Holland Park School

Holland Park School is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form in Holland Park, London, England. In 2013, it has attained academy status. Opened in 1958, the school became the flagship for comprehensive education, and at one time had over 2,000 students. A number of high-profile socialists sent their children to Holland Park School, and it became known as "the socialist Eton".[4]

Holland Park School
Airlie Gardens
Campden Hill Road

W8 7AF

TypeAcademy, Comprehensive
MottoFloreat semper scola[1]
Local authorityKensington and Chelsea
Department for Education URN140134 Tables
HeadteacherEdward Marin[2]
Age11 to 18
Enrolment1,696 (2019)[3]
HousesAnderson, Baker, Bennett, Chappell, Seeley
Colour(s)Blue,yellow,pink,red and green


Education at Holland Park

In the 1960s and 1970s, the philosophy was to ensure large student numbers (over 1,900) with the idea that the resulting size would enable more subject choices for the students. Indeed, amongst the more typical foreign languages Latin, French and Spanish were taught. A similar philosophy and scale applied to other comprehensive flagships such as the other "Labour-party Eton", the Haverstock School.[5]

In the early 1960s, each school year was divided into A, B, C, D, and E streams up until the 3rd year. As the groups were so large, they were again divided, typically into 3. Later the "A" "B" etc. grading was considered to be bad for children's self-esteem, so "A" "B" and "C" were replaced by "H" "P" and "S" (Holland Park School). Nowadays, the banding system is divided into 4 bands, each with 3 levels inside them.

In 1970, streaming was completely scrapped in favour of total egalitarianism. Another aspect of egalitarian thought was that many school traditions were dropped and in the 1970s there were no awards for academic achievement, in order not to demoralise low achievers. Dr Rushworth, who became head in 1971, nevertheless favoured high achievement in niche areas, and himself continued to teach Latin to children who requested lessons. His motto was "Everyone should know about everything," and critics saw this as leading to a dumbing down of the curriculum.[6]

The theory was that poorly achieving students would perform better if not segregated, but rather immersed in an equal learning environment.[citation needed]

Loyalists of the egalitarian approach argue that the experiment was never given a proper chance: Holland Park was the only fully comprehensive school in a borough where middle class parents tended to favour private schools. Therefore, by definition, it was a sink school and thus some argue that the comprehensive experiment was never fully realised. Critics[who?] counter that the school was on a downward spiral and "more of the same" would only have worsened the situation. They hold that the school's improved performance when it returned to more traditional values is evidence the comprehensive experiment was doomed from the outset.[citation needed]

This viewpoint differs from some experience in the mid-1960s when sixty or more fifth formers joined either the lower sixth on A-level studies, or another thirty joined 6G that represented students on retakes of O levels or additional O levels, or Technical studies.[citation needed]

School organisation

When the school opened in September 1958 it was divided into eight houses. The eight houses were originally called Addison, Fox, Hunter, Macauley, Maine, Newton, Norman and Wilberforce. The house system has been retained, though there have been changes to the number of houses, and their names. There are currently five houses: Anderson, Baker, Bennett, Chappell and Seeley. The earlier approach of naming houses after historical figures has been replaced by the approach of naming them after people, mostly governors of the school or teachers, who "mark a way of being that the school considers worthy and noble".[7]

When the school first opened the entire school assembled on only two days a week, in the Main Hall and four side halls which opened out to form The Great Hall. House assemblies took place in the morning in the side halls with two halls alternating where they shared; whilst the other two days were for tutor groups within the house setting.[citation needed]

Thus pupils had the potential, in theory at least, for guidance from Form Teachers, Tutors, as well as their Class Subject Teachers.[citation needed]

There was a complete structure of Prefects, at the summit two head boys and two head girls, then headmasters/senior prefects, prefects, sub-prefects, and TSPs [Temporary Sub Prefects]. This separate organisation was particularly called upon when teaching staff took the decision to stop monitoring the substantial play-grounds, in the sometimes turbulent mix of social classes, religious and ethnic origins, and the heady mix of boy and girl in the 1960s. Mr Williams, in the mid-1960s, one of two deputy heads, was required to dispense summary justice on boys presented by Prefects.[citation needed]

