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’.”
*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.
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.
NUT Health & Safety Adviser, Brent Teachers’ Association