In a report commissioned by Bromley Council, St Olave’s school has been condemned for the harsh, unequal and illegal treatment of year 12 pupils who were refused a place in year 13 in July/August 2017. The report also reveals gross misrepresentation of the school’s financial status in order to pressurise parents to increase their financial donations, funds for under privileged children that were never distributed, a questionable relationship with a private company that owned the St Olave’s brand, and huge profits made by the school from the sale of mock exam papers to prospective parents keen to help their children pass the entrance exam.
“The report is shocking – we knew of the treatment of the year 12 pupils highlighted in The Guardian last year, but the extent of the rogue behaviour of the school management is jaw-dropping”, said Liberal Democrat spokesperson Ian Catchpole. “The school decided that chasing a good position in school league tables was more important than the health and well-being of their pupils. I have huge respect for the parents of the year 12 pupils who took legal advice and challenged the practice of the school of refusing places in year 13 to pupils who failed to meet certain academic criteria, a practice that is unlawful (no child can be excluded for non-disciplinary reasons) yet this practice had been in operation since 2014. Without the intervention of those parents the practice might still be continuing. “
Bromley Council have accepted the report in full, as has the current school board. But the Liberal Democrats say they need to go further.
First there must be a full apology to all the pupils and parents affected by this unlawful policy.
Second there must be an assurance that no pupils will be denied a place in year 13 for non-disciplinary reasons, and further a clear statement of what policy the school has now adopted in respect of the transition from year 12 to year 13.
Third the board of governors needs to publish accurate accounts as soon as possible showing the school’s financial status.
Most of all we need a clear and transparent process where complaints can be heard without fear of victimisation or of the complaint not being taken seriously. We look to Bromley Council to ensure this is done and consider extending similar complaints processes across all the schools in the borough.
The full report is available here:
The Chair of the Board of Governors' response is here: