Parents of students at Holland Park School have launched a third application for judicial review in four months over the decision to change the school from a single-academy trust to a multi-academy trust.
The most recent proceedings claim that a consultation was carried out by the North West London and South Central London Regional Director over the school’s future transfer plans, which was not legal.
The parents, acting as part of the Holland Park School Parent Collective (HPSPC), and the National Education Union, launched their first judicial review in May this year. The legal challenge argued that the decision to turn the school over to the United Learning Trust (ULT) was made by school governors without any consultation with parents or staff.
On June 21, a second set of legal proceedings were launched against OFSTED after the organization lowered the schools’ grade to “inadequate”. In a pre-action protocol letter, the plaintiffs said the decision was unfair, an abuse of power and irrational.
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The impact of OFSTED’s ‘insufficient’ rating was that the decision on the school’s future went to the Secretary of State for Education.
As a result, the HPSPC and the NEU have launched a third judicial review, arguing that the Secretary of State for Education failed to legally consult on plans to change the school from a single academy trust. (SAT) to a multi-academy trust (TAPIS).
They say consultation by North West London and South Central London Regional Director Dame Kate Detheridge over plans for the school’s future transfer was not legal as she did not give teachers and parents all the information on the options available. and it suggested that the decision to move to a multi-academy trust had already been made.
The Secretary of State for Education argues that they were not obliged to consult and they did not.
Commenting on the judicial review application, an HPSPC representative said: “We have come together as a group of over 350 concerned parents to challenge the decision to turn our school over to the massive MAT, United Learning. We fight for good consultation and to have a voice to influence the future of our school, our children and our community.
Ricardo Gama, attorney for the law firm Leigh Day, which represents the plaintiffs, said: “Our clients strongly believe that it is up to the wider school community – students, parents, staff and governors – to have their say. to say about the future of the school and its improvement. They argue that the only prospect of stabilizing the school is that its arrangements be decided with the proper legal input of those who will be most closely affected by decisions about any restructuring, including students, parents and staff.
Mr Gama added: “While there is no legal requirement to consult on an academy school’s conversion from an SAT to a MAT, it is well established in general law that if a consultation is initiated (even if it was not legally required), the decision-maker is nevertheless required to consult in a fair and lawful manner.This is the basis of our clients’ claim.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: ‘The recent Ofsted inspection of Holland Park Academy highlights the need to resolve the issues at the school as quickly as possible.
“United Learning has been identified as the preferred trust for HPS, after careful consideration of a shortlist of trusts. UL is a solid trust with a proven track record in school improvement.
The statement added: ‘This recommendation has been the subject of careful consideration and challenge within the Advisory Council, after which a recommendation is made to Baroness Barran, Minister for the Schools System, who will make the final decision. .
“The welfare and education of the students of the school must remain the first priority of the entire school community and its stakeholders.”