Update: educashion, educashion, educashion

Education dept. ad

A gallant reader has been chasing up The Blogger’s story about the misspelled advert placed in The Evening Cancer by the LEA. Here’s what they say:

[Eventually a] . . . reply, from none other than the Director of Education herself, trying to explain away the situation re: misspelling ‘Brunel’ in a paid-for ad in the Evil Post and also trying to explain the non-response to emails sent to the address they requested we send responses to.

So, you’re on £140k a year as Director, you set up a new email address, advertise it in an expensive brochure that you circulate to your target audience of parents to convince them the schools are worth attending. But you don’t bother to actually make sure the f££££ing email address works and receives emails! So you have to personally reply to people apologising for the mess-up as well as trying explain away why it is that you can’t spell ‘Brunel’.

You even mention that you’re appointing a new Communications Officer (even though you know you already have at least one and that you sacked the last one in a highly dubious, possibly illegal, way because he was set up to take the fall when a Cabinet councillor left his email account access open 24/7 for every council employee to read, write and delete . . .)

But what you forget is that your own email reply (below) will come under close scrutiny so you don’t use a spellchecker – either that or else you genuinely can’t f£££ing well spell ‘occurred’!! Oh, and you don’t bother to punctuate your paragraphs either (see below for all)

You or I would face the music and be held to account. Heather Tomlinson? Pass another canape, luv . . .

And here’s that email exchange in full:

> Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2007 08:36:52 +0100
> From: xxxx
> To: parentsandcarers@bristol.gov.uk
> Subject: Academy

I imagine I am exactly the type of parent that you wish to ‘win over’ to send my child to a Bristol state secondary school instead of sending them out of town as so many of my neighbours do.

Misspelling words such as ‘Brunel’ in your recent Evening Post advertisement is hardly going to inspire confidence and I wonder how such a terrible mistake could have happened?

I do really want to support the state system in my home City but find it increasingly hard to do so when I read this type of thing. Nonetheless I plan to attend at least one Open Evening and remain to be won over.


> Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2007 08:13
> From: xxxx
> To: nick.gurney@bristol.gov.uk
> Subject: Academy

Dear Mr Gurney

I sent the attached email to the address which is advertised on the front page of the Council’s education web site on 13 September but have yet to receive a reply or even an acknowledgement. I wonder if there is a reason for this and would be grateful if you would look into this for me and, if possible, arrange for a reply to be sent?


> Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2007 10:23:37 +0100
> From: nick.gurney@bristol.gov.uk
> To: xxxx
> Subject: Re: FW: Academy

Dear Mr xxxx,

Many thanks.We’ll get back to you soon.

Yours sincerely,
Nick Gurney

N B J Gurney
Chief Executive
Bristol City Council
Room 212, Council House
College Green
Bristol BS1 5TR
Tel: 0117 922 4888
Fax: 0117 922 4877
Email: nick.gurney@bristol.gov.uk

> Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 16:34:12 +0100
> From: xxxx
> To: “Nick Gurney” <nick.gurney@bristol.gov.uk>
> Subject: RE: Academy

Dear Nick Gurney

Thank you for your email [above], in response to mine, further [above]. It is nearly 4 weeks since I wrote my email to the address published in the council’s glossy booklet about schools and despite your assurance as chief executive about getting back to me soon I have still not heard anything back, which is very very disappointing.
When can I expect to get a reply do you think?


> Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2007 15:21:03 +0100
> From: heather.tomlinson@bristol.gov.uk
> To: xxxx
> Subject: Academy

Dear Mr xxxxxxx

First of all I hope you can accept our sincere apologies for not responding earlier. The new email address we developed during the summer had some initial technical teething problems which resulted in a delay to us receiving emails for some time. I am glad to say that those problems are now resolved and we are now welcoming regular emails from Bristol families

Since receiving your comments regarding the advert in the Evening Post I have been trying to identify how such a spelling mistake could have occured and have found a loophole in our editing processes. The design was put together by the in-house Corporate Design team and, as their customer, it was our responsibility to proof read the document. The proof reading service is an expensive one so we choose to take on that responsibility via the team that are placing the advertisement. In this case the misspelling of such a key ‘Bristol’ word such as Brunel was unfortunately missed by our admissions team and for that we very much apologise. As a result of your justifiable concerns, we are communicating with all managers involved in advertising with a view to ensuring that they ask a colleague who is independent of the writing of the text to proof read and sign off the final draft.

I fully understand the concerns you have raised and wish to assure you that we place a very high emphasis on quality and accuracy in all communications and materials. A new appointment is planned for a Strategic Communications Officer which will further strengthen our practice

I do hope your experience at the Open Evening you planned to attend was a good one and would be very pleased to receive any feedback you feel appropriate

Thank you for taking the time to contact us

Speaks for itself doesn’t it?

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5 Responses to Update: educashion, educashion, educashion

  1. Not bristol educated says:

    “The new email address we developed during the summer had some initial technical teething problems”

    Good grief. It wasn’t some new fancy software application, it was just setting up a new ‘@bristol.gov.uk’ email address. It wouldn’t take a summer to ‘develop’ it, it would take a simple request to corporate IT, who could in theory sort it out there and then (though generally take a few days to do so, which is fair enough sometimes with work backlogs).

    New council email addresses are set up all the time, and rarely, if ever, with any problem. If there wasn’t a bounceback message from the sending of the original email, then it must have been set up fine, so either it was filtering to the wrong place (unlikely) or they just didn’t have someone to answer the emails sent in. Or they did have someone but they didn’t bother.

    Guess we’ll never know, since monitoring staff activity on projects is apparently not a sensible use of council time.

  2. Woodsy says:

    Heather Tomlinson was obviously sleeping in the back of the English class when they did the use of commas and full-stops. However, if I were to be charitable, a possible explanation for the absence of the latter could be they rolled off the screen because her monitor was not placed on an even surface.

  3. BristleKRS says:

    “The new email address we developed during the summer..”

    “…resulted in a delay to us receiving emails for some time…”

    “…we are now welcoming regular emails from Bristol families…”

    “…I have been trying to identify how such a spelling mistake could have occured and have found a loophole in our editing processes…”

    “…via the team that are placing the advertisement…”

    “…we very much apologise…”

    “…justifiable concerns…”

    “…we are communicating with all managers…”

    This is pure gold 😀

    For my money the comedy coup de grace is “I fully understand the concerns you have raised and wish to assure you that we place a very high emphasis on quality and accuracy in all communications and materials.” 😐

    Is Oor Heather, perchance, an English graduate?

  4. Bluebaldee says:

    As BristleKRS says, this is just pure comedy gold.

    Well, it’s not actually comedy, more like tragedy for the poor Bristol kids who are having their education ruined by this bunch of buffoons.

    “Proof reading service is expensive” – good God woman if you can’t employ people that can get the basics right ie, ensuring that CYPS communications are spelled and punctuated correctly, then what hope is there?

    It would all be so laughable if Bristol’s education service wasn’t being ruined by Tomlinson, Pickup, Batchelar etc etc. As a parent myself I’ve get an incredible sense of frustration that Bristol’s kids are having their futures’ blighted by this collection of nicely remunerated middle-class career-wankers.

    Isn’t it funny how Nottingham has shot up the GCSE league tables since Tomlinson left?

    Perhaps if she got the fuck out of our fair city, Bristol too would benefit from the “Tomlinson Effect”?

  5. Rach says:

    Hurrah. At last our city seems to have unearthed a comic genius – Heather Tomlinson. What a pity some of us have to rely on the schools she’s meant to lead for our kids’ education

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