Former Copland School staff told they must pay back £2.7million from illegal bonus payments

Former headteacher of the Copland School, Sir Alan Davies, outside Southwark Crown Court in London i

Former headteacher of the Copland School, Sir Alan Davies, outside Southwark Crown Court in London in 2013. Picture: PA Images.Ryan Hooper - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

A disgraced former headteacher and five former members of his staff have been told by the High Court they must pay back money they illegally received while working at Copland School.

Justice Zacaroli ruled Alan Davies, along with five other senior members of staff at the school in Wembley, must pay back illicit bonuses they received while he was head.

Davies, alongside former deputy head Dr Richard Evans, former HR manager Michele McKenzie and former school bursar Columbus Udokoro, benefited from the cash.

Davies was stripped of his knighthood after he was given a two-year suspended sentence for false accounting in 2013.

In the same trial the former staff had conspiracy to defaud charges dropped.

He resigned from his £160,000-a-year post in October 2009 after more than 20 years in the job, after the claims.

At Southwark Crown Court in 2013, Davies pleaded guilty to six counts of false accounting. He admitted creating eight back-payment documents at the same time, for sums of about £315,000.

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According to the judgment on Friday, Davies received £950,000 in total from the £2.707,391 that was overpaid.

The exact sums to be repaid will be decided at a High Court hearing in October,

Copland School, in Cecil Avenue, has been the Ark Elvin Academy since 2014.

A statement from Hank Roberts, the National Education Union rep who worked at the school and was suspended after whistleblowing on the scandal, said: “I, along with Shane Johnschwager, NASUWT and John Kubenk, NUT were suspended by Davies and faced dismissal charges after I blew the whistle. Later Davies was suspended and we were reinstated. I, the unions and the council have been totally vindicated.

“It was tough at the time, but I would encourage all who discover anything similar to whistleblow.”

Cllr Margaret McLennan, deputy leader of Brent Council, said: “We are delighted with the verdict as it means the money that had been swindled will be returned and can now be used for the benefit of local people.”