Change of key over school’s musical policy

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Bosses at a secondary school have changed their tune over a controversial admissions policy that gave priority to pupils who are musical.

The Citizen reported last week how the new criteria at Ousedale School in Newport Pagnell hit the wrong note with hundreds of parents.

They were furious that non-catchment children who had passed a Grade 2 music exam would be given preference over non-musical children living in the catchment area.

They organised a petition with more than 350 signatures to present to the school.

This week Ousedale held a parents’ meeting to discuss the problem - and during the evening heads announced a spectacular U turn.

They agreed to change the admission criteria and consider catchment more important than musical ability .

David Hosking, councillor for Olney where Ousedale also has a campus, is delighted with the victory.

“It’s thanks to people power and the Citizen story last week,” he said.

“It’s good that the school has listened to the local community and that places for local children will now be protected.

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the campaign.”

But Mr Hosking believes that bridges now need to be rebuilt between the school and local people.

“I will be writing to the head and chair of governors to ask for an early meeting for myself and my fellow councillors to see how we can help with this,” he said.

Ousedale school declined to comment to the Citizen.

The school had defended its policy originally by revealing it was facing a shortfall of students ready for admission this September. It promised there would be room for all.