Consultation launched into academy conversion plans for secondary school in Wembley

Copland Community School is in Cecil Avenue, Wembley

Copland Community School is in Cecil Avenue, Wembley - Credit: Archant

A public consultation into controversial plans to convert a troubled secondary school in Wembley into an academy has begun.

If proposals are given the green light Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue, will become an ARK academy in September next year.

It will move from its current site into new buildings in September 2016.

The school is currently governed by an interim executive board, which was appointed by Brent Council, after it was placed into special measures following an inspection by education watchdog Ofsted.

Staff have carried out two rounds of industrial action following an announcement earlier this year that the school could be converted into an academy.

The consultation will start this month with a meeting with the school’s staff.

Once that has taken place there will be subsequent meetings with parents and the community including local primary schools and other interested parties. A public consultation meeting will be held on December 5 at 5pm.

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If the proposal is agreed, Delia Smith OBE, who is the principal of Ark Academy in Forty Lane, Wembley, will take on the role as executive head working with the school’s head teacher.

Cllr Michael Pavey, Brent Council’s lead member for children and families, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a new beginning at Copland.

Ark Academy in Wembley is hugely popular with local parents.

“We want Copland to be just as good and just as popular. I warmly encourage local families to get involved to shape the future of their school.”

Last month, the school announced 30 non-teaching posts would be axed by Christmas despite around 40 members of staff leaving their roles in the summer – including headteacher Graeme Plunkett.

Unions have threatened industrial action if the job losses occur.

A letter shown to the Times from Dr Richard Marshall, the school’s interim head, claims the redundancies are essential as the school is battling with a £1.5million deficit.

The job losses were announced days after Sir Alan Davies, the school’s former headteacher, was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years at Southwark Crown Court after pleading guilty to false accounting.

He was cleared of six charges of fraud in relation to allegations of a £2.7m bonus scam but admitted creating a false paper trail on bonus payments and allowances.

Dr Richard Evans, 55, former deputy head, Dr Indravadan Patel, 73, ex-chair of governors, Columbus Udokoro, 62, former school bursar, Michelle McKenzie, 53, ex- HR manager and Martin Day, 58, former-vice chair of governors, were also found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud Brent Council.