Tag Archives: Hillcrest Primary School


Just days after a string of national press reports in January highlighting the CHRONIC FINANCIAL PROBLEMS of Multi-Academy Trusts across the country, parents of Hillcrest Primary in Totterdown were informed that the school had quietly approached the Regional Schools Commissioner to form a MULTI ACADEMY TRUST (MAT) with Holymead, West Town Lane & Whitchurch Primaries.

Accompanying the announcement, a set of dubious claims were LEAKED out to parents to justify the idiot plan. Claims that include ludicrous financial assertions for MATs with little basis in reality. One claim is that academies get “MORE MONEY” than local authority schools. They do not. Funding per pupil is the SAME for both types of school.

Another claim is that the academies will “SAVE MONEY” because the school will not have to pay any money to the local authority for shared services. Partially true. Although the school will have to pay money to the MAT instead. Savings, therefore, will be somewhere between very limited, zero or more than they’re paying now depending on how the MAT and its OPAQUE and UNACCOUNTABLE trustees, members and self-styled leaders choose to set their charges (and significant personal salaries).

The only possible way academies can spend more money on your children is if they DRASTICALLY REDUCE teachers’ and staff pay and conditions – any schools’ biggest expense. This means an assault on maternity, paternity and sick pay, more use of unqualified and newly qualified teachers, less staff with larger classes, poorer SEN provision and much more. Otherwise, these academies are BARELY SOLVENT.

A glance at the accounts for West Town Lane, which is already an academy, reveals the school has just £200k in reserves and a capital buildings budget of just £25k per year. £200k is enough to pay staff for ONE MONTH. While the school is just a new roof away from BANKRUPTCY.

These schools simply aren’t financially sustainable outside local authority control. A fact confirmed by the Times Educational Supplement. They reported this month that “it would only take TWO MORE YEARS like the one that they have just had to leave the entire [MAT] sector on the verge of insolvency.”

Why are local schools rushing down this academy route then? Or more to the point, why isn’t our Labour-run authority doing more to warn NAÏVE SCHOOL GOVERNING BODIES of the dangers of this DAFT TORY INITIATIVE? And what, exactly, is the Reverend’s cabinet member for schools, Anna “The Ostrich” Keen, whose main qualification for the job appears to be that she’s the Reverend’s old geography teacher’s daughter, doing about it?

The Ostrich needs to get on top of this issue. Otherwise people might end up thinking that the Reverend and The Ostrich are launching a vicious Tory-style AUSTERITY ASSAULT on teachers’ pay and conditions in Bristol using school governing bodies as cover to deflect the blame away from themselves.

Not the kind of dishonesty the Reverend Rees’s would ever get up to, surely?

UPDATE: Since going to press, EIGHT more schools in Bristol have announced their intention to form a MAT:

Fair Furlong Primary in Withywood
Knowle Park Primary in Knowle Park
Bridge Farm Primary in Whitchurch
Whitehall Primary
Cabot Primary in St Pauls
Glenfrome Primary School in Eastville
Brunel Field Primary in Ashley Down
Ashley Down Primary


The smooth roll-out of one of the Rev Rees’s keynote policies is something to behold isn’t it? In his vast and creaking manifesto last year the vicar promised to, “work with businesses and voluntary partners to ensure that all schools have a BREAKFAST CLUB by 2020.”

By October, the Reverend’s breakfasting ambitions had vaulted somewhat and following his ‘State of the City Address’ the Nazi Post reported that every child would have access to a FREE BREAKFAST at school “to ensure they get off to a good start”. The Reverend also promised he would maximise uptake of the pupil premium “to provide the costs”.

By January this year, the vicar was for turning and announced in a rambling New Year message in the Nazi Post that “we will deliver on a promise to have breakfast clubs in every primary school, so no child has to start the day hungry”. Although any discussion of “costs” had miraculously DISAPPEARED.

Now news arrives from Hillcrest Primary School in Totterdown that a private business, ‘Shine‘, has won another contract with a gullible Bristol primary school to deliver ‘wraparound’ childcare services at the school. This will include a BREAKFAST CLUB and after school childcare at the school.

Shine – getting themselves off to a good start at least – will be replacing the existing locally-run breakfast club at the school after Easter and have announced they will immediately raise charges to all parents by an inflation-busting 30 PER CENT!

