Sir Peter Birkett
As a British educator and entrepreneur with over 35 years of experience, my ambition is to find and deliver innovative solutions that ensure every student regardless of their age, ability or background receives the very best education, training and progression opportunities. The school's mission is to provide innovative, personalised and exciting learning opportunities that ensure our students are happy and successful in life.
When I heard that a 11-16 years special needs school in lovely Devon and Cornwall was to close, due to underperformance, I was determined to re-open this as a fresh start school with a new vision and approach.
In 2016, together with our Chair of Governors Dr Julie Smith and our Head-teacher Vicky Percival, we reopened and rebranded the school Highgate Hill House School. We welcomed our first full -time pupil in July 2017, and I'm very proud to say that the school has grown and developed ever since.
Situated in a tranquil countryside setting, the school has taken the UK's National Curriculum, and enriched the offer with outdoor learning, adventurous activities and therapeutic intervention. With small class sizes, a high staff:pupil ratio and a nurturing, therapeutic approach, the school works with children with special educational needs, including autism. Increasingly, the school works with children who suffer with very high levels of anxiety, and have been out of school for some times years
I am very pleased to say that the school has grown very quickly, and in March 2020 the DfE agreed a pupil number increase due to demand for places at the school.
The school has achieved a huge amount in a relatively short time - Highgate Hill House School was graded 'good' by OFSTED across all areas in 2017, has been a finalist for three national awards, achieved Investors in People (IIP) status - testimony to Governance, Leadership and thre passion, loyalty and commitment of all the school staff. March 2020 also saw a highly successful Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) compliance inspection.
Before setting up Highgate Hill House School, I was employed as CEO for GEMS Education and prior to this employed as a College Principal before founding the UK's first federation of schools and colleges. In September 2007 the federation broke new ground becoming the 1st Further Education College in the country to sponsor two failing secondary schools and turn them into academies and form a federation. When I left the organisation in 2013 the academies were named number 1 and number 3 in the town's league table with GCSE results of 74% and 69% - these are the best GCSE results ever achieved in the history of these schools.
Also, in 2013 I am proud to state that the College was named as the highest performing post 16 Further Education College in the UK for 16-18-year olds with a success rate of 94% and 2nd in the country for students aged 19+ with a success rate of 90%.
I have been both a Government adviser and Director on several National Boards and have spoken and continue to present at a range of national and international events. I am currently a member of the Worshipful Company of Educators, a national Special Education Needs group and member of Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor.
I am proud to be the School Founder and am delighted with the progress of the school to date - I will continue to do all that I can do to ensure all our special children enjoy school and given every opportunity to reach their potential.
Sir Peter Birkett
School Founder & Strategic Advisor
Cert Ed, MA