RBKC Family Services Select Committee - 21 March 2022
Updated: Apr 4, 2022
A scrutiny meeting of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Family Services Select Committee was held on Monday, 21 March 2022.
Parents in the HPS Parent Collective and one sixth form student, Ajani Craig, spoke eloquently and to the point from a student perspective, to a special meeting at the Council chambers.
You can watch the full session in the video above (the discussion about HPS is for just over the first hour) and was reported on Twitter by Warwick Mansell (a freelance education journalist and writer/editor for the website Education Uncovered).
Members of the Committee overwhelmingly backed our calls for a fair and transparent process, meaningful consultation with parents and the community before any decision is made to recommend United Learning.
Councillors strongly questioned decision-making by the Governing Board and the treatment of HPS as a failing school.
Councillor Robert Atkinson, speaking at the RBKC Family Services scrutiny Committee 21/3/22 said:
“I think it’s very important that the message goes out from this meeting and this committee that the issue is not decided, that we don’t accept the solution put forward in the last week.”
“I think it’s very important tonight that this committee on behalf of the councils and on behalf of all the people here, writes again to the DfE and writes to those who took the decision to say that we reject what has happened and we insist they start again. There has never been a proper explanation as to why this has been rushed through…. I think the most important thing we have to say is …this is not a school that’s failing. This is a school which has an excellent reputation and is regarded as outstanding. It has lazily been treated by the DfE as if it’s a failing school. We need to make it very clear that it’s not a failing school and we are not going to accept the fait acompli which was rushed out.”
Councillor Josh Rendall (Lead member for family and childrens’ services) speaking at the RBKC Family Services scrutiny Committee 21/3/22:
"On the first question about the SAT [Single Academy Trust], the governing body as currently constituted can do that. They can recommend a SAT. They can recommend a little MAT [Multi-Academy Trust], they can recommend a big MAT. They have that in their gift to do that...In terms of the KAA[Kensington Aldridge Academy] option.…[KAA Headteacher] David Benson and the entire trustees of KAA, which at the moment is a SAT, were ready and in a position to become a MAT by September this year, for two reasons. One is that they have extremely strong governance, of which Ofsted have said that KAA, likewise Holland Park, is Outstanding... Secondly that RBKC as a council would be a co-sponsor for the new MAT at Holland Park so it would be KAA and RBKC together. We do that at KAA already, so KAA is a SAT with RBKC and Aldridge itself... And, since those two schools are Outstanding...we thought that was the best option for Holland Park…The third option is that Sir David Carter, who is the former National Schools Commissioner, volunteered to help KAA form a MAT by the 1st September... So our response as a council is that this should be paused, processed and reconsidered because the KAA option, I think, is a good one.”
Chair of the Committee, Janet Evans, wrote to Regional Schools Commissioner, Dame Kate Dethridge, on 24 March 2022 to emphasise these concerns and set out their conclusions. You can download the letter below.