Guest blog by 'Antediluvian'
Having earlier had to extend the job application deadline by 2 weeks for reasons which can only be guessed at, Copland has now found a new head teacher for September when the school is scheduled to be taken over by Ark Schools, an academy chain. The new head, currently a primary head at Wembley Ark, will work with the associate head designate, Delia Smith, currently head of Wembley Ark (and who she already works with), and is a product of the Future Leaders programme which was co-founded by Ark. (Previous Future Leaders products at Copland have been very impressive in their ability to spout the standard nostrums about passion, driving change, transformative visions, making a difference etc etc, though not sufficiently impressive to conceal an absence of both independent thought and, it has to be said, emotional intelligence. It has been remarked before that, if these are going to be the Leaders then the Future doesn’t look too bright).
The announcement by Ark of the appointment of an Ark-trained Ark product as the new Ark head is likely to increase staff concern that this year’s ‘staff reorganisations’ (4 so far and more to come), the decimation of the 6th form and the introduction of the new, unattractive slimline Austerity Curriculum are part of a planned near-complete purging of staff and students preparatory to a running down of the school while the new building is erected. In this 2 year interim period, radical Arkification can be expected in which any grizzled old Copland diehards will be got rid of to allow re-stocking with young, compliant, conformist and obedient Ark-product teachers in preparation for the phoenix-like ‘re-opening’ in 2016. After this, unless the school intake radically alters, expect a new Ark school name, an aspirational new Ark uniform, enhanced verbiage levels, an embarrassing ‘vision statement’, rapid staff turnover ( termed ‘teaching unit refreshment’) and ultimately a possible slight improvement in exam results, ( yes I know there is no evidence that academies in general or Ark in particular have any beneficial effect on educational standards, but doesn’t that contrast piping on the blazer lapels look classy! ).
Things look grim indeed and with the recent biblical weather, the country plagued with floods and even a film called Noah currently playing in cinemas, it might seem that a certain school brand’s time has come and any resistance is futile. However, Copland teachers should take the longer view and find solace in the fact that, despite countless exhaustive searches over many years in and around the Mount Ararat area, there has never ever been found any remaining vestige, trace, remnant, scrap or relic of anything remotely resembling an Ark.