Friday, 27 February 2015

Ousedale Admissions Debate

If you haven't yet seen the story regarding Ousedale school in the Phonebox Magazine then grab your copy now and take a read! If you have children at the school or live in the surrounding area, you may well have been aware of some high activity on social media over the last few days and weeks.

This is all due to a proposed change in admissions arrangements for the school, which would give priority to a select number of pupils with an aptitude for music. Applicants would be ranked and assessed on the highest levels of music, on a bowed, stringed, brass, woodwind, keyboard or percussion instrument.

Facebook and Twitter carried the story to begin with, with parents in particular voicing their views and opinions. It highlights the way news spreads today, and the impact that can be had if people share their views, and even set up online petitions. News travels far and wide, much further than if just discussed at the school gate, as would have been the case in previous years.

As the school is an Academy, they can arguably do what they like in terms of admissions outlines. However, in a time where getting a place in the school of choice can be a hard enough task in itself, to make priorities for those with musical aptitude didn't seem quite fair for many local parents.

10% of places were to be allocated in this way, according to aptitude for music, across the Newport Pagnell and Olney campus'. Not a high proportion, but it's enough to have an effect, and has clearly got people talking...

As a result of parents reactions and outcry, the school has decided to continue to make pupils in the catchment area a priority. It just goes to show the power of speaking out, and the power in a community standing together to fight for what they believe in.

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