‘Culture of bullying’ at the Socialist Eton: Elite state school is accused of a string of failures dating back 18 years … including safeguarding breaches and ‘exploitation’
- A report into an elite school, Holland Park School, found safeguarding breaches
- ‘Exploitation within teacher-student relationships’ were also discovered
- The list of allegations at the dubbed ‘socialist Eton’ stretch from 2004 to 2021
An elite state school dubbed the ‘socialist Eton’ was plunged into fresh chaos last night as it was accused of a litany of failures dating back 18 years.
A report into historical allegations at Holland Park School in Kensington, west London, uncovered safeguarding breaches and ‘exploitation within teacher-student relationships’.
The school’s future is already hanging in the balance as it faces staff strikes, pupil riots and a rebellion by parents.
The new investigation said ‘very little support’ was provided to students after traumatic events such as the Grenfell tragedy, and that ‘public humiliation’ or shouting was used as a behavior policy.
The report, commissioned by the school’s governors, also said there had been a culture of ‘fear, favoritism and inequality’.
An investigation into Holland Park School in Kensington, west London, found safeguarding breaches and ‘exploitation within teacher-student relationships’
Colin Hall (pictured) was headmaster of the London school for the entire time of the allegations, having retired earlier this year
Dozens of former pupils and staff were interviewed and allegations stretched between 2004 and 2021.
Colin Hall was headmaster for all of that period before retiring this February. He had been credited with turning the previously failing school around, but his strict discipline methods angered many Left-wing teachers.
Last year, staff reported him to the authorities for alleged abusive management, while 100 former pupils signed a letter claiming the school had a ‘toxic’ environment.
Cases of bullying, favoritism and the public humiliation of staff and students were all found in the report
One ex-pupil, Zahra Enver, claimed that, aged 15, she found her face on a poster saying: ‘Wanted for poor grades.’
The board of governors is currently facing backlash from parents over plans to transfer the school into the control of United Learning, a multi-academy trust. Students also held a ‘riot’ last week in protest, leaving one staff member in tears.
A ballot of unionized staff members saw 96 per cent of teachers declare they have no confidence in the governors. They are now considering strike action.
The investigation looked into claims of safeguarding breaches, bullying, discrimination and inequality in respect of both teachers and students. Some of those giving evidence were ‘still traumatized by their experiences,’ the report said. ‘At times, interviewees were extremely distressed in having to revisit their time at Holland Park School.’
The report said the school had failed to support pupils who had been victims of peer-on-peer sexual abuse. There were also ‘inappropriate responses’ to the case of a teacher who had a relationship with a pupil.
The board of governors said the report was by an independent investigator and that ‘on the balance of probabilities every complaint is found to have happened’.
‘These include bullying, favoritism and the public humiliation of staff and students, serious safeguarding failures, dubious spending, the misleading of Ofsted, and vulnerable children and key worker children not being accommodated during Covid lockdowns,’ it said.
Almost all the governors are newly appointed since the period of the allegations. Mr Hall was on £ 280,000 near the end of his headship. He could not be contacted for comment.
Holland Park was nicknamed the ‘socialist Eton’ because it was favored by rich Left-wingers. Alumni include Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee and actress Anjelica Huston.