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Holland Park school - any update
67

doingwhatican · 06/03/2022 17:25

Hi. We could get a place at Holland Park in 2023 but the news stories in the past year make me want to steer clear. Does anyone with children there know if there has been any culture change? Is the new management a continuation of old management or has there been a shift? Thanks.

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doorkeeper · 18/05/2022 15:15

barbosska · 18/05/2022 00:20

@Dynamicsloth their new site www.hollandparkschoolparents.co.uk

I note that they specifically exclude recent parents from their group, and only want to hear from current parents.

I understand why this is, but I would note that this has two consequences. Because of Colin Hall's deliberate social engineering, Y7 and Y8 parents are much more likely to be white and wealthy, as that's the demographic he explicitly targeted. This will continue to skew the direction of the school in excluding and sidelining children who aren't white and wealthy.

It will also tend to minimise and dismiss the extent of the problems, and the very real and continuing trauma of recent ex students and older existing students. I've already seen quite a lot of this is local forums, and in the anti-MAT petition circulating around, where Y7 and Y8 parents insist that the school is marvellous and their kids had a very good experience there. Well, duh. This erasure of the history of the school is gaslighting all those students living with the effects, and is IMO actively cruel and damaging.

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Camdenish · 18/05/2022 16:43

I’m interested in how the school has targeted and chosen its intake? Looking at the admissions criteria I can see that the child would have to sit a banding test. Is it this that is perceived to be socially engineering the intake? I can understand any barrier to entry is a real barrier to some. The art intake, again, is selection and a barrier, but I don’t understand how it can have such a large intake on admissions. The standard admissions seem to be sibling then distance, which seem pretty standard. They seem to be better than some other school’s in that having a sibling in 6th form doesn’t seem to convey an advantage to year 7 admission.

I'm not saying I don’t believe you btw. I’m just interested in more about this particular aspect of the problem.

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barbosska · 18/05/2022 20:02

@Camdenish You are right - admission criteria is pretty standard: looked after children, siblings, distance. Art aptitude is only 20 places out of 240 places per year. Even if we assume a social engineering via art aptitude, this will be only 20 kids and surely the reality is that not all of them are white and wealthy.

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doorkeeper · 18/05/2022 23:03

@Camdenish the school was found to be fiddling the admissions. This is unsurprising considering they were also fiddling Ofsted results, etc. Just quoting what should happen under normal admissions procedures does not work in describing what actually happened. Remember, this was Colin Hall's fiefdom. Normal rules did not apply. He did what he liked.

HPS were also deliberately courting white, wealthy families who would not previously have considered the school. The film on the website full of swingy-haired white children. The exhortations from Colin Hall at open days saying "private school mums, send your children here!" The sidelining of low-income children and the cuddling of the favoured few. Holland Park School cost £80 million and is, well, in Holland Park. Of course when local wealthy families decided that perhaps it was finally good enough for them, kids too poor and from the "wrong" part of the Borough would get edged out.

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Camdenish · 19/05/2022 08:48

I don’t know why I’m shocked that the school were fiddling admissions, but I am. That is appalling.

I know this used to happen to in the past but I thought with the Pan London admissions for y7 this would be difficult, if not impossible.

I can completely get the school targeting some primary schools with certain demographics. The art admissions has spread to my area, girls try for that and the CSG music admissions. I can see schools saying that the school isn’t really working for your child, they’d be happier elsewhere. But to actually fiddle admissions? That must have left some children with no school? What happened?!

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staringattheceiling · 19/05/2022 11:34

For evidence of how Holland Park were fiddling their Sixth Form admissions as well see this from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator:https://schoolsweek.co.uk/admissions-watchdog-top-school-risks-cherry-picking-accusations/

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Zoutdropje · 19/05/2022 12:45

For a number of years the school prioritised those who attended a primary school in RBKC. Many children attending lived on the council or social housing estates in North Kensington. These were families who took a chance on HPS despite it being dire over a number of years and supported the school in its efforts to improve.

Once Hall/Chappell got their grubby hands on the new building, and no longer
needed to court RBKC, guess what? The great unwashed of the north no longer suited their vision, so they started to select on distance alone. This had the effect of a more affluent demographic. A new school in north Kensington opened to take the less desirable.

My child was at the school at the time and noted their were many more children boasting about their exotic holidays, second homes etc than previously - there had been one or two previously - now there
were a significant amount. She was
amazed about this.

My DC was offered a place in 6th form although her predicted grades were well below what they stipulated, because her face fitted. Well spoken, white and middle class. She went elsewhere. Some of her friends who met the grade criteria were told to eff off because they didn’t quite fit for reasons unknown but which I can guess.

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doorkeeper · 19/05/2022 13:22

You've hit the nail on the head, @Zoutdropje .

The primary school previously prioritised (which is how my kid got in) had over two-thirds of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium, which is vastly higher than the national average. The much posher state primary school then courted by Hall, Chappell et al, has about a sixth of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium.

