Since 1958

The history of Holland Park School began in the late 1950s with a campaign against the building of the school championed by John Betjeman. Protests notwithstanding it opened in 1958 as one of London’s very first comprehensive schools.

Under its founding Headmaster Allen Clarke (1958-1971) the school became a showpiece of progressive post-war education. Allen Clarke’s approach: mild-mannered, traditional, academic, began as the 1960s progressed, to give way to more egalitarian and radical ideals. Standards of discipline changed, society changed and the school changed. For many its heyday was over as uniforms, prefects, Latin, gave way to a leftist liberalism. Some adored it and it became much loved by some socialist grandees, though the vast majority of local residents gave it a very wide berth. The school then became a place that attracted critics and devotees in equal measure. Whatever the gamut of views by the 1990s its fortunes were at a universally low ebb and the 1997 Ofsted report was crisp and damning in its widespread criticisms. Change was long overdue and the new millennium ushered in a new kind of school, one that would go on to be judged outstanding several times by Ofsted and feature in The Good Schools’ Guide.