Havering Music School set to lose £117,000 due to council's 2019/20 budget
PUBLISHED: 17:40 18 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:40 18 December 2018
Havering Music School
Parents fear a £117,000 budget cut to a popular music school will severely impact the pupils and community who take advantage of the service.
Havering Music School in Walk Lane, Hornchurch, was informed on October 15 that they would be losing £117,000 next year.
Students are able to attend additional classes at the specialist music service and take part in the school’s bands, orchestras, choirs, and music theory lessons.
The school has been listed for a cut of £117,000 as part of the council’s departmental savings in its medium term financial strategy and budget for 2019/20, published on November 29.
Many of the staff members at Havering Music School are former pupils and students from the school have taken part in concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, The London Chamber Orchestra and The Guards Band.
Jane-May Cross’ children attend Havering Music School and she believes that the school is a vital resource that should not have its funding cut.
The lawyer from Upminster told the Recorder: “Music is such an important part of our lives. It creates discipline and creates determination and leadership skills.
“The easiest cut to make is the staff and they are the ones who are going to support the future students.
“It’s not just about the £117,000 loss of funding, but in real terms, we’re never going to be able to replace those members of staff.”
Councillor Viddy Persaud, cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “The council recognises how important Havering Music School is to the borough and we continue to support it.
“We are required by the government to make £37million of savings by 2022 and therefore we are asking all our departments to help us find ways to deliver services at a reduced cost but without necessarily impacting on quality.
“We have asked the Havering Music School which is part of the council, to undertake a similar exercise.
“We are working with the management team at the Music School to identify savings which will not adversely affect its ability to continue providing this extremely important education.”
A former student, Becca Warren, has started an online petition calling for the cuts to be stopped.
She said: “On December 15 there will be an outline distributed for consultation. There are many money saving ideas out there.
“This will include no aural at Saturday Music Centre, at least one manager post going, rises in instrument hire, loss of bands and groups, possible selling of instruments and cuts to the summer school.
“Ultimately this will have an effect on what we can offer as a service and what parents will have to pay for it.”
The petition has already gained 873 votes.