Former head to be prosecuted for fraud at school
A former secondary headteacher, knighted for his services to education, and his former deputy are to be prosecuted for fraud. Sir Alan Davies (pictured) was suspended from Copland Community School in Wembley, northwest London, in 2009 after allegations of serious financial mismanagement at the secondary school.
Now police have revealed that Sir Alan will appear with former Copland deputy head Richard Evans and Michele McKenzie, Copland's former human resources manager, at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 12 June. Sir Alan is charged with fraud by abuse of position, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to commit false accounting. Dr Evans is charged with fraud by abuse of position and conspiracy to defraud. Ms McKenzie is charged with conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to commit false accounting.
As TES went to press, four other people remained on police bail in connection with the case. They are understood to include Dr Evans's wife Lesley, arrested in March 2011 on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and theft. Columbus Udokoro, Copland's former bursar, was arrested a week later on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.
In April 2011, Indravaden Patel, Copland's former chair of governors, and Martin Day, former deputy chair of governors, were also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.
The allegations surrounding Copland Community School, which has foundation status, led Brent Council to tighten up its auditing of foundation schools. But as TES revealed earlier this month, more than a year after this tightening-up, major financial problems emerged at another Brent foundation school. Malorees Junior School is proposing to slash teacher numbers by a quarter to deal with overspending high enough to force it to close.
It was the fourth recent case of alleged serious mismanagement in a Brent school. In February, the authority took control of the budget of Kensal Rise Primary in Kilburn and suspended head Joyce Page after an "investigation into alleged breaches of financial regulation". Last year, Brent Council took control of the budget at Furness Primary School in Harlesden and dismissed head Alan King after allegations of "serious mismanagement".