Music petition close to 8,000 signatures as world champion pipe band under threat

Almost 8,000 people have signed a petition demanding that proposed cuts to music tuition be scrapped in North Lanarkshire.

Among the cut backs would be the removal of all orchestras, bands and ensembles, including a pipe band which holds the world champion title and was last year flown to New York to perform in Tartan Week.

The North Lanarkshire Schools Novice A Pipe Band added world champions to their list of achievements last year. However, the group could be cut under cost-cutting plans by the council, which wants to save 31 million from its budget this year and £100m over the next three years.

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Music teachers were called to an emergency meeting last week and told that the council will on Monday consider two proposals to save cash from the music budget: either cutting the two instrumental teacher managers, one full-time instrumental teacher and all local ensembles attended by hundreds of children; or axing the entire in-school music service.

Lynda McIntyre, of the Save North Lanarkshire Instrumental Services campaign group, said: “These proposals will have a devastating impact on hundreds of children - and they have so far come without any consultation. That’s not right, and not fair.

“For many of the children, some of whom come from deprived backgrounds, the experiences and opportunities they’ve had from being part of the music groups has been life-changing. Continuing to invest in these services is good for the future of North Lanarkshire."

She added: “It’s already been pointed out that in no other area of Scottish life would we allow a service that’s world-leading to be disbanded. Yet that’s exactly the threat we face here. It’s scandalous.”

Angela Kelly’s 15-year-old daughter Samantha, a pupil at St Aidens School in Wishaw, has been playing with the pipe band for just over two years.

“In her first season they were British Champions, Scottish Champions, European Champions and second in the worlds but were Champions of Champions, this lead them to being invited to play at tartan week 2019,” she said.

She added: “These cuts will tear my daughter’s heart out and all the other kids and tutors’ hearts out. Work with the band keeps these kids disciplined and helps with their other subjects because of the focus they learn. They will lose the friendships they have gained with kids from other schools, which helps build their confidence and citizenship skills.”

Protesters will be gathered outside Motherwell Civic Centre from 9am on Monday. The council meeting starts at 10am.

The petition is at