Over many weeks and months, the Council has continuously raised concerns about the management of Holland Park School with staff, trustees, the Department for Education, and Ofsted. The situation has now escalated to such a level that the Council is calling for immediate intervention by the Department for Education.
The Council has been significantly concerned about the lack of communication between the school and parents; decisions are being made about the future of the school in the absence of any engagement or collaboration and changes to the school are happening in the absence of any planning for the impact. Over recent months there have been many reports of problematic and rowdy behaviour of students outside the school. Last week a child was harmed and a teacher was taken seriously ill. This week a teacher has left the school in tears and more than 200 pupils were involved in a riot to protest against the future plans being made about their school and to express their concern about their teachers.
The Council has written to the Department for Education to highlight the need for urgent action. Teachers have expressed no confidence in the current governing body at the school and parents are threatening them with legal action. At the Council, we have been clear to the Department for Education that we have no confidence in the current governance arrangements at the school.
The Council has a proud history of excellent education across all the schools in the borough; with 65% being judged by Ofsted as outstanding. We achieve this by strong and collaborative working arrangements, and it is our firm belief that if the new Trustees at Holland Park School had engaged meaningfully with our authority and followed local guidance at an early stage, we would not find children, teachers, and parents, in such an unsatisfactory position.
My priority, and the priority of the Council, will always be the safe wellbeing and quality of education for children and young people in Kensington and Chelsea, and regretfully this has been disrupted in recent months at Holland Park School. Reports are increasing of problematic behaviour, and it remains a concern that the school’s Trustees are continuing down a path not supported by parents.
I have great respect for all those working tirelessly to help Holland Park School find its stability but, clearly, adjustments are needed.
Executive Director, Bi-Borough Children’s Services
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and the City of Westminster