Land history

In 1808 William Phillimore (1748–1814), signed an agreement for the development of over 19 acres (77,000 m2) of land, which now is roughly occupied by Holland Park School and Queen Elizabeth College, north of Duchess of Bedford Walk. On this land, seven particularly grand houses with large gardens were completed in 1817. Throughout the 19th century, and until the Second World War, they had a series of notable occupants. At one time in the 19th century the approach road was known as Dukes' Row, because two of the houses were occupied by dukes: the Duke of Argyll and the Duke of Bedford, while a third was occupied by the Earl of Airlie.[citation needed]

Of the seven great houses on this part of the Phillimore estate,[8] only Thorpe Lodge still remains. It is a protected historical building that serves as an ancillary space for the school. It was home to Henry Tanworth Wells 1875 until his death in 1903.[8] Montagu Norman, Governor of the Bank of England, was a resident from 1904 until his death in 1950. Priscilla Reyntiens joined Norman at Thorpe Lodge following their marriage 21 January 1933.[9]

1956 building

When plans to build the school were revealed in 1956, local residents formed an action group to stop the building, among its members was the future poet laureate John Betjeman, who worried about the trees; the naturalist Peter Scott, who claimed the children would frighten away nightingales; and the High Commissioner of South Africa, who feared that his garden parties would be ruined. The Kensington Post was inundated with letters from residents who feared that the school would "reduce Campden Hill to Earl's Court".[10][11] The lobbyists were unsuccessful and the demolition began around 1957 and the first comprehensive school opened in 1958. It was officially inaugurated a year later by Lady Norman.[12]

2004 building

In 2004, planning for a new school building began. Although the proposals were hotly debated, with a major concern among critics being the sale of the school sports grounds to a property developer, as a way to fund the project, the new school building opened in 2012.[13] The following summer, the school was accused of breaking undertakings given to secure the planning permission, due to local residents not being permitted to use the swimming pool in the new six-storey building, as had been promised. Proposals to find a compromise were under investigation.[14]

Staff relations

In 2019 30 staff and former staff raised concerns with the ESFA in 2019 about bullying. This was followed by an Ofsted monitoring visit to look at leadership and safeguarding in the school. It was then judged “effective”. It emerged later that critical confidential questionnaires had not been forwarded to Ofsted. In 2021, an investigation was launched into the school following allegations it was a 'toxic' working environment by 25 different former teachers.[15]

School publication

In the 1960s into the early 1970s, the school magazine was called Octavo (the title being a reference to the number of houses at that time which numbered eight).In the 1976-9 period, the school magazine was called Andarkol. This was the name of a cartoon dog.[16] The magazine contained poetry, music reviews, cartoons, as well as articles about school plays, sports and student-contributed essays on comprehensive education and the representation of the school in the press. Before Andarkol, the school had a magazine called Feedback, which ended in 1974.[16]

Students now[when?] receive a booklet called 'Et cetera' about upcoming events around the school every half-term.

  • Alpha (founded 1958)[17]
  • Octavo (196?-197?)
  • Feedback (?-1974)
  • Andarkol (1976–79)


Notable former pupils

Notable teachers

Notable parents

Holland Park School timeline of events

  • In 1957, the school is built despite protests from Sir John Betjeman and others.
  • In 1958, the school opens.
  • In 1959, the official opening ceremony is held[12]
  • In 1969, Hilary Benn, represented the school in Top of the Form.
  • In 1970, journalist George Gale, then editor of The Spectator, claimed that Holland Park girls were running a vice ring at the school.[34]
  • In 1973, the school snubbed the wedding of The Princess Anne by working through the national holiday granted to schools and giving children another holiday in lieu.[34]
  • In 1977, punk band The Slits supported by The Moors Murderers performed a benefit concert for the NSPCC at the school. The Slits performed on-stage masturbation.[35]
  • In 1985, the headmaster, Dr Rushworth, was beaten up and had both his ankles broken.[1]
  • In 1997, the school was heavily criticised by Ofsted for poor academic standards and lack of discipline.[11]
  • In 2000, the school was visited by Nelson Mandela.[36]
  • In 2001, the school received its new headmaster, Colin Hall, assigned with the job to turn its fortunes around.[11]
  • In 2006, fingerprint activated locks are installed on lockers.[37]
  • In 2007, the decision to sell parts of the school grounds to finance a new school building causes controversy.[30]
  • In 2011, the school was classed "outstanding" by Ofsted.[38][11]
  • In 2012, the new school building was opened.[30][13]
  • In 2013, the school was converted to academy status.[39]


