Jeremy Corbyn bangs drum for musical ambition at newly-opened City of London Academy Highgate Hill
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A newly-opened Archway academy is looking ahead to a harmonious future with music at the heart of the school’s fabric.
It has been out with the old and in with new this term as former Catholic girls’ school Mount Carmel closed and reopened as the City of London Academy Highgate Hill – a mixed non-faith school on the same site in Duncombe Road.
The school, now under the umbrella of the City of London Academy Trust, was officially opened by City of London Corporation lord mayor Andrew Parmley on Friday in a ceremony dominated by the students’ musical renditions – from Leonard Cohen to Justin Bieber.
All pupils who join the school in Year 7 are given a free violin, viola, cello or flute and receive free music tuition for the first three years of their education, while the newly-formed orchestra has been playing in venues such as the Barbican and Goldsmiths College.
Headteacher Nicole Haynes, who addressed the audience at the end of the ceremony, said: “I am extremely proud of all the students who are here – they are truly talented, creative and the performances that were put have all been created by the students.
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“During the past two years there has been some turbulence and it has been the hard work of staff and students that has helped us to weather the storm and to come through.
“The future now looks very bright and we are now part of a very special family.”
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Also banging the drum for music in schools was Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, who opened the ceremony by stressing his commitment to art remaining a fundamental part of the curriculum.
“School gives you the opportunity to be imaginative in music and art and so much else,” Mr Corbyn said. “I think it is particularly good that there is such a great emphasis on music here, because I’m trying to make sure that every child in every school gets the chance to learn a musical instrument in school. It helps with co-ordination, with maths and with languages.”