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Classical education in the Midlands

The City Learning Trust, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sandwell Council announce consultation for a new specialist Music School

Posted by Julian Owen | October 17, 2017 | People, policy, politics

The City Learning Trust is consulting on its proposal to open a new specialist music school in Sandwell, West Midlands, in association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with ambitions to establish a global centre of excellence for music education.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) performs at the some of the most prestigious international concert halls, as well as in its home venue – Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

Reflecting its ambition to offer access to world-class musical opportunities for everyone, the CBSO is working with Sandwell Council and the City Learning Trust to submit a free school application as part of the next wave of applications to the Department for Education (DfE).

Subject to approval from the DfE, the new school would open in Sandwell in September 2020, coinciding with celebrations marking the CBSO’s centenary. It would cater for students aged 7 to 19, from primary through to secondary and sixth form. In addition to the normal academic curriculum, the school would specialise in classical, instrumental and choral music. Every child would have the opportunity to learn at least one musical instrument, and students would also benefit from regular projects with CBSO musicians. The school’s most talented young instrumentalists and singers would have access to opportunities through the CBSO’s extensive talent development programme, which includes youth and training orchestras and two youth choruses.

Stephen Maddock OBE (above), Chief Executive of the CBSO said: “The CBSO is committed to supporting and developing the musical abilities and interests of children and young people from early years groups to university students. We currently do this through an extensive programme of opportunities ranging from workshops by individual musicians in schools, through pathways to support and develop outstanding talent, to orchestral concerts for young audiences at Symphony Hall. Our partnership with the City Learning Trust is a logical extension of this programme, and the proposed new school would give us the opportunity to further use our musical expertise to support young people’s achievement and aspiration.”

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, the CBSO’s Music Director added: “This school would give young people in Sandwell the chance to be inspired by our musicians throughout their education. I am thrilled that the CBSO is involved with the project.”

The CBSO is the second orchestra with which the City Learning Trust has collaborated. Plans for the Hallé Music Free School, which will be based in Stoke-on-Trent, were announced earlier in the year and is also due to open in 2020.

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