Any kids who might be starting the day hungry, however, aren’t even mentioned by the school or their shiny new BUSINESS PARTNER in this brave new breakfasting world. Is this the model the Reverend had in mind for his school breakfast clubs?

Shine, to squeeze a few more quid in profits from parents and to piss off any locals they may have previously overlooked, will also be setting up an afterschool club at Hillcrest in DIRECT COMPETITION with the current service run on a wing, a prayer and a shoestring by a longstanding local charity – the Totterdown Community Children’s Workshop.

And to complete this neo-Roman orgy of PRIVATE SECTOR GREED emerging from the school? A special icing on the cake for some parents: most of the school’s locally sourced music teachers – providing individual tuition to kids – have also announced to parents they will CEASE lessons after Easter!

This comes after the school tried to slap a room hire charge on these teachers, which would have resulted in a 25 PER CENT INCREASE in bills to parents for the same lesson!

Welcome to Rees’s rip-off Bristol where, maybe, for a fat fee to a well-placed business, no child starts the day hungry but parents may well end the day bankrupt …


All is not well in the once boho suburb of Totterdown… Or rather, all is not well among the parents of the local Primary School, HILLCREST – one of the last schools in the city not trussing up young kids in nasty nylon uniforms for their own good.

As reported in The BRISTOLIAN #4.10, the promised referendum of parents has now taken place at the school on the vexed issue of introducing a uniform and, in a small victory for the area’s dwindling liberals over the gentrifying corporate hordes, 52% of parents said ‘thanks but no thanks’ and voted against. Alas, this wasn’t good enough for the school’s bosses, Headteacher Tim ‘Baldy’ Browse and chair of governors Julia ‘Thick’ Skinner. They immediately announced that they planned to INTRODUCE A UNIFORM ANYWAY!

Cue uproar, Facebook spats, playground rows and fuming complaints as Thick and Baldy were besieged by outraged parents.

Matters then took a turn for the worse when Thick Skinner published a post on her widely-read blog condemning complaining parents as “school bullies” whose complaints were “pointless” and full of “aggressive, intimidating vitriol”! When this predictably stirred up even more anger, she then pulled it down, perhaps not realising that nothing is every really deleted from the web… You’ll never pass your ICT exam with clangers like that!

Meanwhile, presumably not wishing to get left behind in the total nutjob stakes, Baldy Browse has started issuing DARK THREATS that he may be investigating parents comments about the school on Facebook. Oooerrr missus!

What kind of city do we live in when primary school managers with support from council bosses start compiling secret intelligence dossiers on parents who oppose school uniforms?


The BRISTOLIAN #4.9 - hitting the streets NOW!

The BRISTOLIAN #4.9 – hitting the streets NOW!

It’s been another busy month in Bristol, with no shortage of graft, payola or all-round incompetence to cover – but the latest paper (The BRISTOLIAN #4.9) is now on the streets, featuring…

Holmwood House care home is like something out of The Munsters. Except it’s really not funny.

Skinner booted as the Curse of 100 Temple Street claims yet another management victim

Mayor ‘Now Fuck Off’ Ferguson loses his cool over The BRISTOLIAN in his Berchtesgarten

Financial farrago at City Hall as fraud and non-compliance continues

They seek it here, they seek it there, they seek that damned elusive £165k everywhere…

Why is a corporate property developer calling the shots at Wellington Hill Playing Fields?

City’s largest supplier of skills & training to youngsters on the brink

Millionaire Mayor signs partnership deal with Chinese Communist Party bosses!


Tantalising titbits including…

  • THINK OF THE CHILDREN!barney between Fergo’s true believers & Labour at charity bash
  • PRIMARY FAIL IndyRedpants election strategy off the rails already?
  • UNIFORMLY BADwhat’s going on at popular Totterdown school?
  • THIEVES IN THE TEMPLE£90 million budget cuts not affecting the consultancy gravy train
  • BEDROOM TAX LATEST – Council prepares to boot poor families onto street for Christmas
  • LEGAL NEWSpanicky BCC misrepresents own consultants’ findings on Mem impact
  • HOYT’S GOURMET JOY‘Assistant Mayor’ fills his face with food & reneges on ‘No Evictions’

…And all that for FREE!

See the Distribution page for your local stockist – and if there isn’t one near you, let us know!


Then you can DOWNLOAD a PDF version here:

» The BRISTOLIAN #4.9 – December 2013