(Post made at 1602 GMT on 16 Mar 2019 in a personal capacity. Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).
This child was older than his/her peers in Wessex Middle Strings due to having had to take significant time off from school for medical reasons, but was a loyal, enthusiastic and regular attendee with impeccable behaviour. Also very helpful.
S/he auditioned for the WYO and, although not being an advanced player, seemed perfectly capable of joining in at one of the back desks. Certainly no worse than many others who had been accepted into the WYO in the past. He/she had been well trained in musicianship and knew when to play, and most importantly not to play.
I believe that this teenager would have benefited massively from membership of the WYO (where several of his/her friends already were), and would have been just as enthusiastic, loyal and helpful there as s/he had been in the WMS.
Just as with this other pupil, in my view it would not have harmed the WYO at all to have had this person as a “passenger” in the back desks, and like many previous “passengers” he/she could well have gone on successfully to reach the forward desks.
But very sadly (and inexplicably in my view and that of my wife as conductor of WMS) once again, this child’s application was declined. (Note: as far as I could tell, there was very little of the sort of normal coordination that one might expect between the WYO and feeder groups with regard to auditions to join the WYO. Certainly that was the case with regard to the Wessex Middle Strings – and not because of a lack of willingness on my wife’s part).
I do know that in the other case I mentioned, the refusal of the application to join the WYO (and in particular the extremely insensitive way the application was handled) led to a very damaging loss of confidence in the child concerned. I hope that wasn’t the case in this child’s situation, but I don’t know. (Note that unlike in the previous case, there is no question here of whether the Bournemouth and Poole College and WYO treated a child with a disability poorly, this child had “merely” been ill for a significant period, and could have done with some extra help and support. Unfortunately none of this seemed on offer from the College/WYO.)