The Government has named a multi-academy trust it wants an academy school to join, after it was issued a termination warning notice after Ofsted downgraded it from “outstanding” to “inadequate”.
Regional schools commissioner for north-west London and south-central region, Dame Kate Dethridge, issued the termination warning notice to Holland Park School (HPS) in Kensington, west London, on June 10.
The notice came after the academy was downgraded by Ofsted last month, falling from the highest to lowest of the education inspectorate’s four possible ratings.
On Friday July 1, a Department for Education spokesperson said: “Holland Park Academy’s recent Ofsted inspection underlines the need to address the issues at the school and make sure similar failings do not recur.
“Today, United Learning has been identified as the preferred trust for HPS to join, as a strong trust with a proven track record of school improvement.
“The wellbeing and education of the school’s pupils will continue to be the first priority and parents and stakeholders will have the opportunity to express their views.”
The other shortlisted options to partner the school were Harris Academy, a multi-academy trust, and Kensington Aldridge Academy (KAA), a single-academy trust co-sponsored by the Kensington and Chelsea council, according to the local authority.
The recommended United Learning partnering will be scrutinised at an advisory board of education experts, on July 21.
Baroness Barran, the minister for the school system, will then take the ultimate decision.
But the council is considering making a £1 million loan to KAA to show it has the resources to form a multi-academy trust with Holland Park School, a document signed off by the borough’s executive director of children’s services, Sarah Newman, dated July 6, shows.
It claims “approximately 400 parents have collectively sought to challenge” the possible United Learning takeover, since the board of governors announced it was their “preferred” multi-academy trust partner in March.
Jennifer Oukherfalla, 42, who lives ini Kensington and Chelsea, has a daughter in Year 8 at the school and her son is starting in September.
She said: “We have just received the disappointing news that our school community will continue to be ignored.
“While we knew this would most likely be the outcome, that United Learning (a trust with 80+ schools and counting) would be recommend by the RSC, we did all we could to fight for the best option for our children, teachers and community – a partnership with KAA.
“This close, local collaboration would have greatly benefited so many.”
Ofsted found that “turbulence” in the school’s leadership had “destabilised” the school community, with many aspects of school life, including pupils’ behaviour, having “declined substantially” since its previous inspection seven years’ ago.
In May, an investigation by governors found there was discrimination in the school against protected characteristics, including overt sexism, Islamophobia and racism.
A United Learning spokesperson said: “We are very pleased that the regional schools commissioner has recommended – as the governors had also done – that the best way to tackle the serious failings and insularity of the past is by bringing the school into a large collaborative group of schools which shares expertise both locally in west London and nationally and which has a substantial track record of turning around struggling schools. ”
Holland Park School, Kensington and Chelsea Council and Harris Academy have been approached for comment.