Academies

Holland Park School set to join United Learning academy trust

Exclusive

A London school under scrutiny over allegations of a “toxic” working culture and high executive pay is set to become part of England’s largest academy trust, Schools Week has learned.

Holland Park School, dubbed the “socialist-Eton”, was told last year by the government to rein in the salaries of its highly-paid school leaders and to join a multi-academy trust.

In a letter to parents today, it was announced that the governing body has entered a “due diligence process” with their preferred partner, United Learning.

Jane Farrell, chair of governors, said they looked at staying as a single academy trust, but the future of the school is “best secured and stabilised” through joining a MAT. It is understood Ark Schools was also in contention.

Governors set a requirement for any MAT to “preserve the unique identity of the school as a flagship in the London education system”, as well as the opportunity for the school “to be a key player in wider work, such as teaching school hubs and other similar national roles”.

Farrell said on Monday: “The values of United Learning match those within the criteria set by governors.

“Governors realise some parents and carers may not agree with our decision. We are also aware that a change like this causes uncertainty. In our view there are many advantages that come with being part of a family of schools.”

United Learning want process ‘managed calmly’

Writing to parents, United chief executive Sir Jon Coles and secondary education director Sally Coates said they were “very conscious” they need to ensure the process of joining the trust is “managed calmly and effectively and that it does not interfere with successful completion of this academic year”.

Coles

“We have already had very positive discussions with the governing body and look forward to our colleagues spending more time in the school during the remainder of this academic year.”

They are aiming for the school to join by September.

Two investigations by the local authority and by the school into complaints by former staff and students of a “toxic” culture continue.

New trustees have been parachuted in by government and the headteacher Colin Hall has retired earlier than planned.

In a statement, sent to Schools Week, Farrell said the MAT process has been “robust and fair” and that United “demonstrated real ambition for the school”.

Bercow steps down from school governors

It comes as former House of Commons speaker John Bercow stepped down from school’s governing body on Friday, saying he didn’t want to be a “distraction” following a report on allegations of bullying against him.

An independent expert panel found Bercow was a “serial bully” while serving as speaker. He denies the allegations.

He told Schools Week: “I didn’t want to be a distraction. I’d been on for 15 months and it’s been a hugely busy and challenging time for the school. I’ve made my input as productively as possible.”

Latest education roles from

Internal Quality Assurance Employability and Distance Learning

Internal Quality Assurance Employability and Distance Learning

Capital City College Group

Distance Learning Tutor

Distance Learning Tutor

Capital City College Group

Event Support Team Leader

Event Support Team Leader

MidKent College

E-Sport Technician

E-Sport Technician

MidKent College

Digital Technician

Digital Technician

MidKent College

Student Welfare Officer

Student Welfare Officer

MidKent 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

Academies

Academies: No MAT target, but mergers growing

Around one in five trusts which were running schools in 2019 are no longer in operation

Jack Dyson
Academies

Emergency capital cash handouts soar to £12m after funding squeeze

Funding for urgent work jumps 300% in 12 months, as experts warn figures are 'sign of the times'

Jack Dyson
Academies

Lack of MAT get-out clause sees strikes, petitions and open letters

Unrest at MATs shows allowing schools to leave trusts would create 'much healthier relationships', claims union rep, but how...

Jack Dyson
Academies

Ministers face another £500k loss on failed £35m free school

Parkfield also says it ‘can’t compete’ with a newer free school, laying bare problems with government’s flagship policy

Jack Dyson

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

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