School failed to protect kids from sexual abuse, according to report

By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter

Holland Park School failed to protect pupils from sexual abuse, an internal report has found.

Disciplinary action against some members of staff and a referral to the Teaching Regulation Agency – which deals with misconduct issues within the profession – are expected.

Students at the top state school in Airlie Gardens, Campden Hill Road, were also shouted at and publically humiliated, according to a brief summary of the report released by the school’s governors on Wednesday of last week.

According to governors, some staff questionnaires were destroyed under instruction from senior leaders and certain students were taken off-site or told not to attend school during Ofsted inspections.

A summary of the report released by the school’s board of governors said: “There were breaches of safeguarding in respect of both students and staff and which included failure to support students who had been victims of peer-on-peer sexual abuse.

“The behaviour policy for students was unclear, with shouting being the preferred option, combined with public humiliation.

“There was, on occasions, inappropriate use of the isolation room,” it added.

“Very little support was provided to students following traumatic events such as the Grenfell tragedy and the suicide of a student.”

The report also said there were inappropriate responses made after a former teacher at the school was found to have had a relationship with a pupil.

The governor’s brief summary added that there was bullying and discrimination towards both students and staff.

It said: “There was a culture of fear, favouritism and inequality. Some students were subject to favouritism including nominations for the school’s awards evening and being singled out for special attention.”

There was also sexist, Islamophobic and racist discrimination at the school, the report outlined, while there was a further lack of knowledge around mental health and medical and physical issues for both staff and students.

The Board of Governors for Holland Park School said in a statement: “When the board of governors of Holland Park School was reconstituted in autumn 2021, it had to deal with a huge number of serious, widespread, historic allegations made by students, parents and staff about the conduct of some senior leaders at the school and about how the school was run.

“The issues the current board inherited had been ongoing for many years and had never been resolved, either when the school was run until 2013 by the local authority… or as a single academy trust.

“The complaints from students and staff include misleading of Ofsted inspectors, safeguarding flaws that risked the welfare of students, and bullying of students and staff. The board resolved to tackle these matters and commissioned an independent investigation.

“The current board deeply regrets that the independent investigation has concluded that these events have occurred.

“We are taking the findings very seriously.”

Pictured top: Holland Park School (Picture: Flickr/Modern Schooling)





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