As I said before, about £80 million was spent on the new HPS building, and HPS also has 23,392 sq m of outside space. The new school built to take the kids from the wrong side of the tracks, KAA, cost £26 million, and was built on a sliver of land wrapped around, er, Grenfell, with only 3,881 sq m of outside space - and most of that useable outside space is on the bloody school roof. That said, I wish KAA had been built a couple of years earlier, so my kid could have gone there, instead of spending his school career treated like he was nothing, because he wasn't the "right" demographic.

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newmuminwonderland · 19/05/2022 21:14

Camdenish · 19/05/2022 08:48

I don’t know why I’m shocked that the school were fiddling admissions, but I am. That is appalling.

I know this used to happen to in the past but I thought with the Pan London admissions for y7 this would be difficult, if not impossible.

I can completely get the school targeting some primary schools with certain demographics. The art admissions has spread to my area, girls try for that and the CSG music admissions. I can see schools saying that the school isn’t really working for your child, they’d be happier elsewhere. But to actually fiddle admissions? That must have left some children with no school? What happened?!

I think the “fiddling” was to do with Sixth Form admissions, and possibly (I’m unsure about this) in year admissions. It is the council who deals with the Y7 intake. My child is currently at the school and it is incredibly diverse, it represents the community it serves. Once upon a time the school was the last choice for families in RBKC. As the school’s results improved, more and more families saw HPS as a desirable option, so the catchment shrank as the popularity increased. This phenomenon happens all over the country, it is not unique to HPS.

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staringattheceiling · 20/05/2022 08:46

@newmuminwonderland
If the school is so "incredibly diverse" as you suggest why is this not reflected in the photos of students on its website as @doorkeeper pointed out? Either it is not as diverse as you and others would have us believe, or the school has the usual range of ethnicities for North Kensington and they are choosing not to use photos of certain types of students on the website. Both are worrying.

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newmuminwonderland · 20/05/2022 09:52

staringattheceiling · 20/05/2022 08:46

@newmuminwonderland
If the school is so "incredibly diverse" as you suggest why is this not reflected in the photos of students on its website as @doorkeeper pointed out? Either it is not as diverse as you and others would have us believe, or the school has the usual range of ethnicities for North Kensington and they are choosing not to use photos of certain types of students on the website. Both are worrying.

It is incredibly diverse, you can see that at the end of the school day when children spill out. As for the website, there aren’t many photos. Could be to do with GDPR and photo release forms.

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Zoutdropje · 20/05/2022 12:03

Gosh @newmuminwonderland are you really naive enough to think that GDPR is the reason for the lack of diversity on the website?

I will point out again that a small group of children of the Perfect Tense elite were fetishised to the exclusion of the
majority who the school preferred to be invisible. In fact there was almost a cult built around one child in my child’s year. I don’t use these terms lightly. It was creepy as fuck.

Many of these children were wealthy/had famous or successful parents and most were white middle class. These are also the children who appeared in the publicity material.

You should take heed of those of us who who have children who have been abused at this school. And yes our children were in the top band, well behaved etc before you start that again.

The school is not going to change overnight. You can be in denial as much as you want.

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newmuminwonderland · 20/05/2022 13:12

Zoutdropje · 20/05/2022 12:03

Gosh @newmuminwonderland are you really naive enough to think that GDPR is the reason for the lack of diversity on the website?

I will point out again that a small group of children of the Perfect Tense elite were fetishised to the exclusion of the
majority who the school preferred to be invisible. In fact there was almost a cult built around one child in my child’s year. I don’t use these terms lightly. It was creepy as fuck.

Many of these children were wealthy/had famous or successful parents and most were white middle class. These are also the children who appeared in the publicity material.

You should take heed of those of us who who have children who have been abused at this school. And yes our children were in the top band, well behaved etc before you start that again.

The school is not going to change overnight. You can be in denial as much as you want.

Before I start what again?? I was responding to a question about diversity at the school. I apologise for speculating about GDPR, it was just a thought. Not sure why you think I am in denial.

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LifeInsideMyhead · 20/05/2022 20:16

Newmum sounds either incredibly naiive or part of it in some way.

What was the perfect tense elite? It's all sounding very toxic. Are people keeping their kids there purely for status?

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doorkeeper · 27/05/2022 11:22

What was the perfect tense elite?

You know the Slug Club in Harry Potter? That was Perfect Tense. A tiny group of chosen elite children who had their photos and biogs on show, and who had special treatment at every step. It was to celebrate exceptional students, and it was a complete coincidence how many of them were the white, wealthy children of famous parents. Completely coincidental.

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LifeInsideMyhead · 27/05/2022 12:16

Gosh!!! That's so blatant!!

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KathG · 16/07/2022 15:29

Hello, tagging on to this conversation. I've been asked if I know anything about secondary schools for SW1X, for a Ukranian refugee who is looking to apply for September. I said I didn't - but I hoped that mumsnet might be able to guide us.

Thank you!

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