Wednesday 5 February 2014

Copland teachers strike for 6th time over Ark Academy takeover

Teaching staff at Copland Community High School are taking their sixth day of action tomorrow (Thursday). They have made the following statement:

How is it that a school staff can feel so united, that their pupils and their school and they themselves have been so badly treated, that they are willing to take such strike action?

Staff have passed a motion of no confidence in the IEB (Interim Executive Board) now running the school. (Please see below for the full text.) Staff have asked that a possible legal challenge be looked at as well as a complaint being made to all relevant authorities.

Michael Gove, supporter of ARK and their proposed takeover, almost daily shows the dystopian version of education by dictatorship and containment. He proposes, and is using academies and free schools, to bring in a 10 hour days for pupils. Schools to stay open 51 weeks out of 52. We say “give pupils a childhood”.

The Copland IEB's so called consultation was laughingly inadequate. Even their inadequate 'feedback form' gave a result of 86% of pupils against and 89% of staff against. Very few parents responded and though a majority were for conversion there had been no adequate correspondence with parents, no letters or documents translated to help understanding and no document explaining why the staff were against.

The Unions offered to call off the strike if the parents were given an independently overseen ballot but the IEB refused to communicate at all with the local unions.

There will be a picket at the school between 8 and 9 am tomorrow.

Copland Joint Unions Meeting 22/1/14

This Copland joint union open meeting supports;

1.        The motion of no confidence in the IEB

2.        That a complaint be made to all relevant authorities and bodies** on the basis of it and any other irregularities that come to light

**E.g. Brent Local Authority, Brent Audit and Investigation Department, The Audit Commission, Teacher unions, Michael Gove, DfE

3.        That legal action be investigated following the successful judicial review by Barking and Dagenham Council in support of Warren Comprehensive school with a view to taking legal action over the attempt to force academisation without proper information or consultation

Copland staff have no confidence in the IEB as they;

1.        Continued and oversaw a massive, indiscriminate, hugely expensive voluntary redundancy programme in the summer that took no proper account of the curriculum and failed to protect it to the detriment of pupils' education and the school.

2.        Failed to take action to improve the intake

3.        Failed to press action to get any of the money (£2.7 million) returned that was removed from the school under a previous administration, while at the same time claiming every cutback and redundancy was necessary on financial grounds.

4.        Secretly applied to the DfE to turn Copland into an ARK academy without informing, never mind consulting, and not even providing a time line to staff or parents.

5.        Have refused to allow an independently overseen secret ballot of staff or parents regarding their proposal, or properly negotiate on it, despite the Unions offer to pay for such a ballot.

6.        Have engaged in a fundamentally flawed and unfair 'consultation' procedure over support staff redundancies and are seeking such wide scale redundancies both in teaching and support staff that the education and well being of the pupils can only be harmed.

7.        Have adversely affected the school's finances by drastically reducing the 6th form numbers.

8.        Have actively pursued an anti union agenda;

a)    unilaterally abolishing the school's JCC

b)    declining to formally consult the unions over the ARK proposal

c)    unlawfully not allowing school union reps to go on training courses


mr chas said...

If I may link to another blog post of yours
How many parents picked this school for their kids for Sept 2014 ?
I think this says it all. High time this school was closed

Anonymous said...

1.You're confusing cause and effect, Mr Chas. No reason why you shouldn't, it's a complicated story. However, if you're going to comment on the consequence then then maybe you ought to be sure you're informed about what has preceded it.
2. The staff aren't fighting school closure, they're fighting the school being taken over, taken out of local democratic control (I'm assuming you're local and you think democracy is ok), by an academy chain run by the sort of people who screwed our banking system and your pension fund.