An elite state school nicknamed the ‘socialist Eton’ has been issued a termination warning notice after its Ofsted rating was cut from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’ last month.
The Department for Education said that Holland Park School, in West London, won’t close imminently and the way forward is via a trust if improvements are made.
The Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office received an Ofsted notification on June 7 confirming the school was deemed ‘inadequate and has serious weakness’, a warning notice sent to members and trustees of the school said.
In a Termination Warning Notice to the Members and Trustees of Holland Park School on June 10, Dame Kate Dethridge, wrote: ‘I need to be satisfied that the trust has capacity to deliver rapid and sustainable improvement at the academy.
‘If I am not satisfied that this can be achieved, I will consider whether to terminate the funding agreement in order to transfer the academy to an alternative academy trust.’
Dame Kate, Regional Schools Commissioner for North-West London and South-Central Region, continued: ‘In making the decision on whether to terminate the funding agreement I will consider any written representations you wish to make in response to this Termination Warning Notice [by Friday, July 1].’
Holland Park School – an elite state school nicknamed the ‘socialist Eton’ – has been issued a termination warning notice after its Ofsted rating was cut from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’ last month
A Department for Education spokesperson told MailOnline tonight: ‘Holland Park Academy’s recent Ofsted inspection underlines the need to address the issues at the school and make sure similar failings do not recur.
‘Today, United Learning has been identified as the preferred trust for HPS to join, as a strong trust with a proven track record of school improvement.
‘The wellbeing and education of the school’s pupils will continue to be the first priority and parents and stakeholders will have the opportunity to express their views.’
In its Ofsted report, inspectors said ‘serious incidents of poor behaviour’ at the school had increased, and some ‘spilled out into the local area’. They also said that leadership was ‘poor and unfit for purpose’.
Last month, the school closed its doors to all pupils except those taking A-levels and GCSEs because teachers walked out in protest against plans for it to join an academy chain.
Students had previously held a ‘riot’ against the proposals, leaving one teacher in tears.
The school got its nickname because it was popular with rich Left-wingers, and former pupils include The Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and the actress Anjelica Huston.
Last year, teachers reported Colin Hall, a disciplinarian who retired as head teacher in February, to the authorities, accusing him of abusive management.
In May, inspectors found the school to have a ‘culture of fear and favouritism’ in an investigation by its governors.
The Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office received an Ofsted notification on June 7 confirming Holland Park School, in West London, was deemed ‘inadequate and has serious weakness’, a warning notice sent to members and trustees of the school said
The investigation found there was discrimination in the school against protected characteristics, including overt sexism, Islamophobia, and racism.
It said that ‘very little support’ was provided to students following traumatic events such as the Grenfell tragedy, and that ‘public humiliation’ or shouting was used as a behaviour policy.
The school announced last year that Mr Hall would retire early, while a new chair of governors was appointed.
The Ofsted report in June found that ‘turbulence’ in the school’s leadership had ‘destabilised’ the school community, with many aspects of school life, including pupils’ behaviour, having ‘declined substantially’ since its previous inspection seven years’ ago.
The report said that pupils and staff had welcomed the ‘governors’ intervention to stop previous behaviour management strategies that they deemed unacceptable’ but that the behaviour policies had not been updated, leaving a ‘vacuum’ with staff and students ‘confused’ over how to deal with unacceptable behaviour, some of which was spilling into the local area after school.
Leaders entering pupils for exams early left them with a ‘curtailed’ education in some subjects, Ofsted said, and it found that leadership was ‘poor and unfit for purpose’, with many of the leadership team ‘overstretched’.