An unbiased investigation into allegations of misconduct at a prime London state faculty – together with safeguarding breaches, discrimination, bullying and favouritism – has discovered that “on the balance of probabilities” each criticism made occurred.
More than 100 former college students and workers at Holland Park faculty in west London submitted proof to the investigation, which additionally thought-about allegations that Ofsted was misled by senior leaders and that there was “overt sexism, Islamophobia, and racism” on the faculty.
On safeguarding, the investigation discovered the college had did not assist college students who had been victims of peer-on-peer sexual abuse, there have been inappropriate responses to the case of a instructor who was discovered to have had a relationship with a pupil, and there was “exploitation” inside some student-teacher relationships.
There was a tradition of concern, favouritism and inequality, a abstract of the 554-page report stated, with workers and college students publicly humiliated. Some of those that gave proof to the investigation are nonetheless traumatised by their experiences.
On Ofsted, the report stated some workers questionnaires regarding an inspection in January 2020 have been destroyed, whereas sure college students have been taken off-site or advised to not attend faculty in the course of the inspection.
Parents with kids at present on the faculty embrace the secretary of state for levelling up, Michael Gove, and former Commons Speaker John Bercow.
The complaints relate to occasions relationship again so far as 2004, when the college was beneath the management of the native authority, Kensington and Chelsea, to September 2013, when it grew to become a single academy belief, and as much as December 2021.
Former head instructor Colin Hall, who left final September, stated on the time the allegations started to emerge: “We don’t recognise the characterisation of the school or our leadership in the allegations raised.”
A press release issued by the board of governors on Wednesday, which accompanied the abstract of the report, stated: “The investigator’s view, based upon extensive and corroborative evidence provided during interviews, is that on the balance of probabilities every complaint is found to have happened.
“These include bullying, favouritism 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 at the school during Covid-19 lockdowns against government guidance.”
The assertion stated the board, which has lately been reconstituted, “deeply regrets” that the investigation – carried out by unbiased investigator, Jessica Joels, of B3sixty, which specialises in office investigations – has concluded that these occasions had occurred.
“We are taking the findings very seriously. As a result, and after much consideration, the governors intend to make one referral to the Teaching Regulation Agency and will be commencing a disciplinary investigation in respect of three members of staff. All will be given a full opportunity to respond before any conclusion is reached.”
Former pupil Zahra Enver, 20, who was amongst those that wrote an open letter which helped set off the investigation, welcomed the report. “We are so grateful and proud of everyone who came forward and hope this summary report can provide some healing for them.”
Former lecturers Elizabeth Holland and Lara Agnew added: “All the teachers who came forward to submit evidence to this inquiry have shown extraordinary courage and taken a considerable risk in doing so.”
The Department for Education beforehand issued the college with a discover to enhance in November 2021, highlighting monetary mismanagement in addition to “leaders’ excessive salaries and failure to seek prior approval from the government for ‘novel and contentious’ expenditure”.