Students hand in petition against academy plans for secondary school in Wembley
PUBLISHED: 15:03 11 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:40 11 March 2014
A petition signed by more than 400 students opposing their school becoming an academy has been handed in to Brent Council.
The pupils from Copland Community School on Cecil Avenue, Wembley, are accusing town hall chiefs of turning a blind eye and ignoring their views by allowing Ark Academy to takeover from September this year.
The controversial proposals were made after the school was placed in special measures following an inspection by education watchdog Ofsted last year.
The petition was sent with a covering letter from a student, who wishes to remain anonymous, calling for the council to listen to their views.
It says: “We are not interested in councillors saying that they want to do the best for us. Prove it.
“We have made it clear that we do not want to become an academy. Support us, our teachers and our parents to keep our school a community school.”
The letter was also sent to all 63 Brent councillors.
Staff at the school have staged six strikes in recent months against the plans and are contemplating taking legal action to halt the proposals.
Seamus Sheridan, the school’s rep for the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said students have the right to have their voices heard.
“The question ‘Is it fair’ runs right through the petition and kids have a highly-developed sense of justice and of right and wrong,” he added.
Shyam Gorsia from the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) added: “How do we expect ordinary young people to engage themselves in matters which affect their lives if this is the reaction they get?”
Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council told the Times he would be “more than happy” to sit down with these pupils to discuss the future of the school.
Delia Smith, principal of Ark Academy, said the changes were needed to obtain a fresh start for the school and a majority of parents supported the new plans.
She added: “Over the coming months, there will be a number of assemblies and other opportunities for students and staff members to discuss any issues with representatives from ARK and we want to work closely with the community to ensure Copland is the success it deserves to be.”