School of Music at Norwich’s UEA to close

Campaigners have vowed to battle on to keep the University of East Anglia's School of Music open after officials decided to close the department.

The UEA's council today (Monday) announced it has accepted the findings of a recent review into the music school and has decided to accept no new music students. The department will close after current students have completed their courses.

The news comes despite strong opposition which saw 10,000 people add their names to a petition.

Chairman of the university council Richard Jewson said: 'It is a sad day when a school is to close, but particularly one which is held in such affection, and it gives us no pleasure to make this decision.

'But council members believe that it would be irresponsible to ignore the danger signals highlighted by the review. The university cannot afford to continue to subsidise a school where the future prospects are so challenging, and this is the best way we can safeguard and strengthen other humanities subjects.'

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He said the university plans to continue to support and encourage musical activity among students and the wider community.

And that the university is committed to supporting the school's current students throughout the rest of their time at UEA.

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Professor Edward Acton, the UEA's vice chancellor, said: 'Our number one priority will be to ensure that current students are not disadvantaged and receive an excellent education.

'I would also like to underline our commitment to the continuation of music as an important social and cultural part of the life of the university and we will be announcing vigorous measures in the months to come.'

The music school – which has links with East Anglian composer Benjamin Britten – was founded in the 1960s. More than 250 people took part in a protest earlier this month and famous names, including Jools Holland and Coldplay, signed the petition.

Bill Vine, a Phd Music Student and a key figure in the Save UEA Music campaign team, said: 'Obviously it's not over, we'll be reviewing where to take the campaign from here. We're disgusted with the decision.

'We were hopeful this morning that council members would listen to our arguments and consider both the arguments against the closure of the school and the offer from the Royal Musical Association and National Association of Music in Higher education to visit the school for free and assess the options for growth. The duration of the meeting and the early announcement of the decision highlights that this extensive consideration did not happen, and shows the disregard for the school of music amongst the university executive.'

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