Wednesday, 6 June 2018

The Bournemouth and Poole College's poor compliance with the Freedom of Information Act continues, having failed to reply to internal review requests after almost a year

(Post made at 1618 UK BST time on 6 Jun 2018 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).


The Bournemouth and Poole College is extremely late in responding to two Freedom of Information Act internal reviews:

How often have fire drills taken place at the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians? 

(see here).

and

Discrepancies in information given by College about communicating Wessex Youth Orchestra rehearsal dates to schools

(see here).



Friday, 18 May 2018

Credit where credit is due: the College have finally corrected their website

A thank you to Bournemouth and Poole College who corrected their website earlier this week: it no longer says that my wife conducts the Wessex Starter and Middle Strings (which is good because she stopped doing that just over a year ago).

Monday, 14 May 2018

Vaughan Williams' sublime Sea Symphony

This weekend I had the great pleasure of taking part in a performance of Vaughan Williams' sublime Sea Symphony. This was with the Westbourne Orchestra (in which I play double bass), Brockenhurst Choir and Total Voice Chamber Choir, soloists Samantha Crawford and Alex Cook, conducted by Lee Marchant (only the 5th conductor in the orchestra's 88 year history!), led by Marjory King.

I did not know this work before rehearsals started a few months ago, but it has become one of my favourites.  A work of astonishing breadth and depth, and Vaughan Williams' first symphony, written between 1903 and 1909 when he was in his thirties. It is said that the composer himself fell back in his seat when he attended the first rehearsals, astounded that he could have created something so powerful.

If you've never heard this work before, I think you are in for a real treat.  Here is a link to a video of a magnificent BBC Proms performance from 2013:



"Sakari Oramo conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Proms Youth Choir and soloists Sally Matthews & Roderick Williams for Vaughan Williams 'A Sea Symphony'".

The wonderful music and Walt Whitman's words. Watching the joy on the conductor's face (and his wonderful rapport particularly with the soloists and choirs) and choir members' faces. My favourite bits are the following:

Friday, 11 May 2018

A year ago, Bournemouth and Poole College and the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians carried out an act of senseless destruction, which was not in the interests of the children in my opinion

(Post made at 1727 UK BST time on 11 May 2018 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).


An act of destruction


11 May 2017: an act of destruction at the College and the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians


In my view, a year ago (on 11 May 2017), Bournemouth and Poole College and the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians carried out an act of senseless destruction, which was not in the interests of the children or the Centre.  By dismissing a very popular teacher after 13 years of extremely dedicated service, without notice, explanation or thanks, and 3 weeks into the start of the summer term. The day after she had raised concerns informally over the management style at the Centre. She left that meeting (with a senior person at the College) feeling that her concerns had been listened to, and with the understanding that things were going to improve. Yet the very next day she was dismissed in such a callous, senseless manner.

The teacher concerned - my wife - was devastated.  Many, many, parents told us that they were too, and most important, 60 to 70 children from the Wessex Starter and Middle Strings were unable to understand why a teacher they had known in several cases for years (and in many cases had been very fond of) had disappeared suddenly, without reason or even being able to say goodbye.  Many parents found it incredibly difficult to explain to their children what had happened. Readers will have to judge for themselves whether the College's actions then and since are in line with its stated culture.

Friday, 13 April 2018

More incompetent (unethical?) behaviour (false advertising) by Bournemouth and Poole College/Centre for Wessex Young Musicians

(Post made at 1409 UK BST time on 13 Apr 2018 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).

The Bournemouth and Poole College are still advertising the Wessex Starter and Middle Strings courses on their website (see this page) as being conducted by my wife, 11 months after she stopped conducting these groups. (At their request, with no notice or thanks after 13 years, and without explanation until a week later when a pretext was given which was quickly shown to be spurious given accepted practice by other staff at the College).

See this screenshot, taken earlier today (you can click on any image in this post to see a larger version):

This is false and misleading advertising.

Is this simply incompetence, or is it deliberate, unethical advertising using a very popular teacher's name?


I heartily recommend the Secret Barrister's book "Stories of the Law and How It's Broken"

(Post made at 1406 UK BST time on 13 Apr 2018 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).  


For anyone interested in UK law and in particular the parlous effect of successive cuts on our justice system, I can heartily recommend this book:

The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken


Here is an excerpt from the chapter which exposes the increasing number of false complaints:

But there will be cases where there is simply no other approach than to firmly and clearly put to a witness: you are lying.  And to make them relive every second of the events they describe so that you can clinically and decisively shred every sentence they deliver, building to a closing speech where you publicly implore a jury to reject the complainant as a liar.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

In my opinion, the downplaying of the younger CWYM groups continues

(Post made at 1130 UK time on 06 Mar 2018 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).

Further to "The younger groups have got the short straw in the CWYM Summer Concert on 1 July 2017", something which seems to be happening again in the 2018 Summer Concert, there seems at the time of writing to be no Facebook event, no poster, and indeed little mention (apart from in the list of concerts on the CWYM website) of the March concert (on 18 March, with no time stated) by the Wessex Fanfares and Wessex Starter and Middle Strings.



Furthermore, rather than having an external venue (as has happened for the last several years), the younger groups (which are the future of the WYO) are being relegated this year to playing at the Bournemouth and Poole College.  This seems a throwback to the situation about 10 years ago, when the feeder groups just had an informal concert at St Andrew's Hall at the old Constitution Hill site, with little room for an audience, and not much of a sense of occasion.

This seems a pity.  When I was chairperson of the SWYM Committee, it was always our aim to integrate the groups as far as possible, and to minimise any feeling of "them and us" as between the WYO and its feeder groups.