I have been incredibly concerned to receive news that Bird College is shutting its music service. So many children from across Bexley have benefited from the chance to learn to play a musical instrument as well as to play together in ensembles and orchestras as a result of this much-loved service. I am equally conscious of the experienced teaching staff whose jobs have now been put into question.
Earlier this evening I held a meeting with the joint principals of Bird College who confirmed this sad development. They explained that the decision had been triggered by a significant fall in revenue as well as continuing uncertainty over the restarting of and future demand for music lessons provided by the service. They emphasized that the music service was something Bird College was proud of and their decision had only been taken after exhausting all options for them to continue. Bird College have stressed that they are keen to find a solution for the future of the music service and will work to support a transfer to any new provider.
I am determined to see that the Bexley music service does continue given the joy that it brings to so many people. I will contact funding providers (including the Arts Council which provides some support to the service) as well as local schools to consider what alternative arrangements can be put in place. I will also continue to maintain contact with Bird College.