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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

NEW HOLLAND PARK SCHOOL...A PARENT WRITES...


This £100 million White Elephant has led one parent to make this interesting observation....


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AN ACADEMIC QUESTION?": 

Interesting comments about "bonaparte" Hall. 


"I along with several hundred other Holland Park parents were forced to put on plastic overshoes before we were 
allowed to tour the hallowed building on Monday evening. The building, though pristine gives the impression that you are a small cog in a massive machine. Unfortunately, there are still no lockers or anywhere for the pupils to leave books or coats during the day. The lunch hall is a massive failure, the 30 minute lunch-break means that there is not enough time to serve or seat everyone, including packed lunchers so my child goes hungry. The pupils have seating plans for each classroom and even the assembly hall, in case anyone damages one of the famous chairs or tables. A crisp littering incident last week in an RE classroom led to a major crisis, with Hall called and his PAs summoned to gather evidence and track down possible suspects from the seating plans!" 

45 comments:

  1. Unfortunately there will be much more of this. Schools should be schools. Not experimental architecture. But the mission is complete. Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea and Lord in hope, has his Statue of Liberty in the park

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  2. What a squalid little indulgence this whole saga is

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  3. Not for nothing has this building already been nominated for the 'Carbuncle Cup'.

    But what a very expensive carbuncle, and now we hear, not fit for purpose either. A total disgrace.

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  4. The Napoleon of Holland Park is even refusing to honour the planning consent condition that the swimming pool should be available for community use out of school hours!

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  5. There will be a need for a swimming pool for local residents when Kensington leisure centre closes. How can people access it, they must have mentioned that in their bid for planning permission?

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  6. Don't be silly 22.17. The "promise" to local residents that the £100 million sports facility of the school would be available for out of hours use has been quietly shelved and Cllr Elizabeth Campbell (currently in charge of Education) hopes that it has been forgotten about.The promise was a sop to the NIMBYs who opposed the sale of the school playground. But "wacky" David White, Chairman of the Campden Hill Residents Association has written to the Council asking what happened to the written requirement to define the terms of use for residents to use the sports facilities before giving development permission for the school..

    Stunned silence. Of course

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    Replies
    1. Residents can kiss goodbye to this promise. At the Cabinet meeting last month the tax paid facility that used to be Holland Park School was "given away" and it is now an independent Academy. Master politician and Headmaster Colin Hall has muttered that "it will not be convenient until maybe 2015 for residents to use the pool because building works continue".

      So boo to the NIMBYs!

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  7. Napoleon Hall might make a rather good Leader of K&C. One or two Cockell hallmarks.

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    1. And a few suspect behaviour patterns. Lets not go there.

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    2. WASP some people are gay, get over it.

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    3. Stop using stupid Americanisms like 'get over it'....so tedious. And I don't think Wasp was in any way referring to the fact that Hall is gay...he was talking about the man's obsessive need to control,which verges on paranoid....so to use another awfulism....'Lets move on...nothing to see here'!

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  8. Buffy Buckmaster has let it be known that he would not be averse to taking up a position again as School Governor.

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  9. Cllr Tony Holt is hoping that the Leverson Enquiry Report may provide grounds for closing down the Hornet. The Councillor hates the Hornet

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    1. I hear the Dame thinks that Tony is a very good councillor on the basis that he is never at the Town Hall to participate in the crass decisions made by Poots....he also likes his £11,000 a year. It buys a couple of good holidays

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  10. To the woman in the plastic shoe covers - the seating plans have obviously been done, not to protect the tables and chairs (lucky students by the way, who have been provided with high quality furniture that they can be proud of and work comfortably on), but to teach the children good behaviour. If the teachers know where your little darling was sitting when they threw their empty crisp packet on the ground - is that what you tolerate at home? - then they can be named and shamed and the issue is tackled a lot quicker. Oh, and I heard it was in the running for the next Stirling Prize...It's a fantastic school.

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    1. Of course it deserves an Architecture Award. At that price it should sweep the ceremony. But NOT ON PUBLIC MONEY. Architectural indulgence is not what Council Tax is meant to be for. You build a fit for purpose school and experience shows that this should cost £30 million and be laid out in a conventional way on flat ground using utility tables and chairs. Then the teachers can get on with their work.

