Union boss vows to fight any plans to convert failing school in Wembley into an academy

Copland Community School is in special measures

Copland Community School is in special measures - Credit: Archant

Hank Roberts claims there is an ‘obvious attempt’ to convert Copland Community School

Copland Community School is in special measures

Copland Community School is in special measures - Credit: Archant

A teaching union boss hasvowed to fight for a troubled school in Wembley placed in special measures by Ofsted to stall an ‘obvious attempt’ to convert it into an academy.

Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue has been placed in special measures following a report published by the education standards body, which found it was inadequate in nearly all areas.

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

The Department for Education (DfE) recommend that “failing” schools become academies, meaning they are pulled away from local authority control.


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But Hank Roberts, national president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has said the report was an “obvious attempt to make the school become an academy by branding it failing.”

He told the Times: “No doubt this is their plan for Copland which we will resolutely oppose.”

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

The pair, alongside four other members of staff, 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.

Among the criticisms in the report, released last week 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 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 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.

But Mr Roberts, who blew the whistle on the alleged bonuses scandal, said: “What should happen is that Michael Gove should allow the school to be rebuilt now as was originally agreed in Building Schools for the Future.”

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 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.”

Copland’s current head teacher Graeme Plunkett, has accepted the findings of the report.

He said: “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”.

The DFE failed to comment.

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