The masterplanners

Road Runner

Thanks to Education boss, Heather Tomlinson, and her idiot boss, Pigfucker Gurney, the city is now spending around £2m a year on the strategic management of its schools and education. The result? Utter confusion.

The latest announcement from The Cancer is that the proposed academy at Hengrove is now delayed until 2010. This is, of course, the academy where the council has agreed that kids in South Bristol can receive an anti-intellectual, anti-enlightenment education courtesy of creationist christian fruitbat Steve Chalke’s Oasis Trust.

It is also the third academy funded directly by central government to get the go-ahead in Bristol so far. And they could well be joined by at least two more if the government’s ultra-Blairite unelected education minister, Lord Adonis, gives the expected go-ahead for two local private schools – the Merchant Venturer’s Colston Girls and the CofE’s Bristol Cathedral School – to become academies too.

This is despite the fact that the council has also embarked on a major PFI ‘Building Schools for the Future’ strategy to rebuild every secondary school in Bristol and they have also chosen to build the new Redland Green School, which was always predicted to put at least two of Bristol’s private schools out of business.

Road Runner blueprint

The problem that’s fast approaching now is that there’s going to be way too much capacity in Bristol’s state funded secondary schools. We’re going to end up with far more state school places than we have kids. Already the rebuilt Portway school is under-subscribed as is the recently rebuilt Monks Park School.

It’s pretty obvious then that these new formerly-private academies are just not needed. They can only drive the PFI schools – that we have to spend the next 25 years paying large corporations for – out of business completely, while serving the interests of a small elite of private educators like the Merchant Venturers and the CofE and their carefully selected parents and pupils.

Without academy status these private schools can only see their pupil numbers fall, as parents return to a cheaper and reinvigorated state sector, and their finances go down the pan.

It’s now painfully apparent to anybody outside Tomlinson and Gurney’s small set of well-paid yes-men and sycophants that there is something seriously awry here. And it’s at the level of strategy…

Road Runner

A simpleton can see the city either required a strategy based around academies and no PFI rebuilds or a strategy of PFI rebuilds and no academies. How have we got both? Why is each announcement of yet another new academy or a PFI rebuild greeted with equal joy by Tomlinson & Co’s political mouthpieces in the Bristol Labour Party? What advice are the politicians receiving for the £2m a year in management fees we’re all paying?

There are some very, very expensive and long-term cock-ups looming on the horizon here. Has nobody noticed?

As The Blogger goes to press rumours now appear that the Steiner School in Clifton – another private school, this time for liberal hippies – is considering applying for academy status. Yes, yet another private school for the middle classes trying to grab state funds.

Where will this all end? How much will it cost us? Will we end up with decent state education right across the city or a few flagship state schools for the middle classes and another load of undersubscribed sink schools bearing huge non-negotiable PFI debts for 25 years?

And who the hell is actually in control of what’s happening to decide anyway?

That's all folks

COMING SOON: Keren Suchecki on ‘Double Devolution’, Redland Green and the state of South Bristol schools.

This entry was posted in Bristol, Education, Local government, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The masterplanners

  1. FF says:

    Point of information. Steve Chalke’s not a fruitbat, and he’s definitely not a creationist. He’s described creationism as rubbish and it isn’t taught in Oasis schools.

    The fundamentalist God-botherers’ umbrella organisation in the UK, the Evangelical Alliance, hates Chalke with a vengeance. Some of its members have accused him of heresy (yes, apparently people still use that word!) for questioning other recondite articles of theology.

    In a perfect world we wouldn’t have religion in schools. But it’s not a perfect world, and the present system – not just the council, but a target-obsessed government, whining teaching unions, a sizeable minority of useless time-serving teachers, middle-class parents desperate to fight their way into “good” schools (BTW, how many Bristol teachers send their own children to the “less popular” state schools? … Thought so.) as well as a fair few feckless working class parents who don’t consider their children’s education remotely important (or who can’t control their kids anyway) … All these things conspire to split Bristol’s schools between the haves and have-nots.

    I’ve met Steve Chalke and was impressed by his common sense, lack of bullshit and commitment to helping the kids. Either that or he’s an astonishingly convincing con-artist. The present system doesn’t stand a snowball’s of sorting out education in Hengrove, so Chalke and Oasis can’t possibly be any worse.

    You shouldn’t spoil your otherwise useful and insightful articles in your headlong rush to think the worst of absolutely everyone.

  2. I agree with FF that Steve Chalke is not a creationist (he gave his position clearly for instance when addressing a public meeting in Hengrove about the Academy there). However, there are academies (not connected with Chalke) where, it seems, creationism is taught, much to their discredit. For example, go to for a copy of a lecture on a biblical perspective on science teaching given by Stephen Layfield, Head of Science, Emmanuel College Gateshead (an academy whose benefactor is wealthy car salesman Sir Peter Vardy…).

    Both Labour and the Tories are keen on schools becoming academies. I’m certainly not and have campaigned against Oasis Trust in relation to Hengrove. Schools should be set up and run in the interests of children, parents and local communities and not private individuals, businessess or religions.

    Looking at latest news on academies in Bristol – Are we talking about education , children, parents and community here, or business deals??

    I agree with one NUT rep who said, in relation to Portway “It would be better and cheaper to invest in smaller classes rather than pushing for an academy.”

    This is what we need to invest in, not academies. Smaller classes one key to good quality education.

    People in Shirehampton, where Portway looks set to become another Oasis Academy, would like to see more community involvement returned to the school, which has been run by an appointed interim executive board instead of a governing body for more than two-and-a-half years.

    Spot on the people of Shirehampton – community involvement is key to good quality education and neighbourhood quality of life.

    But its not what we are getting from the big political parties.

  3. Pingback: The not so young Adonis makes an appearance « The Bristol Blogger

  4. Al Shaw says:

    What do you think of this statement:
    education is the responsibility of parents?

  5. BristleKRS says:

    It’s a trick! It’s a trick!

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