Wednesday 11 December 2013

Vulnerable students abandoned as Copland closes Mentoring Department

Guest Blog 

Last week a special event was held at Copland Community High School to mark the closure of the Mentoring Department at the school.  The Department, which has changed pupils' lives, is a victim of the spending cuts at the school and perhaps also of the different educational philosophy and priorities of the new management.

The event attracted an audience of more than 100 in contrast with the consultation meeting on a takeover of the school by Ark academy attended hby only 15 or so. Perhaps that showed what parents and the school community really value about Copland.

The event was opened by narrators who said:

The core of the work within the Department is dealing with emotions and relating to one another. The first time you step in, you pretty much learn to acknowledge whoever is in there by greeting and acknowledging the others existence. Just from this simple ethos....the popularity of the Department grew. Student would would come down from all different backgrounds, regardless of their 'demographic label'. Whether you're African, Indian, Somalian, Polish, Romanian, English, Caribbean......a talker, are silent, a shaker, a mover or dancer..... 

The respect and love which spills through the Department is universal, indiscriminative and is available to ALL. But then.....there is your height I guess....many tall people will have learned the hard way of being greeted by the low ceiling. Most important of all....during a very unsettling time of changes within the main school core aspect if the school has been consistent and predictable....the Love and Commitment of backbones of the department.....

Our Hearts have always been open and available to serve you.....students, ex-students, university placement students, parents and carers, Copland staff and Brent external agencies.What you all would not realise is that the Team  had support for each other by meeting regularly, ritually having clinical supervision and sharing the same ethos used with service-users towards each other...which is why it all worked. 

We are not only a Team, but a family....who are....finally....flying the nest. 

To mark this 'flight' you will be mesmerised by a colourful collection of memoirs from you....the true examples of achievement and positive we prepare to leave our symbolic imprint....please ensure your mobiles are on silent, you are sitting comfortably and are ready for the curtain call performance on behalf of Copland's very Beloved Mentoring Department. 
What will happen to these vulnerable young people? Why do specialised and seasoned home-grown staff have to leave Brent and be welcomed into neighbouring boroughs? Discussion is fruitful and healthy ..., voices need to be heard because on the night of the significant news that Nelson Mandela had passed, there was a resonating message from the Lead Learning Mentor and Dramatherapist to 'fight the academy fight in order to defend what is right!'.


Anonymous said...

I have had no personal involvement with Copland School, but am very sorry to hear of the loss of its Mentoring Department. I applaud the message at the end of this guest blog: '.. to defend what is right'. There are too many powerful people in a variety of areas of life who are using their power unreasonably. Often there is no way to stop them, because they are the ones with the power.
I would not advocate violence, or any action which would cause damage to people or property, but we do have a weapon which if enough of us use it we might make a difference. It is our words and our voices. If we see something that is wrong, an abuse of power or unfairness to those around us, we can say so. We can say, "this is wrong" and explain why we believe it is wrong. The people in power may not take any notice, but if enough people speak out, write in blogs or in letters to newspapers, it will encourage others who feel the same way to speak out as well.
I can hear a voice singing in my head (yes, I'm sure that if you are reading this, you are beginning to think there is something wrong in my head). I think that the voice is Joan Baez, and it's been there since I heard the words in the 1960's. She is singing: "but if two and two and fifty make a million, we'll see the day come round". Martin hosts this excellent blog, you have written a guest blog for him - that's the first "two". Who are going to be the next two? And the fifty ...? The more of us who speak up to try to defend what is right, the sooner the day will come round when the weight of public opinion will put those who abuse their power in the spotlight of shame, where they belong.

Anonymous said...

Your concern is appreciated by the staff at the school. Please let the people responsible know how you feel. According to the Brent website, Michael Pavey (Brent schools top man) is 'incredibly passionate' about these things. Test his 'incredible passion' by writing to him. My guess is you'll get his stock response but I won't tell you what it is because it'll spoil the surprise. However, it would be educational for all of us if you share it with us. Addresses are below:
Michael Pavey
Brent Council,
Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley HA9 0FJ