St Olave’s A-level row head suspended

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St Olave’s was at the centre of a controversy over pupils being removed from the school before A-levels

The grammar school head teacher at the centre of a row about pupils not being able to stay on to take A-levels has been suspended.

Aydin Onac has been suspended as head of St Olave’s school in Orpington.

Parents had threatened legal action after pupils had to leave the school before the final upper sixth year.

It raised questions about schools improving their league table positions by only letting the most able pupils stay on take A-levels.

After a high-profile protest, the school reversed its decision and allowed pupils to return.

But the school’s governors have now decided that he should be suspended.

Legal threats

The governors say that the local authority is carrying out its own investigation into the A-level controversy.

Parents of pupils from St Olave’s, in the London borough of Bromley, had begun legal proceedings that claimed that removing pupils between Year 12 and 13 – the lower and upper sixth – would have been a form of unlawful exclusion.

But the school decided that the pupils could return before a scheduled court hearing took place.

St Olave’s is one of England’s top-performing grammar schools, with places decided on academic ability.

But it was caught up in a high-profile dispute when some of its pupils were told that they would not be re-admitted for their final year.

Parents began legal action, challenging the academic requirements set for entry for the A-level year.

It began a wider debate about whether schools should be able to stop pupils progressing in this way – and whether filtering out academically-weaker pupils was a manipulation of league table rankings.

A statement from the chair of governors, Dr Paul Wright, said: “I have been informed that the London Borough of Bromley will be conducting an investigation of St Olave’s Grammar School in respect of concerns that have been raised over recent weeks.

“In light of this, and in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, Mr Onac has been suspended from all of his responsibilities as headmaster of the school.”

“Please remember that this suspension is without prejudice and does not presume any particular outcome. We are committed to full transparency and will be cooperating fully with the local authority in this matter.”

Bromley Council confirmed “that there will be an investigation into concerns raised”.

This year’s A-level results at St Olave’s saw 75% of all grades being awarded at A* or A and 96% were at A* to B grades, far above the national average.

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