Industrial action threat over redundancies plans at troubled secondary school in Wembley

Bosses plan to axe 30 non-teaching posts at Copland Community School

Bosses plan to axe 30 non-teaching posts at Copland Community School - Credit: Archant

A troubled secondary school is facing further misery with the threat of industrial action from staff following plans to axe 30 non-teaching posts.

Raheem Sterling with Paul Lawrence

Raheem Sterling with Paul Lawrence - Credit: Archant

Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue, Wembley, is proposing the job cull months after around 40 members of staff left their roles – including headteacher Graeme Plunkett.

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.

A number of teachers are expected to lose their jobs next year as a third round of redundancies take place.

The school became an academy in September after it was placed in special measures by education watchdog Ofsted.

Hank Roberts, a geography teacher and the secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “It is a disgrace that the education of children is being sacrificed like this.

“We will be looking into what can be done to try and stop these job losses including industrial action. The education at Copland will not improve with all these cuts it can only get worse. We will not sit back and allow this to happen.”

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One of the possible casualties is Paul Lawrence, the school’s football coach since 1993.

The 53-year-old, from Kilburn, has launched the careers of numerous top players including England and Liverpool player Raheem Sterling.

Mr Lawrence’s proteges include Kerrea Gilbert (Arsenal, Shamrock Rovers), Teejay Duncan (Luton Town), Kameron English (Watford), Tyrell Miller-Rodney (Brentford), Reece Mitchell (Chelsea under-21s, England under-18s), Dean Sylvester (Chelsea, QPR, Harrow) and Andrew Whorms (Barnet).

The father-of-two said: “It has been an incredible 20 years and every one of my pupils feel like they are my son.

“My job isn’t just teaching them about how to behave on the pitch but how to behave when they are not on it too. I hope that something else will come up for me as I enjoy teaching football.”

His role will now have to be filled by the school’s full-time PE teachers.

A council spokesman said the redundancies were only at the consultation stage and no decisions have been made.

Earlier this month, Sir Alan Davies, 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.