Socialist Worker

Corrupt Copland head made to pay back thousands

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2618

A strike against academisation at Copland school

A strike against academisation at Copland school


A former head teacher and his former colleagues have been ordered to pay back thousands of pounds they unlawfully received from a west London school.

Alan Davies was the head teacher of Copland Community School in Wembley, Brent, which became the Ark Elvin Academy in September 2014. He paid himself £400,000 in just one year.

Workers in the NUT, NASUWT and ATL unions staged several strikes in 2013 and 2014 against the academy plan.

The High Court found last week that Davies and others benefited from “vast sums” they received in illicit bonuses from the school over a number of years.

The others are former deputy head Richard Evans, former HR manager Michele McKenzie and former school bursar Columbus Udokoro.

Davies had previously been knighted for services to education.

He was convicted of false accounting in 2013 and stripped of his knighthood in 2014.

The court last week said that his justifications for the payments were “patently untrue” and “false”.

And the judge criticised the former chair of governors Indravadan Patel and former vice chair of governors Martin Day, who sanctioned the bonuses.

Reckless 

Justice Zacaroli said they had shown “reckless indifference” and had carried out a “dishonest breach of fiduciary duty”. The court found that Davies, Patel and Day had breached their duties to the council, leading to losses of over £1 million.

Evans, Udokoro and McKenzie were found to have been in knowing receipt of payments arising from those breaches of duties.

A further hearing in October will decide how much each of the six must pay back.

Campaigner Hank Roberts, who is a member of the NEU union’s joint executive council, was the original whistle blower.

He said, “I and the other school reps were suspended by Davies and faced dismissal charges after I blew the whistle.

“Later we were reinstated. I, the unions and the council have been totally vindicated.”

He added, “This is occurring far too often, especially in academies that have inadequate systems of financial oversight and control.

“To lessen this corruption, all academies should be brought back under local authority control.”


Red card over pay for footballer’s firm

A former education services boss is refusing to pay two workers money they are owed—despite an employment tribunal instructing him to do so.

The two NEU union members worked at Middlesbrough Alternative Provisions (Map) Ltd, owned by ex-Manchester City footballer Jamie Pollock.

Pollock terminated their employment in January with just one week’s notice.

In May an employment tribunal ruled that the firm was in breach of contract.

This was its failure to pay the staff notice pay, repay wages that had been unlawfully deducted and failure to give them itemised salary slips.

It ordered Map Ltd to pay one worker £3,106 and the other £1,934. But neither has received any money.

In March, Pollock had applied to Companies House to have the firm dissolved.

Joint general secretary of the NEU Mary Bousted said, “We will not back down until our members get what is rightfully theirs.”


The Scottish teachers’ union EIS has called a national demonstration in support of a 10 percent pay claim. It will take place in Glasgow on Saturday 27 October.

It has also said “members will be asked to consider strike action if agreement cannot be reached”.


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