By Tuesday evening Brent NUT and ATL Secretary Hank Roberts had used a bicycle D-lock to lock himself by the leg to a ten metre flagpole on the Wembley Park Sports Ground sports hall rooftop.
This was indeed his last ditch attempt to make his voice heard, despite already suffering a £3,750 ($7,945) bill in costs, a two-year ban from the site and the possibility of facing prison over contempt of court charges. But it worked.
As well as myself, coverage from all the local newspapers, The BBC, ITN and London Evening Standard had picked up the story. The sports ground was crawling with photographers and supporters of the campaign arrived from across the city.
This all came at the time of the latest revelation in the Wembley Park Ark Academy scandal.
Already the school opening had been pushed forward to September 2008 with a temporary planning license, which would see 200 children facing their first two years in the school surrounded by a construction site. Then Ark representative Chris Randall let slip it would be the taxpayer funding the temporary accommodation for those pupils.
In last week’s Wembley and Kingsbury Times journalist Alex Wellman exposed the councils “stealing kids” tactics.
Brent Council were caught writing letters to parents with children already placed in other local schools, urging them to swap to the Ark Wembley Academy – that being the school that does not exist yet.
Yet again, this backtracks on the original reasons why Ark and Brent Council insisted the Academy must be built on the Wembley Sports Ground location.
First they, and the Liberal Democrats, said, it was the only location. It was not. There were two other known locations in the borough where the school was more needed. But Brent Council ‘forgot’ to inform Ark of that. Just as Brent Council forgot to inform the Brent taxpayer that the Church of England was also up for “sponsoring” the academy, leaving them only to Ark to “choose” from.
Second, Brent Council argued the Academy must be built or 200 displaced children would not have a school and lose out on their education. Now it is uncovered that Brent and Ark are stealing pupils from existing schools.
But this tactic exposes a more sinister approach. It is not just stealing kids. It has a knock on effect. The schools that lose pupils are already under capacity, Wembley Primary on East Lane at 86 pupils and Preston Park at 97 pupils.
The more pupils that swap to the Academy, the schools capacity reduces further and state funding, taxpayer funding, is cut, leaving those schools under threat of closure. And suddenly the only school left in the area is the privatised one. State education disappears in the area, but privatised education, education for profit, succeeds.
Tent City Eviction: Day One
Stop them Privatising Our Schools available on Reel News issue 12
Wembley Occupation available on Reel News issue 10
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