Tuesday 21 May 2013

Wembley School Strike Action Against Academy

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Copland Community School in Wembley has been told by the DfE that it must become an academy. Unless agreement can be reached for a way forward for the school ATL, NASUWT and NUT* members at Copland will be on strike on Thursday 23rd May 2013 after they voted overwhelmingly for action.

When Ofsted inspected the school in March they put the school in category four; inadequate. This despite the Report stating that, “The building remains in very poor condition. This … reported … 2006, 2009 and 2010 inspection reports … classrooms provide a completely unacceptable environment in which to teach and learn. The budget deficit … still stands at around £1 million. The reduction in student numbers … further budget cuts. The building and the budget are adversely affecting the school’s capacity to provide an adequate education for students.”

Hank Roberts, ATL National President and local Branch Secretary said, “Copland school has suffered enough. If Gove really wanted to help us he would have given us the new school we were promised and which he took away.

 “We have waited over fours years for the trial of our ex headteacher and other managers who allegedly took £2.7 million from school funds. The trial is in September. Surely they can wait for the judgement? If we got the money back this could be used to help rebuild the damage done to Copland’s pupils.

Tom Stone, NASUWT Brent Assistant Secretary said, “Copland school, its pupils and ist staff deserve a much better deal. What has happened in the past at Copland is a disgrace and needs addressing properly by the LA and Mr Gove. A total rebuild of the school would be a good start”.

Lesley Gouldbourne Joint NUT Secretary said, “Teachers at Copland have loyally supported their students through years of uncertainty and reduced finances and in appalling learning conditions. Students in return have supported their teachers. There is a future for Copland built on mutual co-operation and support if only the LA and Government will play their part”.

Jean Roberts, Joint NUT Secretary said, “The Unions have given an assurance that there will be no disruption to any exams taking place on Thursday. This strike is not against the school and is pupils but in support of them. It is against Michael Gove and the DfE who are undemocratically forcing schools to become academies. A motion of no confidence in his policies was passed by 99.3%  of delegates at the NAHT conference on Saturday. As their President said, ‘We cannot tolerate ..the completely unacceptable bullying of heads and governors to turn their schools into academies’.”

 

Ends

*ATL – Association of Teachers and Lecturers, NASUWT – National Association of Schoolmasters, Union of Women Teachers, NUT – National Union of Teachers.

 The letter below has been sent to the local newspapers but shows how unfair the situation is with regards Copland. We have permission to reproduce it here.

Dear Sir,

News of the outcome of the Ofsted inspection at Copland school makes for very sad reading. Inspectors placed great emphasis on the state of the school building which, many of us agree, is a very poor physical environment for its students and staff. Previous risk assessments and safety reports have highlighted poor conditions, maintenance and the presence of risky asbestos.

Isn’t it ironic, then, that the week that this Ofsted report was published coincided with the physical handover of the new Village School building and the grand opening of its Short Break Centre. After years of campaigning, by unions and the schools, Brent Council recognized that the former Hay Lane and Grove Park school (now The Village) buildings were not fit for purpose and were riddled with dangerous asbestos. These were demolished and we now have one of the best school buildings in the country for some of our most vulnerable children in Brent.

Just the week before, it was announced that the Village School had achieved its “Good” report from Ofsted. What a complete travesty and dis-service to the children of Brent that the abolition of “Building Schools for the Future” meant that Copland missed out on its promised rebuild and was left to struggle on in an environment not fit for the 21st century.

We must all get behind the teachers and students of Copland and make sure that the real story behind this school is heard.

Jenny Cooper

NUT Health & Safety Adviser, Brent Teachers’ Association

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7 comments

  1. Heather Pomroy said:

    Hi. I am a retired teacher but still in the NUT. I used to attend the Brent NUT meetings. Just to let you know I fully support your protest. If there is anything I can do – sign a petition, write letters, help with admin (from home), please let me know.
    Heather Pomroy

    24 May 2013 at 4:11pm
  2. Neil Welton said:

    Who governs this country? Is it trade unions or the Government elected by the people? What right do trade unions have to block schools from becoming academies? You seem to forget that it was Labour who first advocated academy schools – and who then won three General Elections with the policy. A policy since adopted by the Conservatives who have also won the most votes cast in a General Election. If you want a new school building, you must simply become an academy school via a public and private partnership. This is because there is no money left. The country is broke. We are as good as bankrupt. Thanks again to Labour.

    28 May 2013 at 7:55pm
  3. Rodger said:

    Where does the money for a new school build come from?

    31 May 2013 at 8:05am
  4. Debs said:

    Neil, I think you will find that academies are funded by Central Government. Private sponsors contribute very little if anything to the costs of academies. So if central government pay for the schools why are private businesses allowed to run them? There is also a knock on effect for other local authority schools in the area as money is taken from the local authority and given directly to the academy which reduces the amount of services the local authority can provide and ultimately leads to job losses. I suggest you read the anti academies briefings so that you fully understand the situation as you seem to be misinformed.

    1 June 2013 at 9:54am
  5. Neil Welton said:

    Rodger. As Debs concedes academies are a public and private partnership. Debs. This means they’re part funded by the state and part funded by the private sector. The private sector runs them as it’s far more effective. Whether the local authority loses out and the jobsworths there lose all of their jobs is really neither here or there. Excellence is the focus.

    8 June 2013 at 4:31pm
  6. Debs said:

    Neil, I would be interested to know of any academies being part funded by the private sector. They receive funding directly from Central Government. Furthermore, the staff who lose their jobs at the Local Authorities are not “jobsworths”; they are trained and skilled teachers with expertise in special needs. Where is the research or evidence to show that the private sector is more effective? Finally, how disingenuous to imply that public sector employees do not strive for excellence n our schools.

    8 June 2013 at 6:59pm
  7. Rodger said:

    Neil, so you accept that private sponsors do not contribute to the costs.

    9 June 2013 at 8:31pm