We might think French education policy is nothing to do with us (though there are readers here with children at school), but the policy of "mixity" could impact on one of the region's most prized assets, which many of us enjoy each year.
Children in Toulouse who wish to specialise in music, dance and singing attend the annexe of the Lycee Michelet, which is attached to the Conservatoire, in what are known as "horaires aménagées", ie special timetables which allow them to continue their core studies with the specialisms. Now the local education authority wants to disperse the timetables around other schools in the city in a bid increase the social mix of students.
The students who attend the annexe can use the rehearsal rooms in the conservatoire as well using instruments and having easy access to their tutors. Dispersal could mean long journeys on public transport, often with bulky musical instruments, longer days and an inevitable reduction in take up of the specialist courses.
At risk would be the Maitrise, the choir of the conservatoire, some of whose concerts many of us have attended, which has attained an international reputation for its interpretation of fine choral works, including locally written music from all ages. Having seen the children of the Maitrise, they seem to be of all backgrounds and racial origin; the thing they have in common is a love of and a talent for music.
A petition to the Toulouse academy has been launched by former pupils. If you value the enjoyment the Maitrise has given us and you agree that excellence in the arts should be encouraged perhaps you would sign the petition.