IN A controversial move Holland Park School is proposing to remove the admissions priority for children attending local primary schools.
Recently acknowledged as the 'cream of the crop' of state schools by Tatler magazine, the academy has come under criticism for costing £80million to build and for not honouring a community agreement plan.
Additionally the much anticipated on site swimming pool remains closed to pupils and residents after having 'sprung a leak.'
In a new twist, primary school aged children in the borough will not now have priority if the recent proposal goes through.
Schools must set admission arrangements annually, and where changes are proposed must first publicly consult on those arrangements.
The new academy's consultation period ended on February 14 but Labour councillors are claiming that they and many primary school head teachers, particularly in the north of the borough, were not made aware of the proposed change.
The academy consulted on arrangements for admissions in the 2015/16 academic year and propose in relation to their admissions policy for entry in September 2015, to remove the priority criteria for children attending borough primary schools.
Kensington and Chelsea Labour Group Leader Councillor Judith Blakeman said: “We have opposed this change.
“The Academy benefits just as much as the pupils do from the current diverse intake of children.
“This in turn promotes social cohesion across the borough and indeed some of its star pupils destined for Oxbridge have come from North Kensington. It is a discriminatory and short-sighted policy which I hope that local resident and Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove will deplore. Even his own children will be disadvantaged by this proposed change.”
Labour’s education spokesman Councillor Robert Atkinson added: “It beggars belief that Holland Park Academy initiated this consultation without informing Council members, but more importantly not even telling the head teachers of the local primary schools.
“This smacks of a conspiracy between the Academy and the Council leadership deliberately to exclude deprived and under-privileged children from the high quality education and facilities offered by Holland Park.
“It is quite disgraceful that the Tory Council expects the taxpayer to fund such an exclusive school.”
Defending the decision Holland Park School Governor, Councillor Elizabeth Rutherford said: "Firstly Holland Park School is absolutely committed to education for all.
“In light of the new proposal you have to take into consideration the new configuration of school provision in the borough.
“We have a new academy being built in North Kensington and we have Chelsea Academy in the south.
“There is no reason to worry about children in primary schools in this borough. And head teachers from primary schools were consulted but not one got back to us. We have to think about our catchment area and those children who live near to the school but out of the borough.
“We are, after all, part of a tri-borough now. The children who meet the criteria will get into the school whether it be from Kensington and Chelsea primary schools or otherwise. We are committed to excellence in every sphere."
The consultation period ran for eight weeks from December 9, 2013 and to February 14 this year.
Following the consultation period all submitted comments will now be considered at a governors’ meeting and the final arrangements will be published on the school's website.