Thursday, 8 June 2017

Serious question marks over the ethical standards and culture at the WYO/Bournemouth and Poole College


(Post made at 2110 UK time on 08 Jun 2017. This post is made on a personal basis, as a member - and until 4 February 2017 Chairman -of SWYM because of my significant concerns about the running of the musically excellent Wessex Youth Orchestra, and about recent aspects of the governance of SWYM and the management of the CWYM and College. Please see https://musicmattersandculture.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/welcome-disclosure-of-interests-terms.html for important background and disclosure of interests).



The WYO/Bournemouth and Poole College told me, twice in succession after I queried this, and in writing, that there was no rehearsal schedule for this term. Yet there was one (see here). How could this happen? I await the WYO/College's explanation (see this open letter). I can think of two possibilities. Either (to use the words of former FBI Director James Comey in his testimony on another matter earlier today) those statements were "lies plain and simple", or the WYO/College leadership managed somehow to forget that a schedule was sent out this term, despite one having been sent out regularly every term for many, many previous occasions. Personally I think I would struggle to find the second explanation credible.   
Neither of the above possible explanations are to the WYO/College's credit, particularly given previous strenuous efforts to keep the schedules secret. Perhaps a third explanation will come to light, although that looks unlikely.

Let that sink in: the culture and ethics of the WYO leadership surely need a complete reboot.  Those of the College, on whose watch this and similar behaviour, including an atmosphere of fear, favouritism and excessive pressure within the WYO (*) have happened for so long, must be viewed as on probation.  

In my view, the root cause has been a serious lack of accountability and transparency in the way the WYO has been run. The College's own culture should have been robust enough to challenge this. In that it failed, and instead adopted (in a parallel with Mr Trump) the approach of shooting the messenger (**).  The SWYM Committee should have been another source of checks and balances, but, like the College (and despite my warnings both while I was its Chairman and since), has allowed itself to be too subservient to the demands of the CWYM Director.

(* as reported to me by several parents and teachers).
(** twice).

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