Holland Park School
|Motto||Floreat semper scola|
|Associate Headteachers||David Chappell|
|Deputy Headteachers||Amanda Redfearn
Campden Hill Road
|DfE URN||140134 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|School Years||Y7 - Y13|
|Website||Holland Park School|
Holland Park School is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form, located in the Holland Park area of the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, England. In September 2013 it attained academy status.
Opened in 1958, the school became the flagship for comprehensive education, and in its heyday 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". The Labour politician Tony Benn and his wife Caroline notably sent all four of their children to the school.
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 (1976–79)
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. 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.
Of the seven great houses on this part of the Phillimore estate, only Thorpe Lodge (home of Montagu Norman, Governor of the Bank of England, from 1904 until his death in 1950) still remains. It is a protected historical building that serves as an ancillary space for the school.
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". 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.
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.
- Allen Clarke (1958–71)
- Derek Rushworth (1971–1985)
- Margaret Pringle (1985–96)
- 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 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
- 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 1985, the headmaster, Dr Rushworth, was beaten up and had both his ankles broken.
- In 1997, the school was heavily criticised by Ofsted for poor academic standards and lack of discipline.
- In 2000, the school was visited by Nelson Mandela.
- In 2001, the school received its new headmaster, Colin Hall, assigned with the job to turn its fortunes around.
- In 2006, fingerprint activated locks are installed on lockers.
- In 2007, the decision to sell of parts of the school grounds to finance a new school building cause controversy.
- In 2011, the school was classed "outstanding" by Ofsted.
- In 2012, the new school building was opened.
- In 2013, the school was converted to academy status.
- John-Paul Flintoff, Comp: A Survivor's Tale, Indigo, 1999, ISBN 0-575-40162-1
- Ofsted inspection report 2011: Holland Park School Linked 2014-02-07
- Holland Park School: Academy Status Linked 2014-02-07
- The Independent, 14 November 2012: Too cool for a school: 'Socialist Eton' moves into new buildings with facilities to rival the real thing Linked 2014-02-07
- Andarkol, issue 1, p. 1.
- 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.
- The Good School Guide: Holland Park School review Linked 2014-02-07
- YouTube: "Super School Opening", 1959. British Pathe newsreel Linked 2014-02-07
- "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 (November 2004)
- The Sunday Times (February 2006)
- Simon Griver, "Meet Jeremy Levin, the new head of drugs firm Teva", The JC.com, 17 May 2012.
- 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.
- John-Paul Flintoff, Comp: A Survivor's Tale, Indigo, 1999, ISBN 0-575-40162-1
- Woodward, Will (23 February 2003). "Battle lines drawn at landmark school". The Guardian (London).
- "Fingerprints for children at a school in London"
- Holland Park School website
- BBC's 2004 league table for Holland Park School
- Melissa Benn and Clyde Chitty (Eds.), A Tribute to Caroline Benn: Education and Democracy, Continuum, London, 2004, ISBN 0-8264-7493-4