Government to hold Edinburgh music school talks

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The Scottish government is to have talks with Edinburgh City Council over its plans to disband the capital's music school.

The local authority wants to spread the school, which has about 60 pupils, across four sites in Edinburgh.

However, the move has been condemned by leading musicians, parents and pupils who believe the move will damage the country's cultural reputation.

The council hopes to save £383,000 by making the changes.

The council is proposing a Citywide Equity and Excellence Music Service, which it said could increase the number of pupils who could access music in larger groups, particularly in primary schools and areas where there was a lower uptake of instrumental music at secondary school.

Well known former pupils of the school include Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson, Celtic fusion star Martyn Bennett and the eponymous founder of the Tommy Smith jazz quartet.

Consultation phase

Under the plans pupils would continue to receive music tuition. Pupils have all passed an exam to get into the centre of excellence, of which there are six around the country.

The music school is currently based at Flora Stevenson Primary and Broughton High School.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "The Scottish government highly values the role of all six centres of excellence in Scotland.

"Any decision by the council has yet to enter the consultation phase and the Scottish government will be discussing the current situation with Edinburgh Council and, in particular, Edinburgh's role as part of a network of centres of excellence ‎across Scotland."

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesman said: "The idea for a Citywide Equity and Excellence Music Service has not yet been approved by the Finance and Resources Committee and at this stage remains a proposal.

"It is no secret that the financial position facing all local authorities, including Edinburgh, is still extremely challenging and we need to find £21m of savings to deliver a balanced budget for the 2018-19 financial year.

"I would encourage residents to have their say on our budget consultation when it is published next week."

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