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Music school confirms it will run without head of music

Despite protests from parents and the music profession, the Purcell School has finally dismissed Quentin Poole and abolished his job. Here is a letter from unsettled staff members. Purcell remains a very unhappy school, one that is still haunted by the hushed-up allegations of sexual bullying. 

purcell ribbons

I write on behalf of disgruntled staff to record the dismay that despite many distinguished musicians and educationalists writing to the governors in supports of retaining the post and role of Director of Music at this music school, the Governors and Head David Thomas have completely ignored the likes of their own President Simon Rattle, Vice President Baroness Mary Warnock, Patron John Rutter, Howard Goodall and most of the Heads of London Music Conservatoires and similar DOM’s at Chets, Wells, & Menuhin music schools and deleted the post after all, citing cost cutting.

The Head foolishly claims in the letter,that his previous employment as DOM was a deciding factor in his decision to delete the post. He has already taken over directing the choir, and is now in charge of music policy. Financial reasons? rubbish! ego, ambition and punishing Poole and his partner for challenging and exposing the past misdemeanors at this school more likely! We understand both are bound by a legal gagging clause, as nothing has been heard from them.

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  1. Professor Nicholas Daniel says:

    There are no words. How desperately sad.

  2. I won’t be recommending that talented young musicians head to Purcell anymore…

  3. ex teacher at purcell says:

    I worked in this ‘school’ – it is little more than a zoo. The kids are amazing and deserve better than this. All the decent teaching and boarding staff have either left, been forced out unfairly or have left in recent years because of this insanity. When I was there there was something along the lines of 60% of the staff who were actively looking for work elsewhere (both boarding and teaching staff), and at least 2 of the teaching unions had a whole team of people solely working on the claims made by staff at the Purcell School. Colleagues and friends of mine have been bullied out of that school, some have been made too sick to work. We tried to make things better, but the staff had no voice as everything we said and did to try to make the situation better was just ignored, brushed under the carpet, by the senior management and the idiotic, out of touch, unmusical and INHUMAN big wigs at the top. It is evident that the situation has only got worse. Just close it now.

  4. another former teacher says:

    The Head and Governors should resign for the way they have allowed their Director of Music and his post to be deleted at this music school.

    With only two professional musicians on the Governing body, how they think they have the experience and expertise to run a specialist music school without a Director of Music is totally baffling.

    Even my son’s primary school has someone who is responsible for leading the music.

    How the governors think they can allow the musical credibility of this well known and respected music school to remain maintaining the highest possible musical standards without a professional in charge, when orchestral and choral training is now in the hands of music teachers who have no professional performing expertise, is not only arrogant and misguided, but very unfortunate for the education of these musically gifted pupils.

    Thank goodness for the many dedicated professional visiting musicians who teach on an individual basis and who will maintain high standards, even though the majority are disgusted at the demise of Poole whose support they greatly valued as long standing colleagues and friends.

    It speaks volumes in the extraordinary demise of this post, that the Headmaster and former assistant director of music are now responsible for ensembles and public performances.
    Inevitably, such training without the leadership of a highly respected professional, will be regarded by many as ‘dumbing down’ and cause musical standards to drop.

    Surely it’s time that there was an investigation of who these people who call themselves governors are appointed, and why they are allowed to make decisions at a music school without accountability to parents and their children?

  5. As an ex-pupil I am truly amazed and disgusted by this decision.How can they get rid of the captain of the ship and expect to still sail? So sad for Quentin, what an inspiration he was. He doesn’t deserve this treatment.

  6. Former Pupil says:

    As a former pupil I must say I didn’t enjoy my short lived time at the Purcell School, however this was due to a number of factors such as lack of encouragement from my private teacher and my mental well being, along with no suitable pastoral care to resolve these issues. However, Mr. Poole was a very respected man whom I remember to be someone that did encourage me and was one of the few members of staff I felt I could confide in. I have not been at the school for a number of years now so I cannot comment on the current atmosphere, but I do find the whole situation very disheartening as the school continues to decline further.

  7. Jun Shibata says:

    As a former pupil, I am ashamed of the decision.
    Quentin Poole was most passionate in music, and thought what was best for the students at all times. I myself did not get along with the hushing up attitude of the school when problems arose, and am very sad to see that nothing has changed. It is sad to see children’s ambitions trampled upon for a bunch of teachers knifing each other in the back, pulling on each other’s legs to satisfy their needs.

    • ex teacher at purcell says:

      I totally agree with you. Its not the teachers that are the main problem though, it is the governors. it is the same team of people there so until that changes then nothing will change. It is so so sad that having their own backs is more important to them than the future of all the pupils.

  8. So the Head actually claims in a letter that his previous employment as DOM was a deciding factor in his decision to delete the post.

    How on earth is this not conflict-of-interest, and therefore legally challengeable?

    Especially in light of Ian McMillan’s victory last summer.

  9. I was a pupil at the Purcell School from 1997-2003 and have to say that it was the happiest time of my life. There was an exceptional atmosphere of oneness and unity, healthy competition and an excellent standard of education that still helps me today. We had the best teachers that not only passed on academic knowledge but brought out the best in us, trained our minds and souls. What a terrible shame it is that one of the best schools in the country has come to this. Quentin was part of the old “party”, the part of Purcell I so fondly remember. He is a fantastic musician and a wonderful person. I wish him all the best in a place that deserves him. As for the governors, it is they who have cast a shadow on what was once a beautiful school.

    • Visiting teacher says:

      Yes, I remember too when it was a happy and creative environment to work and study in.

      Then in 2009, the foolish Governors appointed a Head who lost his school because of his unacceptable interest in sixth form boys, who reported his behavior to the authorities.

      Instead of accepting and learning from their mistakes, the Governors then go and appoint a Chief Executive Officer (known in the real world as a Headmaster) who seems to think it is acceptable to bring the school into further disrepute, by deleting the Director of Music’s post in a specialist music school??

      What sort of idiot foolishly announces in a letter to the school community that, ‘being a former Director of Music himself, was a deciding factor’ in this misjudged and careless decision?
      Says it all – particularly as he has appointed two deputy Heads to do what he should be doing, instead of leaving him time to meddle and control our music department as the new DOM in all but title.

  10. This is terrible news

  11. I really enjoyed my time at Purcell and remember every minute of it so very fondly. It was an amazing experience which i will never forget. Mr. Poole was then the Head of Woodwind and was hugely encouraging. I cannot believe that pupils now won’t be given the same experiences I was. Mr. Poole will be sorely missed.

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