Scotland’s up and coming traditional musicians will be celebrating as their school is given a reprieve from closure by Education Secretary Michael Russell who is putting £200,000 into Plockton Music School with £200,000 in a partnership with West Highland College.
The school had been set for closure after Liberal Democrat and Labour Councillors had voted to effectively close the well known and well loved institution last month.
Commenting, Highlands MSP Rob Gibson who attended the recent rally in Glasgow in support of the school said: “This is great news and shows the SNP Government works where Labour/LibDem councils fail. Michael Russell’s dedication to Scotland’s culture and tireless work to better the education of our children is very welcome and truly fantastic.
“Mike Russell has found an imaginative bail out and a new way to develop the centre of excellence in traditional music. I’ve been a long time player and supporter of these young players whose talent and love of Scottish culture shows the future of our traditional music is safe in young hands. The SNP Government, MSPs and councillors share their values too.
“As a long time musician myself and a supporter of these young players, whose talent and love of Scottish culture shows the future of our traditional music is safe in young hands, it was a matter of disbelief when students, teachers and lovers of traditional music heard the LibDem/Labour Highland council’s plans to close the school.
“They showed little duty of care for the students and their families with their announcement. The hypocrisy of praising protestors in the council chamber moments before voting to shut the school was a bitter blow and a stark contrast to the students demonstration in George Square in Glasgow, more a ceilidh-in than a sit in.
“From the very start the SNP has consistently supported Plockton music students when the LibDem/Labour council thought it could axe the school without protest. They showed little duty of care for the students and their families. In council the hypocrisy of praise for the musical protesters followed by voting for closure was a bitter blow.”
Speaking about the move, Michael Russell said: “The reaction to the proposed closure of the school from pupils, former pupils, musicians, politicians and members of the public clearly demonstrated the widespread support for the unique facilities at Plockton.
“This new partnership between the school and West Highland College will open up the school to older music students and allow them to take advantage of the quality teaching and outstanding legacy that Plockton has provided.
“Investment from the Scottish Government will make this partnership a reality and assist the bodies concerned in funding the school in these times of financial constraint over the coming years.
“Scotland has a fine history of producing talented professionals across a whole range of the arts and traditional music is no exception. As one of our National Centres for Excellence, it is already funded by grant via the Highland Council and this will continue. Today’s announcement does not affect that relationship nor those responsibilities but opens up a range of new possibilities and broadens the base of support for this important facility.”
Dougie Pincock, Director of National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music: “The additional funding through the college is a great opportunity for us to expand on the work we do already. The Scottish Government’s reaction to the overwhelming level of support we have received over the last few weeks is very welcome, and demonstrates a strong commitment to the development of Scottish traditional music education.”