      Digging deep, building high, designer chairs, to replace one of the best school fabrics in the country (according to the Government's analysis in Building Schools For The Future)is just one huge vanity project by one ego driven Leader.

      It sucks

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    2. I have a child at the school you evidently don't or you will know that the leadership team themselves told the children it for the purpose of protecting the furniture, which they are not even allowed to place their bags on. Furniture in a school should be functional and comfortable in my opinion, it is neither at Holland Park.

      The new building is for the benefit of staff and not the students there are no lockers for students, no where for the majorityh to have lunch and they haven't even have a fire drill since moving into the building - that is how much the leadership care about their welfare.

      The majority of children do not have behavioural problems and this incident took place in a top banded class. I think the Head should get on with leading the school rather than launching a forensic investigation into a crisp packet.

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    3. This kind of school should be funded by philanthropists. Not out of control Conservative Councillors playing fast and furious with tax payers money

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  11. In the running for the Stirling Prize? Are you an idiot? Don't you realise that this building cost twice nearly 3 times what Gove set down as the max build cost for a school....I leave aside the fact it adds not one extra place. Architects love this sort of building....that is why, you silly twit, they give them prizes. They can charge huge fees for a building unfit for purpose.
    This is a prime example of squandering-not just our money, but our sacred childrens' playing fields

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    Replies
    1. Actually, I am not an idiot. I have some comprehension of the building and the design behind it. That is why I find these conversations so dismal. There is now more space for playing fields, NOT less. Fact. They sold some of the land to provide money for a new and better school. They knocked down the old, sub-standard school and in it place, built a taller one with a smaller footprint, thus giving land back for playing fields etc. Please do tell me your criteria for 'fit for purpose'. You bandy the word around rather liberally but am not sure that you use it correctly. The building has only been in use for a very short period - not long enough for any user data to be extracted. And your rude remarks make your point less valid. You appear not to be able to provide a measured response. Please fact check ici: http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/the-holland-park-parent-who-won-the-schools-lottery-8367759.html

      I look forward to hearing your revised response.

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    2. Dear Cllr
      My 'revised' response....

      1. Do you dispute that Michael Gove has stated emphatically that no new school should cost in excess of £40 million
      2 Do you agree that HPS adds not one extra place
      3. Do you deny that Boris Johnson stated that London playing fields should NEVER be sold
      4. Are you saying that there is now more playing field space than hithertoo

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    3. You are seeking to defend a magnificent new school for reasons that are not clear. The issues are three fold

      1) £100 million to build a new school is grossly extravagant. Government statistics show that the average cost of a new school is £30 million

      2) the £100 million replaced a perfectly good school (according to a Government Report)and did not create a single extra space for education

      3) a public asset of recreational space in a crowded City center (the school playground) was given up to property developers for all time

      Residents and council tax payers are speaking out because it has become clear that the Cockell Administration cannot be trusted with the stewardship of our money

      Delete
    4. Exactly so, WASP. Like spending £30 million to import pink granite from China to tart up Exhibition Road

      Delete
  12. Concorde was a pretty impressive technical achievement. But a financial and commercial disaster and a massive misuse and diversion of tax payers money

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  13. Before you get too sanctimonious 13.40, do a bit of research. Conservative Education policy is for small schools where they are required. HPS is a big school where it is not required. No one in central Kensington and Chelsea wants a Comprehensive school and parents send their children elsewhere to be educated. The kids at HPS are all bused in. The behaviour and conduct of the kids is terrible (setting fire to cars etc) and a high level of pastoral care is really important. This is best delivered in a small school environment and close to home. According to educators

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  14. Another point is that Hall decreed that nothing - furniture, books, even pens was to be brought to the new school from the old building. A shocking waste in these days of austerity not to mention the seeming contempt for recycling or sensible use of materials.

    All students were issued with new exercise books with especially printed covers and were told to keep the old ones at home.

    All parents had to stump up £250 for the new uniform, little different to the old one, just with a new logo and the awful blue buttons, so that they would "match" the new school.

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    1. Hall seems to be another one who is out of control when the spending of other peoples money is concerned. If the story of £250 for new uniforms is correct, because the old ones do not match the new decor, this is just awful and insensitive. Completely at odds with the community. More than 50% of kids at the school require free meals because their parents are too poor to pay. £250 for a designer uniform!!!!

      Colin Hall is ego tripping. He is a small man with a huge chip on his shoulder. What a rats nest.

