Wednesday 26 February 2014

Copland IEB opts for 'No Trust' status

 Guest blog from 'Deleted'

Another 25 teachers at Copland have been notified that they are on a new redundancy hit-list for sacking at the end of the summer term. This follows the dozens of staff who have already been sacked since last July when Brent Council sent in an Interim Executive Board (IEB) to run the school (down).

Why is the Copland IEB now being called the Copland  Lie EB? 

In the autumn they said there would be no forced redundancies. Just weeks later they are  ‘consulting’ (telling) 25 staff that in the (new) next stage of ‘staff reorganisation’ (sacking),  14 of their ‘posts will be deleted’ (14 people will be sacked).  You can apply for ‘voluntary’ redundancy  (ie sack yourself and get a bit of compensation) or wait for the school to sack you. Whichever way, it’s forced, it’s compulsory and it’s the sack. 

What do the Lie E.B give as their reasons for the sackings?

They say they’ve got more teachers than they need. Well, they would have really, wouldn’t they? It’s a measure of the Lie E.B’s success in practically closing down the 6th form  and producing an Austerity Curriculum for the rest of the school. Since last July they’ve scrapped  all the 6th form vocational subjects, loads of successful  A level and GCSE subjects, got rid of support teachers and  mentoring staff and the latest statement from them scraps Business Studies, effectively scraps Yr 7,8 and 9 Information Technology  and gets rid of Art.  They turned away good potential 6th Form students last August when they told them at the last minute they’d have to go elsewhere as they’d scrapped their subjects. They’ve narrowed the school’s curriculum offer to make it so unattractive that only 40 parents put Copland down as first choice for Sept 2014 (even less than Michaela ‘Free’ School, and they don’t even have a viable building).
Then add to that the continuing flow of inept and embarrassing decisions (scrapping Sports Days, charity events,  prize-giving evenings, progressive student associations, etc etc) which have produced columns of print in the local and national press, campaigns on social media, and disbelief among current and former  students and staff. So, dismantle the curriculum, halve the intake and, hey presto, you’ve got too many teachers! 

This is called ‘vision’.

It’s basically the same technique as the Tories have used against the NHS. Regard the institution and its staff as the enemy. Run it down, highlight all its defects. Cut staff, provide worse services to the point where no one will want to bother to fight to save it. Then flog it off to a chain.

But isn’t Copland becoming an Academy in September? Won’t they need teachers?

Of course, and no one believes that an academy chain intends to run a school with no subjects and no decent curriculum offer. After they’ve thrown away all this experience and knowledge  in this year’s sackings they’ll start advertising for new teachers, with all the expense and waste (and risk) that entails. But the new staff will be young and cheap and obedient, advised not to talk to other staff out of their rank and not to join the union. They’ll be on short-term, hire-and-fire contracts and staff turnover will be high. In a few years’ time they’ll all be agency staff and many will probably be on zero-hours contracts. Most will give up teaching in less than 5 years. This is not a prediction; it’s already happening. This is Gove’s  ‘future’ (with the acquiescence of the Copland management, it’s imported  IEB, Brent’s Michael Pavey and Mohammed Butt). And it’s what Copland staff are resisting.

Ok. But the ‘no compulsory redundancies’ promise was only a small untruth and maybe was meant only to refer to the last sacking round, no reason to call the IEB the Lie EB is it?

Yes, because the last sacking round was supposed to be the final sacking round (apart from a Leadership cull which now seems to have been  postponed until next year).  The proposed review of TLRs has not appeared and these new sackings have come out of the blue.

But there’s something else. The sacking letters Copland staff now regularly receive have always  referred  to financial reasons for the sackings and regularly trot out the excuse of  ‘the accumulated budget deficit which is currently in excess of £1.5 million’.         
2 points about this:

The ‘budget deficit’ dates from the time when the recently-convicted –in-the- courts (and earlier-knighted-by- the-Queen) ex-Head Davies ran the show. Brent Council only acted to stop his activities after being embarrassed into intervening  by union action,  have never made any attempt to retrieve the alleged £2.7 million taken from the school and did not even seek costs at his trial. (Why not?  The judge didn’t know either. Choose your own conspiracy theory).

More importantly, this is what Ark Schools, in a written answer,  told Copland staff would happen  to  this deficit when the school becomes an academy in September 2014:
It is normal practice for the deficit to be set to zero by the local authority when a school becomes an academy.
Copland staff should not have to rely on outsiders like Ark Schools  for information affecting their futures  which their own governing body should supply them with.  It would appear that, at the date the current sackings take effect (end of academic year 2013/2014), the deficit will be ‘set to zero by the local authority’.  So in August, yet more  Copland staff will lose their livelihoods in order to  reduce a budget deficit which will not any longer exist. The IEB’s reference to the ‘accumulated budget deficit’ as a justification for  dismantling the school and sacking the majority of its staff  is therefore disingenuous, an obfuscation. 

Or, in plainer English, a lie.

         I  EB?          Or Lie  EB?      Or does it just amount to the same truth-twisting  thing?



Anonymous said...

Judicial Review is the only way this matter should be settled for transparency at the very least.

At least a Judicial Review would allow everyone in the community to have a say about the future and should Ark be the most appropriate Academy Chain ?

The conflict of interest is very concerning

Anonymous said...

Lots of us thought that the original plan was to shut the school down. This now seems to be what's happening. What's the betting on there being not enough kids in September to justify 2 Ark sites, so transfer of Copland kids to Wembley Ark, sacking of the rest of Copland staff to prepare the ground for a new school on the site to open in 2 years time. Then a new head for the school who will claim to have 'turned it around' (even though it's been closed for 2 years and it's a completely new school). This was the Wilshaw myth and it'll probably work again.

Anonymous said...

Enough decent staff remaining in post to provide a broad educational provision for the 900 students still in the school is an urgent matter which needs an urgent response from Brent Council and the people elected and paid to make sure Brent children receive what their parents pay for. They don't need judges taking 5 years they need Pavey and Butt to act now.

Anonymous said...

Two 'School Improvement' inspectors from Ofsted visited Copland a couple of weeks ago. They've just produced their report.
Guess what. Since they began their School Improvement work at Copland they've judged that there's been a great amount of School Improvement in Copland, one of the schools they're employed to be part of the Improvement process in! Who'd have expected that! They must really be doing their job well. I hope their bosses are noticing this.
And since the IEB took over and sacked half the staff and reduced the student numbers drastically, standards of teaching and learning have improved exponentially. Less is clearly more!
Why not roll this strategy out across the nation. Sack all the teachers, drive away the kids. Bring in the School Improvement people to judge their own school improvement. Genius!
It's robust, it's sustainable, it's resilient, it's bullshit.
It's the way forward!