Holland Park School
|Motto||Floreat semper scola|
|Associate Headteachers||David Chappell|
|Deputy Headteachers||Amanda Redfearn & Ross Wilson|
Campden Hill Road
|DfE URN||140134 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|School Years||Y7 - Y13|
|Website||Holland Park School|
Opened in 1958, the school became the flagship for comprehensive education, and in its heyday had over 2000 in the student body. A number of high-profile socialists sent their children to Holland Park School, adding to its reputation as a left wing institution. Tony and Caroline Benn notably sent all 4 of their children to Holland Park.
Education at Holland Park
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Holland Park School philosophy was to ensure large student numbers (over 1900) with the idea that the resulting size would enable more subject choices for the students. Indeed, amongst the more typical foreign languages Latin, Russian and Spanish were taught.
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).
In the late 1970s, under Derek Rushworth, streaming was totally scrapped in favour of total egalitarianism. Another aspect of egalitarian thought was that many school traditions were scrapped and in the late 1970s there were no awards for academic achievement, in order not to demoralise low achievers. Dr Rushworth 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.
The theory was that poorly achieving students would perform better if not segregated, but rather immersed in an equal learning environment. Some argue[who?] that such and educational philosophy causes teaching to drop to the lowest common denominator, and in the 1990s the school began to revert to more traditional teaching practices.
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.
"Traditionally, relatively few lower school pupils progressed to the sixth form; rather, it was established practice for pupils to join the Holland Park sixth form from other London schools."
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. These were joined by a smattering of imported socialists and academics such as the MP Roy Jenkins' son.
In their current web-site, the school treats it as mainly or entirely a parental responsibility that pupils should be "well-spoken".
The school was divided into eight houses (*), membership of which applied was a badge split in half, top half the colour that represents the house, and below black with the house name in white. A glance through the house names gives a strong impression of the school’s original ethos:
- Wilson [Green] after Dan Salkey
- Jones [red] after Charlie Harris
- Hirst [light blue] after Marco Leon Ortega
- Harris [Yellow] after Sobhan Madadi
(* When the school opened in September 1958 the eight houses were originally called - Addison, Fox, Hunter, Macauley, Maine, Newton, Norman and Wilberforce)
Only two days a week did the entire school assemble, this was within 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.
Thus pupils had the potential, in theory at least, for guidance from Form Teachers, Tutors, as well as their Class Subject Teachers.
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.
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, formed from Holland Park School and was the name of the cartoon dog which appeared throughout. 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.
Students now receive a booklet about upcoming events around the school every half-term.
- Alpha (born 1958)
- Octavo (196?-197?)
- Feedback (?-1974)
- Andarkol (1976–1979)
School crest and colours
The school's crest is a fox holding a dahlia in its teeth. The crest was emblazoned on the breast pocket of the navy jacket, worn as part of the school uniform. The choice of a dahlia as the flower was chosen in homage to Lady Holland, the principal landowning family in the area, who had introduced the flower to England in the early 19th century.
The school's crest is no longer on the uniform, which instead has an "@" symbol on the left pocket cover. The school colours used to consist of a white shirt with a navy jacket. Now it is a black jacket with a light blue shirt. The school tie consists of pink and black stripes. The Tie also has the "@" symbol.
School building and 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. This contained seven particularly grand houses with large gardens. They were completed in 1817 after Phillimore died. 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 thought to be known as Dukes' Row, because two of the houses were occupied by Dukes: Argyll and Bedford and another, by the Earl of Airlie. The original intention was to create high-rise public housing, but subsequently after much local opposition, plans were advanced for what became Holland Park School which opened in 1958. Of the seven great houses on this part of the Estate only Thorpe Lodge (the home from 1904 until his death in 1950 of Montagu Norman, for many years Governor of the Bank of England) survives as and administrative building of Holland Park School and Kensington and Chelsea College. KCC and a local Greek school are just some of the organisations that use the school after hours.
The school adjoins the famous Holland Park gardens in London. Prior to the building of the school a beautiful old mansion stood on the site complete with gate house, and apple orchard. The gate house, Thorpe Lodge, remains standing at the entrance from Campden Hill Rd and, in the 1970s, became an exclusive area for sixth form students. Local residents formed an action group to stop the building of the school, and its members included the future poet laureate John Betjeman. These lobbyists were unsuccessful—the demolition began around 1957 and the first comprehensive school opened in 1958.
There was a proposal to redevelop the site and build a new sustainable school building that will make best use of natural light and deliver more efficient use of energy. Although the proposals were hotly debated, with a major concern among many critics being the sale of the school sports pitches (for redevelopment) to fund the project, the new school building designed by Aedas developed to avoid significant trees protected by a preservation order opened in 2012. Also the site houses Thorpe Lodge, a protected historical building that was maintained as an ancillary space for the school. 
