Schools

Trustees leave as new investigation opens at Holland Park

School dubbed the 'Socialist Eton' has faced allegations of a 'toxic' working culture and 'public shaming' of students

School dubbed the 'Socialist Eton' has faced allegations of a 'toxic' working culture and 'public shaming' of students

Exclusive

Another investigation has been launched at Holland Park school, which is under scrutiny over allegations of a “toxic” environment, after a staff member was recorded apparently shouting at a pupil.

It comes as four more governors resigned at the west London school, with experienced leaders parachuted in by the government in their place.

The ‘outstanding’ school, dubbed the “Socialist Eton”, has faced allegations of a “toxic” working culture and “public shaming” of students, prompting a council investigation.

Now another investigation is underway after an audio recording posted by a campaign group of former Holland Park students surfaced online.

It appeared to show a staff member shouting at a pupil last Friday to “shut up” and “don’t answer back”.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) said the local authority designated officer was coordinating an investigation.

Jane Farrell, the school’s new chair of trustees, said the incident was “immediately dealt with”.

“Appropriate action is happening at present that involves support from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,” she said.

Council launched ‘learning review’ in September

RBKC launched a three-month “learning review” in September into allegations of safeguarding failures at the school. The council said this week it will be led by Kate Richards, the former chief inspector at the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

Farrell said Richards had “significant experience in the field of effective safeguarding practice”.

The school’s leadership team “welcomes the review – viewing it both as a chance to improve on the good practice already existing at Holland Park and as a means to learn from recommendations that the review may make”.

Four new trustees were appointed last Friday (see box out) with the support of the Department for Education. All are “experienced and senior education professionals who have committed to service the Holland Park School community”, Farrell said.

Trustees who resigned will remain members

They take the place of Margaret Allen, Elizabeth Rutherford, Dr Krish Soni and Michael Tory. The four, who resigned on Tuesday, will remain as members of the trust.

The DfE’s academy handbook states there should be “significant separation” between members and trustees. The government’s “strong preference is for a majority of members to be independent of the board of trustees”.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by any of these trustees.

Farrell thanked them for “their dedicated service” to secure “the school’s successes”.

Farrell, a specialist in culture change, was sent in by the DfE after the former chair resigned last month.

Colin Hall, the school’s head, will also retire at the end of this year.

Holland Park


More from this theme

Schools

Revealed: The 2021 Pearson Teaching Awards winners

Fifteen winners from across UK schools and colleges recognised

Freddie Whittaker
Schools

Rethink ‘flawed’ MFL GCSE reforms, heads and exam boards urge

Nine organisations question plan to make students learn a set of up to 1,700 frequently-used words

Freddie Whittaker
Schools

On hold: NLE programme delayed until September

Reforms delayed and interim contract awarded with DfE citing Covid

Samantha Booth
Schools

Software supplier takes legal action against second trust

Bromcom Computers has filed a High Court claim against Academies Enterprise Trust

James Carr
Schools

New uniform guidance: What schools need to know

DfE publishes statutory school uniform guidance for the first time

Freddie Whittaker
Schools

Schools told to hold off on three-year MIS contract

'Serious concerns' after supplier announces it is scrapping one-year rolling contracts

James Carr

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply to Tom Cancel reply

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

One comment

  1. Oh my gosh!!!!! A teacher having to raise their voice at a pupil. Give me a break, this is why this generation of children will never build resilience. I and most of the teachers, I have worked with, have raised my voice hundreds of times. Yet councils such as RBKC allow hundreds of parents to neglect their child, not send them to school or simply treat schools as their servants. If they investigated every teacher that shouted there would be no one left in the profession.