Music school closure plan to be reviewed

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HEADS of a music school threatened with closure have agreed to go back to the drawing board, says a Cleckheaton councillor.

Coun Kath Pinnock said representatives from Kirklees Music School, which announced plans to close its Batley and Cleckheaton centres and move places to Mirfield, had ‘responded positively’ to concerns from parents at a public meeting on Saturday, and had agreed to reconsider the decision later this month.

She said: “Parents from the Batley and Cleckheaton Music Centres packed the meeting at Whitcliffe Mount School. Thom Meredith, principal of the Kirklees Music School, and Nina Garforth, who chairs the KMS Board, were there to listen to the concerns of parents about the proposed closures.

“Parents were adamant the consultation had been totally inadequate, and that the KMS had to go back to the drawing board. Parents were also angry at the unfairness of the proposals which only had one Music Centre for North Kirklees, and that was to be in Mirfield, whereas there were four centres for the Huddersfield and Valleys area of Kirklees.

“Parents, rightly, claimed that Mirfield is not easily accessible from Cleckheaton and Batley. The Music Centre there was also held on a Friday evening, which made it even more difficult for parents who currently have their music centre on a Saturday morning. The meeting accepted that changes had to be made because funding to KMS had been cut, but they asked for a fairer solution and for KMS to be more innovative for example in getting sponsorship.

“Thom Meredith and Nina Garforth listened carefully to the views and concerns of an, at times, emotionally charged meeting. I spoke, as did others, about the life-changing value to young people of making music and that somehow or other the music centres had to be saved.

“All those who want to keep our Music Centres open must contact their local councillors and ask for every effort to be made to keep them open.”

Mr Meredith confirmed a meeting with parents and interested parties had taken place, and said he and Ms Garforth would take the comments raised to the meeting of the Board of Kirklees Music School.