An independent investigation into allegations of misconduct at a major public school in London – including breaches of protection, discrimination, bullying and favoritism – has found that “on a balance of probabilities” every complaint made s is produced.
Over 100 alumni and staff of Holland Park School in west London submitted evidence to the inquiry, which also looked at allegations that Ofsted had been misled by senior executives and that there was ‘sexism, Islamophobia and racism manifestos” at school.
With regard to protection, the investigation revealed that the school had failed to support students who had been victims of peer sexual abuse, there had been inappropriate responses to the case of a teacher who had a relationship with a student and “exploitation”. in some student-teacher relationships.
There was a culture of fear, favoritism and inequality, according to a summary of the 554-page report, with staff and students publicly humiliated. Some of those who testified at the inquest are still traumatized by their experiences.
On ofstethe report says some staff questionnaires relating to an inspection in January 2020 were destroyed, while some students were taken offsite or told not to attend school during the inspection.
Parents of children currently at school include Secretary of State for Levels Michael Gove and former Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.
The complaints relate to events dating from 2004, when the school was under local authority control, Kensington and Chelsea, to September 2013, when it became a single academy, and up to December 2021.
Former head teacher Colin Hall, who left last September, said as the allegations began to emerge: “We do not recognize the characterization of the school or our leadership in the allegations raised.”
A statement released by the Board of Governors on Wednesday, which accompanied the summary of the report, said: “The view of the investigator, based on detailed and corroborating evidence provided during interviews, is that on a balance of probabilities , each complaint turned out to have taken place .
“These include bullying, favoritism and public humiliation of staff and pupils, serious safeguarding failures, questionable spending, Ofsted deception, and vulnerable children and children of key workers who are not accommodated at school during Covid-19 closures against government guidelines.”
The statement said the council, which was recently reconstituted, “deeply regrets” that the investigation – led by independent investigator, Jessica Joels, of B3sixty, who specializes in workplace investigations – concluded that these events had happened.
“We take the results very seriously. As a result, and after careful consideration, the governors intend to take the matter to the Education Regulatory Agency and open a disciplinary investigation into three staff members. All will have a full opportunity to respond before a conclusion is drawn.
Former student Zahra Enver, 20, who was among those who wrote an open letter that helped spark the investigation, welcomed the report. “We are very grateful and proud of everyone who has come forward and hope that this summary report can bring them some healing.”
Former teachers Elizabeth Holland and Lara Agnew added: ‘All of the teachers who have come forward to submit evidence to this inquiry have shown extraordinary courage and taken considerable risk in doing so.
The Ministry of Education had previously issued the school an improvement notice in November 2021, pointing to financial mismanagement as well as “excessive salaries of leaders and failure to obtain prior government approval for “new and contentious” expenses”.
Investigation finds vulnerable children failed at school and misled Ofsted | Schools
Source link Investigation finds vulnerable children failed at school and misled Ofsted | Schools