The director of music at The Purcell School in Bushey has been made redundant in the face of falling pupil numbers and rising costs.

The school has scrapped its director of music post, leaving Quentin Poole, who held the position since 2001, without a job. The role of assistant director of music was also removed.

Headteacher David Thomas said the school needed to reduce spending “significantly” in order to ensure its future.

Supporters of Mr Poole wrote to the governors and urged them to reconsider their decision, including more than 50 professional musicians associated with the school. Current pupils also created a petition and wore green ribbons in support – arranged by concerned and angry parents at the end of last term.

One critic, Keith Spillett, said: “I got to know Quentin Poole very well, and he was always one of the most talented and well liked teachers I have ever come across.”

Norman Lebrecht, cultural commentator and novelist, has created a website where hundreds have joined to comment on the departure. Of Mr Poole, he said: “He’s an outstanding teacher, popular with pupils past and present. “The school has made him a sacrifice of its faltering finances and fuzzy vision.”

Other commentators on the site, called Slipped Disc, include current pupils, parents and teachers. Mr Poole’s workload, including being an international musical ambassador for the school, is now shared within the music department.

Mr Thomas said: “In the light of the frozen grant from the Music and Dance Scheme, lower pupil numbers and rising costs, the governors decided the school must reduce spending significantly by September 2014, to ensure the future of the school.

“The majority (some 80 per cent) of the school’s costs are in staff, with most of the remainder in fixed costs. “The number of options available to the governors was therefore limited.

“After careful consideration, it was decided that the posts of director of music and assistant director of music would no longer exist.

“These decisions were made reluctantly, but were felt to be essential to safeguard the future of the school.

“Quentin Poole left the school by mutual agreement at the end of the last academic year.”

Mr Poole had been at the school since 1988 when he joined as Head of Department for woodwind, brass, percussion, voices and harps.