  1. ^ a b John-Paul Flintoff, Comp: A Survivor's Tale, Indigo, 1999, ISBN 0-575-40162-1
  2. ^ "Leadership Team — Holland Park School" . Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  3. ^ Ofsted inspection report 2011: Holland Park School Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine Linked 2014-02-07
  4. ^ "Why Haverstock is No Longer the Eton of the Left" . Daily Telegraph.
  5. ^ a b "Too cool for a school" . The Independent.
  6. ^ "Hobson's choices" . Education for Tomorrow. 2005. Archived from the original on 20 August 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  7. ^ "HPS School houses" . Holland Park School. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b "The Phillimore estate | British History Online" . Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  9. ^ Norman, Priscilla (1982). ...In The Way of Understanding. Foxbury Meadow, Godalming, Surrey: Foxbury Press. p. 84. ISBN 0946053006.
  10. ^ a b c Benn, Melissa (25 August 2007). "Allen Clarke. First headteacher of the progressive west London school, Holland Park" . The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d e The Good School Guide: Holland Park School review Linked 7 February 2014
  12. ^ a b YouTube: "Super School Opening", 1959. British Pathe newsreel Linked 7 February 2014
  13. ^ a b "London School Completes Innovative Renovation" . CE Magazine. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  14. ^ Pettitt, Josh (15 July 2013). "Let us use your pool, residents tell school". London Evening Standard. p. 32.
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b Andarkol, issue 1, p. 1.
  17. ^ The Telegraph (July 2007). [failed verification]
  18. ^ Charters, David (19 July 2007). "Allen Clarke" . Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  19. ^ "Archived copy" . Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Profiles of Past & Present Academic Staff: Derek Abbott" . Adelaide University. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  21. ^ Katy Guest (18 July 2009). "Omid Djalili: Raw, risky, scary, and funny to the bone" . The Independent. Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2018. Born in 1965, Djalili went to the prestigious Holland Park School – the "socialist Eton" to which Tony Benn sent his children.
  22. ^ Dominic Casciani (13 November 2014). "Woman jailed for funding Syria jihad" . BBC News. Retrieved 10 February 2018. Davis, a former drug dealer with a conviction for possessing a firearm, left the UK in July 2013.
  23. ^ Lamiat Sabin (4 November 2014). "I went to the UK's 'School of Jihadis', and I can't believe how it has been treated by the press" . The Independent. Retrieved 11 February 2018. I was an HPS pupil from 1998 to 2005, and my year included two women, Nawal Msaad and Amal El Wahabi, who were tried at the Old Bailey this year over charges of funding terrorism.
  24. ^ Christian Henson, 10 Golden Rules of Orchestral Programming , via YouTube at 7:04
  25. ^ Simon Griver (17 May 2012). "Meet Jeremy Levin, the new head of drugs firm Teva" . Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Lesley Thomson" . Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  27. ^ Dowell, Ben (4 June 2010). "Bryan Ferry unveils his art collection" . The Guardian. London.
  28. ^ "Andy McKay biography" . Roxy Music. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  29. ^ "David Malouf" . British Council. 5 January 2019.
  30. ^ a b c The Independent, 14 November 2012: Too cool for a school: 'Socialist Eton' moves into new buildings with facilities to rival the real thing Linked 7 February 2014
  31. ^ The Guardian, 10 March 2014: Michael Gove is sending his child to a state school. Does he want a gold star?
  32. ^ Commons Hansard, 3 September 2019 : Mr Speaker (John Bercow): "... I say to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Michael Gove) that, when he turns up at our children’s school as a parent, he is a very well-behaved fellow. He would not dare to behave like that in front of Colin Hall (the headmaster), and neither would I. ..."
  33. ^ Bercow, John (28 November 2020). "I've changed my mind: grammar schools are unhealthy and must go" . Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  34. ^ a b Dovkants, Keith (3 March 2003). "The War Over a Liberal Legend" . Evening Standard. Retrieved 14 October 2008.
  35. ^ Andrew Gallix (9 May 2010). "The Moors Murderers" . Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  36. ^ Woodward, Will (23 February 2003). "Battle lines drawn at landmark school" . The Guardian. London.
  37. ^ "Fingerprints for children at a school in London" . Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  38. ^ Ofsted inspection report 2011: Holland Park School Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine Linked 7 February 2014
  39. ^ Holland Park School: Academy Status Linked 7 February 2014

External links


Information as of: 11.08.2021 09:07:17 CEST

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