Grammar school superhead left students feeling suicidal with policy of exclusion for
St. Olave’s has abandoned the practice of withdrawing Year 13 place offers from Year 12 pupils who achieved worse than three Bs at AS-LevelCredit: Gareth Fuller/ PA An investigation into the 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. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. 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 Orpington school was heavily criticised in the council reportCredit:Gareth Fuller/PA 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.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Oxbridge admissions left one student feeling he “might as well kill himself” after his offer of a place in Year 13 was withdrawn when he missed the three-Bs target in Year 12 exams.A report by Bromley Borough Council has concluded that 66-year-old Mr Önaç, who resigned from his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”.Pupils received the news in a school office with no adult present and emerged “deeply distressed”. One staff member overheard a student say he was so fearful of telling his parents he had to leave “he might as well kill himself”, and another student saying “they just want to be rid of me, they just want me gone.” After a legal challenge from parents, the local authority confirmed it was illegal to exclude pupils on non-disciplinary grounds and the school has abandoned the practice.The report also criticised the school for refusing staff funds for essentials and requesting donations from parents despite sitting on £2m in reserves.St Olave’s has promised to judge future performance against a broader range of criteria.