Newsletter 5 - 4th May 2022
Updated: May 5
Welcome to the fifth newsletter of the Holland Park School Parents Collective. There have been many developments since the last update, so this will focus briefly on events with links to our website, recent blogs and further references. Please see the ‘news update and call to action’ blog for more information.
If you view this newsletter as a blog on our website you can see additional material including the letters from the school mentioned below and scroll down on the ‘Stop the MATness’ page to see an updated timeline.
Parent Governors Elected
After several months of (unexplained) delays, the results of the ballot for two parent governors were announced on Tuesday: key figures in the parents collective Sam Cockcroft (Hesketh) and Melanie Juno Wolfe are now members of the HPS Board of Governors, although they have yet to be contacted to attend the next Board meeting and were not notified of the release of the Summary report (below).
The number of votes recorded was surprisingly low: 222 out of a potential 2539 parents eligible to vote. It is unclear whether this is due to the lack of communication with the broader parent body, disengagement, protest or something else: certainly the absence of a coordinated and inclusive parent/carer association undermines the ability of parents to be actively involved in decisions that affect their school.
Summary report of the Internal Investigation into allegations by HPS staff and students
This afternoon the Board of Governors released a summary report of the long investigation into historical complaints by HPS teachers and students (which gained publicity in reports in the summer of 2021). The investigation was conducted and report compiled by Jessica Joels, from the HR agency B3Sixty following the dismissal of an independent QC-led investigation initiated by the former Board of Governors (thought to have formed part of the financial overspend alluded to in the Notice to Improve). The Summary report and an introduction has been posted on the HPS website and three meetings arranged for tomorrow Wednesday 5th May to discuss the findings, which you can sign up to here at 5pm, 6pm or 7pm (although places may be limited).
United Learning MAT Q&A meeting with parents
Around 80 people attended the meeting of United Learning executives Sir Jon Coles and Dame Sally Coates (chaired by Arwel Jones) on Tuesday April 26. You can read a reaction from a parent in the audience here on the blog and reflections from the HPSPC on the wider context here, as well as thoughts from the student leadership team on what the United Learning MAT means to them. A parent in the collective has also compiled a due diligence report on how ULT matches up to the criteria set out by the Board of Governors and questions the limitations and contradictions that remain.
RBKC statement of support
This week the Council broke purdah (restrictions on political communications in the run up to an election, in this case the local elections on Thursday 5th May) to speak up in support of transparency and parent/ community engagement in this critical decision of whether HPS should join a MAT and which MAT that should be. In this statement RBKC called on the Department for Education to take immediate action and made it “clear that we have no confidence in the current governance arrangements at the school.”
In the media
Advice on supporting your teen through exam stress
We asked teen expert Cai Graham to share her advice on how to support students during exam season, alongside good study habits and practical tips for parents on reducing anxiety and stress. Read it here.
Investigating how our kids are feeling
In line with our aim to make our kids the focus and give them a chance to be heard, we are putting together a blog about how our kids at HPS are feeling. We'd like to get as wide a selection of students as we can so we can share about the common themes.
Would your child be up for chatting to us about how they are feeling currently? No names will be mentioned in the article and the discussion will be confidential. If so, we'd be grateful.
Just reply to this email and we'll forward it to our website manager, Helen. Thank you!
For information: the school uniform provider, Stevensons is no longer providing an ‘order online, collect from school’ service. The school-based shop is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays 2.30-4.30pm and you have to visit in person to buy school uniform.
We hope to organise a second-hand uniform sale for current and future parents in July, in collaboration with the school, please let us know if you’d like to help.
You are invited to see The HPS Choir, directed by Nicholas Robson, who will be joining St George's Chorus at The St George's Festival Concert. Music will be by Handle, Mendelssohn, Walford Davies and Vaughn Williams. Cost is £10 on the door (under 16s free). For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3602 9873.
REMINDER: online meeting next week as part of the ‘stakeholder engagement’ process.
Date: Monday 9 May Time: 6-7pm Venue: Online webinar
We await further news of our new interim head James Wilson from United Learning Trust’s Bacon’s College and news from the Ofsted visit two weeks ago.
The ‘stakeholder engagement’ process opened by the Board of Governors during the Easter holidays will run until May 31st, and there is still time to give feedback.
Following this, the Board of Governors will make a recommendation to the Regional Schools Commissioner, Dame Kate Dethridge, whose Advisory Board next sits on 22nd June. Given we've not been provided with any other alternative to United Learning we wonder what would actually stop the BoG recommending HPS be given to UL.
Get in touch
Please reach out to share your views on any or all of the above at email@example.com
P.S. This has been a critical time to share our experiences and come together in a parents collective. We hope that in time the HPSPC will evolve into a support group for all parents; holding events, opportunities to collaborate, liaising with the school, and be a general resource. Anyone, no matter your views on MATs and UL, who wants to get involved will be welcomed.