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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 15:19 GMT
School quits 'euro-biased' song contest
Children singing
Around 30 schools take part in the contest
A school has pulled out of a music festival after parents complained it featured "politically biased" songs about Europe.

Windmill Hill Primary School in Swindon withdrew from the song contest following complaints over the lyrics of a medley entitled "Euro Jazz".

The songs support a fully integrated Europe without border controls and with a single European currency.

Their lyrics include: "No border fines, no fences, wires or nets, red tape, No regrets!"

This was written from a very political viewpoint - it was too politically biased and was unacceptable.

David Messenger Headteacher

Another reads: "Share a common path, use the common powers, then we'll have one common currency and Europe will be ours."

The annual event, which features 30 other schools, is being organised by Swindon Music Centre and funded by the local education authority.

But headteacher David Messenger said he consulted parents and governors after being approached by one parent and the decision had been taken to withdraw from the contest.

He said: "We have taken part in the festival for past four years and it has been very enjoyable - none of the material was controversial.

"We have had songs written by this chap before and they were lovely. However, this was written from a very political viewpoint.

He added: "In this instance we decided it was too politically biased and was unacceptable.

Anyone who manages to write a song about the European coal and steel industry deserves some sort of leaden medal.

Dr Caroline Jackson MEP

"The school has no view one way or another on Europe. If it had been written from the other end of the political spectrum we would have found it just as uncomfortable."

Dr Caroline Jackson, Conservative MEP for the South West, which includes Swindon, said: "It seems a bit unsubtle.

"To be honest, I think anyone who manages to write a song about the European coal and steel industry deserves some sort of leaden medal.

"But there must be better ways to get a message across and a school's role is to inform not to indoctrinate."

Mixed repertoire

Swindon Music Centre said there was no political agenda and Euro Jazz was just one part of the festival repertoire which also included Gospel songs and a concert band.

Spokeswoman Lis Fletcher said: "Euro Jazz was chosen entirely for its musical content, which is lively, fun and appropriate musically for children of this age.

"I am sure schools would discuss both sides of any argument with the children in a teaching context."

The festival is due to take place at Swindon's Oasis Centre next month.


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18 Nov 02 | N Ireland
02 Nov 02 | England
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