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College marks its saving

PUBLISHED: 16:46 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:37 25 August 2010

Bexley
03-11-08
Bird College, Sidcup
1st birthday at Station Rd centre
l/r, Bonnie Roots- head of junior dance, Luis De Abreh - Vice principal, Shirley Coen - Principal, Dave McAllister - head of music service

Bexley 03-11-08 Bird College, Sidcup 1st birthday at Station Rd centre l/r, Bonnie Roots- head of junior dance, Luis De Abreh - Vice principal, Shirley Coen - Principal, Dave McAllister - head of music service

ARTS students celebrated the first anniversary of a rescued musical academy.

ARTS students celebrated the first anniversary of a rescued musical academy.

Bird College, which took over Bexley council's music services on October 29 last year, threw a party to celebrate its first successful year at the Sidcup centre on Monday.

Bexley Academy of Music and the Performing Arts (BAMPA) unexpectedly went bust in June 2007 to the horror of parents who had paid upfront for music lessons.

Following the college's liquidation, over 100 young musicians and dancers held a protest at Bexleyheath Civic Centre on to plead for the service to be replaced before the autumn exams.

But a deal was struck with Bird College to take over the council's music provision, and it now serves 1,600 pupils in 49 primary schools and 500 pupils taking licensed lessons.

Bird College's principle, Shirley Coen, said: "I am delighted with the successes of the Music Services and Junior Dance Departments and I thank parents, staff and students alike for their commitment and enthusiasm.

"I am particularly pleased that the College is working so closely with the London Borough of Bexley in providing this much needed and valuable service for the people of Bexley.

"I have every confidence that this will continue to go from strength to strength and on behalf of the college I thank everyone for their support."

The principle speculated last year that BAMPA went bust because it was undercharging for its music lessons by as much as 30 per cent.

But Bird College has grown since taking on the borough-wide responsibility.

In the last year it has employed 60 additional members of staff, developed a building programme and has held 49 recitals in Bexley schools and nine instrument workshops.

Peter Catterall, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Arts and Tourism, said: "Having had the pleasure of attending events put on by Bird College, we have been so impressed with the quality, quantity and range of opportunities that the College has been able to provide to the youngsters of Bexley.

"We have all developed a very strong partnership over this last year and we look forward to an even bigger and brighter second year."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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