Tag Archives: Montpelier High School


No roof and – soon – no teachers?

The Smiter has informed readers about the Venturers Trust (VT) academy schools shitshow on many occasions. So there were few surprises when the useless multi academy trust run by wealthy idiot Merchant Venturers announced it was “to merge” with E-ACT, a large national multi academy trust (MAT) last September.

Few surprises except, perhaps, at E-ACT? Who were quick to confirm that they were not merging but that the arrangement was “a take-over”. Presumably so that E-ACT could distance themselves swiftly from the Venturer’s disastrous reputation?

E-ACT have taken further action to distance themselves from anything associated with the Venturers by making the trust’s senior leadership team redundant and replacing them with E-ACT recruited managers and head teachers. Hopefully with a modicum of knowledge on how to run a school?

The final stage was to transfer the hard working and long suffering teachers and support staff to the new MAT under transfer of undertakings protection of employment legislation (TUPE). This should have happened in May. Eagle-eyed readers will note, however, May is now over and the transfer has not occurred. The TUPE was postponed until June, due to issues with the roof on Montpelier High School, previously Colston Girls School.

It appears that this roof has been removed, which has had a bit of a negative impact not only on the school but on adjacent shops and flats. At the time of writing the roof is still missing while groups of Merchant Venturers, E-ACT managers and Bristol City Council education bosses sit around the table arguing about who is going to pay for it.

The bill runs into the millions and those of you who have bought property before might wonder about a pre-purchase surveyor. Did E-ACT not employ a surveyor or did the surveyor miss the fact that the school roof was missing?

This is, of course, the oldest building trick in the book. Put a price in, rip the roof off and then, while looking concerned, add a few zeros to the original price. The customer, whose property is roofless, then has no choice but to cough up. If you have not heard of this trick, ask Marv about the Bristol Beacon eventually costing us £135m during major cuts to services.

Latest news is that the TUPE has now been postponed until September. But privately, when asked, E-ACT managers are reluctant to make assurances of when the transfer will take place. But they are “hopeful” it will happen, “in the future”.

Where does that leave the seven schools, their pupils and prospective new students hoping for some type of education in the next academic year? Arguments over who’s going to pay for the roof continue with little sign of a resolution.

Meanwhile all the Venturer’s Trust bosses have been made redundant and paid off. If E-ACT pull out, they will take their newly appointed bosses with them. Leaving current Venturers Trust teachers and support staff in limbo, wondering who is going to pay them or line manage them.

This is a total clusterfuck. One hope is that another MAT will step in, take over a massive deficit, pay the millions of pounds for a new roof on a crumbling building and recruit some education bosses capable of turning these failing schools around. Good luck with that.

Whoever thought it was a good idea to let the private sector run education for a profit because they are more ‘efficient’ is demonstrably a fucking idiot.