Aydin OnacImage copyright St Olave’s school
Image caption Head teacher Aydin Önaç has now resigned

The head of a grammar school at the centre of a row about pupils being forced to leave before their A-levels has resigned.

Aydin Önaç, headmaster of St Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington, Kent, will leave his post at Christmas, according to a letter to parents.

Mr Önaç was suspended by the school’s governing body last month.

Parents began legal action over the A-level exclusions but the school later backed down and let the pupils return.

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

In September, a group of sixth-formers who did not get high enough grades at AS-level were told they would not be allowed to return to do their A-levels.

In the letter to parents, sent late on Friday afternoon, acting head Andrew Rees said the headmaster was departing for “personal reasons”.

“He leaves, with great sadness, a school which is now regarded as one of the nation’s most outstanding schools and one in which parents and pupils can have great pride and confidence.

“Mr Önaç would like to thank all those governors, staff, parents and students who have supported him over the last seven years and extends his very best wishes to them for the future.”

Parent Andrew Gebbett, who has two sons at the school, expressed relief at Mr Önaç’s decision to leave.

“The school can now move on,” he said.

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

One parent of a pupil affected by the exclusions but who has now left the school added: “There will be a lot of people who will be breaking open bottles of champagne tonight.

“You reap what you sow.”

The parent, who asked not to be named, said it was appropriate that the school’s motto was “‘to right the wrong’ – and that’s what’s been done”.

Another parent in a similar position said she hoped the council’s continuing investigation into the matter “is robust and continues to be robust”.

She said it was a shame that parents had had to resort to legal action and the media but “if we had taken the regular channels, nothing would have happened”.