save Edinburgh music school

Hundreds of pupils, parents and staff descended on Broughton High School at the weekend for a celebratory open day at the Edinburgh music school.

Monday, 6th November 2017, 6:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:24 pm

The overwhelming message of the day was that life must go on as normal, despite the lingering threat of proposed council cuts.

Those involved are still waiting for confirmation that controversial plans to close the music school have been scrapped – and campaigners say they will not rest until the decision is officially made.

As well as open-door lessons and pupil performances, staff and parent council members were on hand to show interested families and young musicians around the first class facilities.

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The specialist school, 
which does not charge fees, provides tuition for 60 children across Flora Stevenson Primary School and Broughton High School.

Although good news now seems to be on the horizon, parents remain concerned about what the proposal says of the council’s values.

Jonny Higgs has a teenage daughter at the music school.

“It is a big concern. It is looking less likely that they are going to pull the funding but even so, the fact that they are considering it demonstrates the lack of value. They just do not value the arts in general. We really need to have these facilities.”

Prospective parent Michael Dixon, who has two musical children aged seven and ten, said: “It is unsettling because you don’t know what is really going on. But it is also disappointing as it is a fantastic facility, and it has had that threat. It is very disappointing that the council isn’t looking to serve the needs of all children.”

Galina Stjepanovic, who plans to audition her young daughter in the coming months, stressed the importance of music in a child’s development.

She said: “Music instruction is one of the most essential aspects of being human and definitely growing up. If anything they should be expanding the school.”

The lively atmosphere and strong attendance of the popular open day is testament to the inclusive ethos which has built up around the school. Broughton High School is a community which has the specialist music centre at its heart.

Jan Mcneillie of the parent council said: “Having your children with older children is beneficial. They are all really supportive of each other. I think the younger kids in particular are very supportive. My son is at Floras and he auditioned when he was seven, got in when he was eight and he has just flourished there.”

Access to the first class facilities and quality teaching is something that all pupils benefit from, whether they are part of the music school or not.

Parent Anna Edovina explained that although her 12-year-old daughter doesn’t attend the music school, she has lessons and benefits from the quality music facilities in Broughton.

“I think that it is very beneficial for the other pupils, it benefits the whole city and community. She has violin tuition within the school – she started at primary and has the same teacher now.”

Adding to the sense of community and belonging is the Sounds Like Saturday Café, which opens every Saturday morning.

Parents, pupils and siblings are welcomed into the school for a cup of tea while waiting for family or friends to complete their music lessons or band practices.

The café is run alongside the Creative Scotland funded ‘Sounds Like Saturday’ Youth Music Initiative, which provides free group tuition for P5-P7 pupils across the city.

Although not officially affiliated with the music school, the café provides a chance for family members to feel included in the education system.

Jane Bremner, who helps to run the café, said: “It helps to come just to see the school and feel the vibe and the buzz here. Otherwise parents do not come into schools.”

Even children from other schools are welcomed into the café. “I think even if they have not been to the music school, they have benefited from the situation. It just works really well.”

Mrs Mcneillie urged continued support for the much loved music school, as the fight is not over yet. “I think the primary facility is still under threat,” she said. “Showing an interest helps to keep us working. We are not closed for business.”