A “superhead” of an ultra-selective London grammar school left sixth-formers feeling suicidal and staff feeling bullied with a “constant emphasis” on perfect exam grades, a report has found. The Telegraph reports.
Aydin Önaç’s focus on his pupils at St Olave’ Grammar School in Orpington achieving A* grades and Oxbridge admissions left one student feeling he “might as well kill himself” after his offer of a place in Year 13 was withdrawn when he missed the three-Bs target in Year 12 exams.
A report by Bromley Borough Council has concluded that 66-year-old Mr Önaç, who resigned from his £200,000-a-year post last year, was wrong to enforce the policy, which it says has left some children “medically diagnosed at risk of suicide”.
An investigation into the fee-paying school, which was judged Outstanding by Ofsted in 2014, found its safeguarding policy was in place and implemented.
However, investigators found “issues of wellbeing, mental health and emotional abuse” including an “adverse effect” on the wellbeing of less academic pupils caused by a “constant emphasis” on getting A* grades and reading medicine at Oxbridge.The School Chaplain told how more than 30 pupils in two years had sought a confidential conversation to discuss how the pressure was affecting them, and several “felt like failures” when predicted even A*AA grades, rather than straight A*s.The report also criticised the school for refusing staff funds for essentials and requesting donations from parents despite sitting on £2m in reserves.
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