Brent Council urges government to release cash owed to troubled secondary school in Wembley

Copland Community School has been placed under special measures

Copland Community School has been placed under special measures - Credit: Archant

Copland Community School has been promised £18m from Government’s Priority Schools Build programme

Government officials have been urged to release money owed to a troubled school in Wembley so it can undergo a long overdue rebuild to help ease its woes.

Copland Community School was labelled inadequate in almost all areas following a recent Ofsted report which outlined a number of concerns, including the state of the building in Cecil Avenue.

The report, which placed the school in special measures, says some classrooms “provide a completely unacceptable environment in which to teach and learn.”

It also criticises the quality of teaching and achievement of pupils.

Last year it was announced Copland was set to benefit from an £18million rebuild as part of the Government’s Priority Schools Build programme, which rebuilds schools in poor condition.

Head teacher Graeme Plunkett said at the time the funds were a “fresh start” and it would enable the school to build a learning environment fit for the 21st century.

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However, the funding has yet to materialise.

Insisting they wanted the best solution for children and parents Cllr Mary Arnold, leader member for children and families at Brent Council, said it is vital the school secures the funding.

She said: “The whole school was given such a lift when this was announced and the money for a rebuild would give a much needed boost to the pupils who really deserve a break.

“We are in regular contact with the DfE (Department for Education) but have had no assurances as to when the funding will come.”

The council has submitted a ‘local authority statement of action’ to Ofsted in response to the report setting out their proposed actions and Cllr Arnold added that retaining a local say was in the best interests of the school.

She said: “We want the best solution for all pupils who have been let down for too long.

“Normal government policy would be to place the school into an academy but we think local solutions are much better. It would be more beneficial to seek a local partnership or federation.”

The school has had a troubled history and four years ago its head teacher quit followed by his deputy who was sacked.

The pair, alongside four other members of staff, were charged with fraud amid claims they paid themselves illegal bonuses amounting to £2.7m.

They deny the claims and will face trial in September.

The DfE did not respond to the Times’s request for a comment.