Teachers in Wembley strike over academy plans

Strike outside Copland Community School this morning.

Strike outside Copland Community School this morning. - Credit: Archant

Staff at Copland Community voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of action

Teachers at a secondary school in Wembley battling against plans from central government to turn it into an academy staged a walk out today in protest.

Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue was closed as teachers and union members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

A demo was held outside school gates this morning.

Jean Roberts, Brent National Union of Teachers (NUT) secretary told the Times: “This was not an anti school strike or an anti council strike it was about saying to the government that we think Michael Gove and the DfE are wrong and that academy conversion is not the right answer.”

Academy status was proposed after the school was placed in special measures by Ofsted earlier this month.

Among the criticisms outlined in the report was the state of the school building which it said provided an “unacceptable environment for learning.”

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The school has been promised funds to undergo a multi million pound refurbishment as part of the Priority Schools Build programme, but funding has yet to materialise.

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

The pair, alongside four other staff members were charged with fraud amid claims they paid themselves illegal bonuses amounting to £2.7m.

They deny the claims and will face trial in September.

The Department for Education said it believed the support of a strong sponsor was the best way to help the schools improve.

Schools which become academies are placed with a sponsor and taken away from local authority control.