Entirely coincidentally – at the same time as The Blogger was publishing ‘The Masterplanners’, querying Bristol Education Department’s long term plans for secondary education in the city – who should roll into town on Friday? Only Lord Adonis himself, the architect of Blair’s city academy programme.
It’s the Oxford educated Westminster insider Adonis, who boasts a doctorate about the British aristocracy no less, who will decide whether or not two of Bristol’s fee-paying schools – the Merchant Venturer’s Colston Girls’ School and the CofE’s Bristol Cathedral School – can become tax payer subsidised city academies instead.
And as a clue to what Adonis’s decision might be, it’s probably pertinent to point out that he was in Bristol for the day to present prizes at. . . Wait for it. . . Colston’s Girls’ School!
But don’t worry. Because before he left, Adonis assured the Evening Cancer that, “the addition of the two private schools into the state sector would not threaten existing schools, even though it would increase surplus places across the city.”
Unfortunately Adonis, obviously one of these “big-picture” Westminster players, didn’t stick around in Bristol long enough to explain in any detail how the city’s secondary school sector might actually function, let alone benefit, in the future by these proposals.
Perhaps the in-depth explanatory detail stuff is left to local Labour Party functionaries to explain then?
So has anyone seen Bristol Labour’s education supremo, the bearded weirdo Derek Pickup, lately? Perhaps this leading exponent of “learning through play” would care to explain to us how this latest piece of his party’s policy shat down from on high in Westminster will work out in practice?
And maybe he could try and prove to us doubters that we won’t be left with a rump of very costly, under-performing and half empty PFI secondary schools for the working classes and a few decent city academies in the north of the city for the middle classes?
So does anyone know where the hell Pickup actually is? Let lone what he thinks? Or what he’s planning? Come to think of it, has he managed any kind of policy announcement whatsoever in his six months in post running the city’s education service? Is he ever likely to make one?
The prognosis is not good. Let’s remember Derek struggles a little with his number work so may lack the financial acumen required to explain the real consequences of Labour’s new position on the city’s schools.
Because lest we forget. . . Before Derek became a full time politician in 2005, the last job he got was as a Director of a community organisation. Then just days into his new job the organisation abruptly closed because it was bankrupt.
It turns out Derek never thought to ask – regarding a post where he would have to bear full responsibility for the finances remember – the very obvious questions that would have revealed that the organisation he wanted to work for had been insolvent for over six months!
Derek isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer is he?