Kirklees Music School is to close two centres following a ‘painful’ £300,000 cut.

Principal Thom Meredith said both its Huddersfield and Cleckheaton centres will shut from September following Kirklees Council’s removal of its grant as part of budget cuts.

It means a reduction from seven to five centres, which help hundreds of students to realise their talents.

Mr Meredith said: “It’s been quite a painful process and was a very difficult decision that I wish we didn’t have to make.

“We’re thankful to all parents who have helped us at this time

“The two centres are our smallest– the Huddersfield centre has 60 students and Cleckheaton 40.

“We hope that the students will be able to attend our other centres and we’ve already taken them around.

“Most of the timetables have stayed the same but now both the woodwind and strings sessions at Colne Valley High School will take place on Fridays to give people more choice.

“We’re still in talks with staff but hope that there will be no losses as they are an excellent group of teachers.”

Mr Meredith is now asking local businesses to prevent another service from being cut.

Thom Meredith of Kirklees Music School
Thom Meredith of Kirklees Music School

He said: “Unfortunately we are also having to phase out our scholarship scheme which encourages people serious about pursuing a musical career. Our only hope is finding local businesses willing to sponsor a place, which costs £500 for year for access to lessons and support.

“We don’t plan any cut to the Kirklees Priority Passport fee reduction scheme for those from low income families, although it is possible that in the future this may reduce.

“We’re also in talks with Kirklees Council to ensure that free access to tuition for looked after children continues.

“I understand that it has a statutory responsibility to give them access to lessons.

“We now think that we have got a package that will make us sustainable and have an eight year budget plan.

“This area is known for its musical talent and we can’t let this stop.”

On a more positive note, four groups and two acts from Kirklees Music School have been selected to perform at the National Festival of Music for Youth in Birmingham in July.

Shelley Music Centre’s Big Band, Colne Valley’s Senior Wind Band, Huddersfield’s Junior Strings, the Kirklees Schools String Orchestra (KSSO), the Jazz Turnips and Greenhead College’s Big Band all impressed judges in March.

Mr Meredith said: “We are very pleased. It will be an emotional last performance for the Junior Strings, who will hopefully join other centres and for KSSO, who will play for the last time with conductor Ralph Barker.

“The school will also be taking part in a mass school’s ensemble at the Albert Hall in London.

“We hope it all shows to people that despite the changes we are carrying on.”