      Delete
    2. Its nice to do these things and get the designer look. But not with tax payers money. And what lesson will the children take away? It is all paid for! It is all free! Massive reinforcement of the dependency culture by a Conservative Administration.

      It is bonkers

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  15. If rich individuals want to make a statement and leave a legacy then there is a great tradition of philanthropy. But it is their own money. They earned it and decide how to spend it. But K&C residents are rightly intolerant of a two bit cigarette salesman using their hard earned council tax to make self serving gestures like Holland Park School. It is an abomination of democracy

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  16. Time will tell. Cockell will become a figment of history. As will Napoleon Hall.

    Fifty years ago Holland Park School was opened with a huge fanfare as the model for the future. The school to end all schools. All the other secondary schools in the Borough were closed down and the kids piled into the new wonderland beside the Park.

    When Cockell and Hall got going with their self perpetuating ego trip, not a single good word could be said for the 1960's flagship. "The playground is uncomfortable", "the heating does not work", "the kids have to cross a path to get to the gym", "we can't keep teachers without a new school".

    Well these two guys have their new train set. Problem is that they abused their positions and squandered public money.About £70 million. There are no democratic checks and balances in K&C. Just the busy Dame shining a bright light in uncomfortable places

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    1. Can I refer you to my piece for the Guardian's 'Comment is Free' about all this. It elicited some of the nastiest and ill written comments. I taught at the school for many years and was shocked at how the culture and soul of the 'old school' was traduced and the new regime so relentlessly celebrated. Well, they have it now. A ghastly and meretricious glass folly which will serve a ghastly and meretricious culture. A corporate brave new world.

      Delete
  17. Kensington Resident29 November 2012 at 16:01

    There is a great deal of emotional overload in this blog. If we set aside the anger, it seems clear that the new school represents a public policy failure. The new building will no doubt win many prizes as a special piece of architecture. But the quality of a school has less to do with buildings and more to do with teachers. Some would say that it has everything to do with teachers.

    An architectural specialist in the educational field told me that the new building pushes the boundaries in many respects for a school. For example the massing of pupils in a six story building. It will take a number of years before a mature judgement can be made about "fit for purpose". In his view the new school is a prototype and high risk because of the scale of the experiment. And unlikely to be a model for future buildings because of the high cost. The likelihood of a repeat order is remote.

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    1. Another Concorde

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    2. Kensington Resident, it may be a prototype but it is hardly the first ... in fact it looks strangely similar to earlier work of Aedas:

      http://www.aedas.com/Knowsley-Schools-BSF

      I wonder how Knowsley is coping with solar gain?

      Delete
  18. The designer chairs are not fit for purpose.They have no proper back support so will be really bad and uncomfortable for the children to sit in all day. And they are no longer exclusive but are being sold as the "Holland Park chair" by the designers to City restaurants and other such establishments.

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  19. I do wonder what the 'leadership team' does all day. Presumably they sit around navel gazing, devising ever more daft documents than the ones they have already published and hold enquiries into the origins of dropped crisp packets.

    A FOI Act request in to the cost of this team might be interesting reading.

    I really don't know how the head and deputy coped in the days when I went to school and received an excellent education!

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  24. There have been attempts to open up discussion about the financial practices at HPS - and not just those involving the new building. However, it appears to be nigh impossible to actually nail things.
    There are parents and educationalists who praise the success of the school since Mr Hall took over. There are also many people who have worked in the school or been otherwise involved who experienced what they regard as unpalatable practices, aside from the financial, and worse. There is an interesting story in here; but nobody so far has been able to pull together all the threads.

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  25. I think the problem is that Mr Hall has complete control over the budget and the school has been indulgently funded by the borough. The new school is lavish to say the least. Did you know that NOTHING, not a pencil or a book even student workbooks was brought to the new school. The kids all got new books and teachers were giving stuff away rather than chucking it.

    I saw a couple of nice new BMWs parked outside the school before it moved, not sure who they belong to. Perhaps Hall and Chappell? There seems to be an endless supply of wine, food etc for special occasions and I assume it is funded by the borough. What has always puzzled me is that the school seems short of nothing, whereas every other school seems to be constantly begging the school for money for every little thing.

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  26. Sorry should read "begging parents for money"

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  27. Perfect Tense....any thoughts

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