Council cutbacks to close renowned Edinburgh music school's doors

A world-renowned music centre of excellence faces closure under plans drawn up by councillors.
The centres former pupils include Martyn Bennett and Shirley Manson while youngsters continue to benefitThe centres former pupils include Martyn Bennett and Shirley Manson while youngsters continue to benefit
The centres former pupils include Martyn Bennett and Shirley Manson while youngsters continue to benefit

The City of Edinburgh Music School has produced stars including Shirley Manson of rock band Garbage and the late Martyn Bennett, who was influential in the evolution of modern Celtic fusion.

But £363,000-a-year budget cuts being considered will see the specialist facilities at Broughton High School in the Comley Bank area of the city scrapped and redistributed at four sites across Edinburgh.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Green education spokeswoman Mary Campbell accused the council of “jumping the gun” in jeopardising a Scottish Government grant – and so making no saving at all.

“I want children and young people across the city to benefit from music,” added Cllr Campbell. “But the provision at Broughton and Floras has given an extra focus for those children with a real talent, and allowed them to flourish. It is important that there is a provision, open to all, within the public sector, rather than only for those who can afford private tuition.”

Education convenor Ian Perry said plans for a rolled-out facility could reach more children and are open to consultation with bands, orchestras and access to instruments unaffected.

“The school would be delivered in several sites across the city so fulfilling our commitment for developing our gifted and talented pupils,” said Cllr Perry.

“In addition, we would explore ways of strengthening our partnerships with professional music organisations and we have committed to protecting free school music.”

News of the threat has sparked a campaign by parents amid fears that national funding will be lost and standards drop.

Lindsay Law, whose children, aged ten and 13, both attend the centre, said: “It’s really worrying for all of us – particularly for the children.

“The other children are their family. It’s the first time in their lives they’ve met others who understand what music means to them and how it makes them feel.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The family are so dedicated to the children’s musical development they moved from Leith to Blackhall so they could make two-hour daily practice at Broughton and nearby Flora Stevenson primary.

Many from the centre’s mix of musical excellence and mainstream education go on to study at leading conservertoires around the world.

The school’s director, Tudor Morris, writes on the school’s website: “Nowhere else in Europe is there a school in the maintained sector which offers a complete specialist music programme from primary to secondary level in two neighbouring centres.

“The happy association with Flora Stevenson Primary School ensures the musical development of our students from an early age within a caring and sensitive framework.

“The intensive training – involving regular practice, various ensembles and individual expert tuition from the most talented and dedicated teachers in the land – paves the way for our students to secure positions in some of the most prestigious colleges, universities, ensembles, orchestras and media organisations in the world.

“Also unique is the commitment to all styles of music.”