Monday, 17 June 2013

Copland staff and parents issue challenge to Michael Gove and Brent Council

The teacher unions at Copland High School, Wembley, which is facing forced academisation by the DfE and an Interim Executive Board imposed by Brent Council,, have issued the following press release:

Since the very well supported strike action on 23rd May, Copland Community School staff in Wembley have set up an action group. On Thursday 13th June at a lively parents meeting at the school parents decided to also set up an action group. They will be coordinating jointly to continue their opposition to the imposition of an Interim Executive Board (IEB) and a forced academy.

Key demands are a secret ballot of all staff and parents before any decisions are made and a commitment from the Government to rebuild the appalling school buildings that the HMI said were not fit for purpose and adversely effected pupils' education.

Parents and staff, as well as the Headteacher and Chair of Governors, were very disappointed that neither Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of the Council and a Copland school governor, nor Cllr Michael Pavey, Lead member for Education attended the meeting despite claiming that parents views were important. No-one came from Brent Children and Families either despite claiming to support the school and its Headteacher.

It was clear that the parents remain loyal to the school and are prepared to defend it. Questions asked by Hank Roberts, ATL President in his letter to Labour Councillors at the end of May (see below) remain unanswered. 

The Unions and Action Groups have also asked to meet with Michael Gove. The letter reads:
You will be aware of the situation at Copland Community School in Brent. After a parents meeting last week to discuss the Ofsted report and its ramifications, parents set up an action group which will be co-ordinating with the staff action group.

Representatives from these action groups request an urgent meeting with you before any decisions are made about Copland's future. We are aware that you have met with representatives from Gladstone Park Primary School. We would hope and expect, therefore, that such an invitation be extended to Copland as well.
 The joint unions are looking for another day of strike action before the end of term if  they cannot get agreement from the Local Authority and the DfE that Copland will not be forced to become an academy.

Questions yet unanswered by Councillors

1) What actual educational evidence, other than Government propaganda, do you have that turning a school into an academy improves teaching and learning?
2) Why would you seek to ignore the Ofsted Report's recommendation that there be “an external review of Governance” at Copland, which is not an imposition of an IEB?
3) How do you answer the detailed points raised in the Chair of Governors letter, written on behalf of the Governing Body, explaining what had been done and crucial background information?
4) If Brent is claiming to be acting in the best interests of pupils' education then will you be asking the Governors to call a meeting of parents and carers to actually establish their views, or do you intend to have no consultation with parents?
5) As the last IEB at Copland failed to overcome the school's problems, what leads you to believe, and what evidence do you have, that it will succeed this time, especially if the staff did not want to co-operate with this imposed undemocratic body with no proper staff or parent representation?
6) Why would you and a Labour Council be acting to implement Gove's policies and do his 'dirty work' for him?

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