Secondary school in Wembley placed in special measures following Ofsted inspection

Copland Community School has been placed in special measures

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

Copland Community School has been branded as failing by education watchdog

A secondary school in Wembley which was rocked by an alleged bonus scandal among senior members of staff has been branded as failing by education inspectors.

Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue, has been placed in special measures following a report published by Ofsted today.

According to the report, the achievements of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management are all inadequate.

Among the criticisms the report lists are; below average GCSE results and not enough help being given to pupils who don’t have English as a first language.

It adds: “Around two thirds of the teaching seen during the inspection required improvement or was inadequate.”

The school was due to be refurbished with funds from the Building Schools for the Future programme but this was scrapped by Michael Gove, the education secretary.

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The report also criticises the state of the building and notes: “Some classrooms provide a completely unacceptable environment in which to teach and learn.”

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

The pair, alongside four other members of staff, were charged with fraud amid claims they paid themselves a total of £2.7million in bonuses, a claim they deny.

They face trial in September.

Graeme Plunkett, Copland’s headteacher, said they accepted the findings of the report and would use them to drive swift changes to improve the life chances of all pupils at the school.

He said: “The challenges the school faces, most of which are historic, could not be dealt with in the short time the current leadership has been in place.

“However, the report has praised and commended the hard work put in by the headteacher and the chair of governors to heal the school community and improve behaviour across board. It has also identified as a priority securing a new building that is fit for learning, and Copland will endeavour to secure such a building before September 2017, when a new school is meant to be ready for occupation through the PSB programme.”

However, the report does note strengths in the relationships between pupils.

Using a recent non-uniform day celebrating pupils’ different cultures and the creation of a gay-straight alliance as examples it says: “A strength of the school is the way that different groups of students respect and celebrate each other’s cultures and identities.

“This is important because there are so many ethnic groups represented.”

It is not yet known whether the school will face intervention from the Department for Education who, under strict new rules recommend that “failing” schools become academies, meaning they are pulled away from local authority control.

As it stands Copland is the only local authority controlled secondary school in the borough.

Mr Plunkett adds: “The school leadership and its staff will be working with Brent LA, Her Majesty’s Inspectors, The DFE, The Education Funding Agency, parents and pupils to put in effect the recommendations of the report”.