- Derek Rushworth (1971–1985)
- Margaret Pringle (1985–1996)
- Mary Marsh (1996–2001)
- Colin Hall (2001 – present)
Notable former pupils
- Derek Abbott, scientist
- Jenny Abramsky, director of BBC radio,
- Hilary Benn, politician, son of Tony and Caroline Benn
- Melissa Benn, journalist, daughter of Tony and Caroline Benn
- Bel Powley, actress
- Guy Burnet, actor
- Dazeley, advertising photographer, fine artist and writer
- Omid Djalili stand-up comedian and actor
- Yazz (Yasmin Evans), singer
- John-Paul Flintoff, author, broadcaster and journalist
- Flora Fraser, writer, also daughter of lady Antonia Fraser, writer
- Helen Handbury, philanthropist
- Jasper Harris, actor
- Anjelica Huston, the Oscar-winning actress
- Daniel James, game developer and CEO of Three Rings Design
- Paul Laventhol, guitarist and music producer; played for the King Kurt band
- Dr. Jeremy Levin, CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's largest generic drug manufacturer and Israel's largest company 
- Cyril Nri, actor
- Miquita Oliver, television presenter
- Jason Salkey, actor
- Gwyneth Strong, actress
- Matthew Symonds, one of the founders of The Independent
- Lesley Thomson, novelist and creative writing tutor
- Polly Toynbee, writer
- Emily Young, sculptor, daughter of author/politician Lord Kennet
- Drummie Zeb aka Angus Gaye of Aswad
- Francesca Annis, actress
- Tony Benn and Caroline Benn, parents of Stephen Benn, Joshua Benn, Hilary Benn, and Melissa Benn
- Jeffrey Bernard, journalist
- Anthony Crosland, politician
- Ivor Cutler, poet
- Gavin Ewart, poet
- Alexis Korner, blues musician
- Mark Arnold-Forster writer, parent of Joshua Arnold-Forster
- Lady Antonia Fraser, writer, parent of Flora Fraser
- Ian Hamilton, literary critic
- John Huston, director, parent of Anjelica Huston
- Roy Jenkins, member of parliament, parent of Charles Jenkins
- Jimmy Jewel, actor
- Bob Monkhouse, entertainer
- John Mortimer, dramatist, and Penelope Mortimer, journalist
- Michael Nyman, composer
- Sir Peter Parker, businessman
- Molly Parkin, painter
- Sir Edward Richards, politician and first Premier of Bermuda, parent of Angela Barry
- Ken Russell, film director, parent of Alex Russell, Molly Russell, Rupert Russell, Toby Russell, and Victoria Russell
- Una Stubbs, actress
- Philip Toynbee, communist and writer, parent of Polly Toynbee
- Phil Vincent, Britisah Motorcycle Pioneer
- Valentin Zeglovsky, Ballets Russes dancer, parent of Mark and Paul Zeglovskis
- Christine Blower, French teacher (from 1973) became the 11th General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT).
- Suneet Chopra, Science teacher, went onto become politician and social activist
- Allen Clarke, founding headmaster and history teacher
- Paul Farmer, Head of Music 1974-77, who devised the first CSE in Pop
- Brian Ferry, Pottery teacher, went onto become lead singer for Roxy Music
- Andy MacKay, Music teacher, went on to become the saxophonist for the group Roxy Music.
- David Malouf, English teacher, went onto become novelist
- Mary Marsh, former head teacher, now chief executive of the NSPCC.
- Mike Walling, English teacher, was a winner on the TV show New Faces in the late 1970s. He starred in the British television sitcoms Brush Strokes and The Smoking Room.
Holland Park timeline of events
- In 1957, school is built despite protests from Sir John Betjeman and a local action group
- In 1958, school officially opens
- In 1970, journalist George Gale, then editor of The Spectator, claimed that Holland Park girls were running a vice ring at the school.
- 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.
- In 1978, the Slits, an all-female punk rock group, performed at the school featuring on-stage masturbation as part of their act. The gig was also attended by a group called the The Moors Murderers.
- In 1980, the Skids art-punk band performed a surprise concert in the playground outside the library.
- In 1985, the Head, Dr Rushworth, was beaten up and had both his ankles broken
- In 2000, the school was visited by Nelson Mandela.
- In 2006, digital fingerprint activated locks are installed on lockers
- In 2007, the school was featured in a news bulletin on ITV1's London Tonight commenting on the controversial plans to build a new school, set to cost £60 million.
- In 2010, a student was expelled for the dealing of Class B controlled substance Cannabis.
- In 2013, the school converted to academy status.
- Melissa Benn and Clyde Chitty (Eds.), A Tribute to Caroline Benn: Education and Democracy, Continuum, London, 2004, ISBN 0-8264-7493-4
- John-Paul Flintoff, Comp: A Survivor's Tale, Indigo, 1999, ISBN 0-575-40162-1
- John-Paul Flintoff, Comp: A Survivor's Tale, Indigo, 1999
- The Independent (Jan 2008)
- Andarkol, issue 1, p1.
- The Telegraph (July 2007)
- Benn, Melissa (25 August 2007). "Allen Clarke. First headteacher of the progressive west London school, Holland Park". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- "London School Completes Innovative Renovation". CE Magazine.
- Charters, David (19 July 2007). "Allen Clarke". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- Abbott biography
- Abramsky biography
- The Sunday Times (May 2006)
- The Times (Nov 2004)
- The Sunday Times (Feb 2006)
- Dowell, Ben (4 June 2010). "Bryan Ferry unveils his art collection". The Guardian (London).
- Andy McKay biography
- Dovkants, Keith (3 March 2003). "The War Over a Liberal Legend". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- Woodward, Will (23 February 2003). "Battle lines drawn at landmark school". The Guardian (London).
- Holland Park School website
- BBC League Table for Holland Park School
- TV Documentary
- Sunday Times article (Aug 2006)
- Tribute to Caroline Benn
- "Allen Clarke - Founding head of Holland Park School, flagship of the comprehensive education ideal". The Times (London). 12 September 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- Caroline Benn at Goggle books