Ofsted

Holland Park parents now threaten to sue Ofsted in MAT battle

They claim school's 'inadequate' judgment is 'intended to drive through' plans to join United Learning

They claim school's 'inadequate' judgment is 'intended to drive through' plans to join United Learning

23 Jun 2022, 19:35

More from this author

Parents at the former ‘outstanding’ Holland Park School in west London have threatened fresh legal action in their battle to stop it joining United Learning, accusing Ofsted of an “abuse of power”.

Schools Week revealed earlier this month that the high-profile standalone school, once dubbed the “socialist Eton” but recently embroiled in a bullying and discrimination scandal, had been rated ‘inadequate’.

The Ofsted verdict raised questions about why some recently exposed failures had not been picked up in previous visits, including a 2020 no-notice inspection that was sparked by concerns about leadership and pupil development.

But the latest inspection has infuriated parent and staff campaigners opposed to governing body plans for the school to join England’s biggest academy trust.

The HPS Parents Collective says Ofsted’s visit this year “appears intended to drive through the school’s conversion to a multi-academy trust”.

The ‘inadequate’ rating moves the school’s future from governors “into the hands of the Department for Education”, it says in a letter to the inspectorate.

This makes it an “improper purpose” for an inspection and an “abuse of power”, parents allege, one of three grounds cited for a potential judicial review. Campaigners also demand a copy of correspondence with ministers.

But Ofsted’s report says it was a routine inspection. Many ‘outstanding’ schools had faced visits since their exemption was lifted in 2020.

Campaigners also claim that the inspection did not follow fair process by allegedly not putting some criticisms to the school leadership.

They say too that the report’s contents only merited downgrading to ‘requires improvement’, as the school had strong exam results and it was “highly unusual” for schools to be downgraded from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’..

The parents’ group, which says it has about 350 members, has already filed for a judicial review against the plans to join United Learning. It is backed by the National Education Union, with both groups claiming the school’s consultation was flawed.

The governors’ plan to join United has been awaiting government sign-off. But ministers and regional schools commissioners have greater powers to determine the future of ‘inadequate’ schools, including determining which trust they join.

Inspectors criticised Holland Park for deteriorating pupil behaviour and for “cramming” five years’ of content into three years to boost GCSE pass numbers.

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, told MPs in 2019 that Ofsted has seen an increase in the number of legal challenges against its judgments.

But schools are often put off by the costs of taking Ofsted to court – which one trust estimated would be £100,000.

Ofsted declined to comment.

Latest education roles from

Level 3 Nursery Assistant

Level 3 Nursery Assistant

Reach Academy Feltham

Curriculum Manager in Sports and Public Services

Curriculum Manager in Sports and Public Services

Buckinghamshire College Group

HR Coordinator (FTC)

HR Coordinator (FTC)

Academies Enterprise Trust

Specialist Trainer Engineering: Electrical Installation or Maintenance, Instrumentation & Control or Mechanical Engineering

Specialist Trainer Engineering: Electrical Installation or Maintenance, Instrumentation & Control or Mechanical Engineering

Bridgwater & Taunton College

Headteacher – Woodchurch CE Primary School

Headteacher – Woodchurch CE Primary School

Chester Diocesan Academies Trust

Maths Achievement Mentor

Maths Achievement Mentor

Barnsley College

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

Navigating NPQ Funding Cuts: Discover Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs

Recent cuts to NPQ funding, as reported by Schools Week, mean 14,000 schools previously eligible for scholarships now face...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

How do you tackle the MIS dilemma?

With good planning, attention to detail, and clear communication, switching MIS can be a smooth and straightforward process, but...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, schools and colleges can be confident that learners...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspiring Education Leaders for 10 Years

The 10th Inspiring Leadership Conference is to be held on 13 and 14 June 2024 at the ICC in...

SWAdvertorial

More from this theme

Ofsted

Ofsted wins High Court battle with school over ‘inadequate’ report

Judge says the court is 'not a proper forum for policy disagreements'

Lucas Cumiskey
Ofsted

How will ungraded Ofsted inspections work from September?

Watchdog sets out its plans after Sir Martyn Oliver scrapped subject deep dives for shorter visits

Lucas Cumiskey
Ofsted

Eight things we learned from Ofsted’s annual accounts

Inspectorate has had a 'difficult' year and faces 'significant' financial challenges, documents warn

Freddie Whittaker
Ofsted

Councils ‘hamstrung’ from supporting school leaders, review claims

But Ruth Perry's sister criticises council review for 'failing to ask key questions'

Lucas Cumiskey

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment

  1. Steven

    A quick look at the school history, and reading the actual Ofsted report seems to suggest these parents are wasting their time. the school is desperate to regain its reputation and has clearly failed students in recent years.