By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter
Schoolteachers have gone on strike during the exam season, causing a “significant impact” on pupils.
Holland Park School, in Airlie Gardens, Campden Hill Road, was forced to shut its doors to all pupils except those sitting exams on Wednesday, and further strike action could take place on June 28, 29 and 30.
The strike action is the latest in a series of issues at the school, after a culture of bullying and harassment was revealed last year.
In May, a summary of an independent investigation released by the school’s governors said there had been a “culture of fear and favouritism”.
Kids were allegedly targets of public humiliation and shouting at the school, the investigation found, and there were also safeguarding breaches.
The report also said there had been sexist, Islamophobic and racist discrimination at the school.
As many as 70 teachers went on strike in May, demanding the school reconsider plans to have the school join a multi-academy trust.
Governors at the school voted for it to join the country’s largest multi-academy trust, United Learning, but staff and parents and the council have called on the school to consider other options.
Ofsted downgraded the school from “outstanding” to “inadequate” – the worst possible rating – after April inspections.
The education watchdog found the school had “declined substantially” since it was last inspected seven years ago, according to a report released on June 17 this year.
Turbulence in the school’s leadership had destabilised the school community and inspectors found behaviour polices had not been updated leading to a vacuum with staff and students confused over how to deal with unacceptable behaviour.
Ofsted added that bad behaviour had also spilled out into the local area after the school day.
Kensington and Chelsea’s councillors unanimously voted to work together to try to restore Holland Park School’s reputation on Wednesday night.
Councillor Mona Ahmed, who had recently met with parents and teachers, said the issues were down to the actions of a failing governing body and the absence of leadership.
She said: “The governing body’s failure to consult with teachers or to respond to teachers’ requests to meet ultimately forced staff to take industrial action which is having a significant impact on pupils during exam time.”
Councillor Kasim Ali, a parent at Holland Park School, said: “I had my son at home while I was on the picket line supporting teachers. Why? Because the board of governors will not listen. They have ignored [us] completely.”
A spokesman for the school said: “We are obviously concerned that the school may be closed to all students on these days, except those taking exams, but are grateful to staff who are coming in to ensure exams can be sat.
“We have had one positive meeting with teachers and the NEU local reps have indicated a willingness to engage. We clearly hope that further action is called off. School work is being provided so that children can continue their education from home.”
Pictured Top: Holland Park School (Picture: Google Street View)
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