SIR PETER BIRKETT - OUR SCHOOL FOUNDER
As a British educator and entrepreneur with over 30 years 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.
When I heard that a 11-16 years special needs school in lovely Devon and Cornwall was to close, due to underperforming, I was determined to re-open this as a fresh start school with a new vision and approach. We renamed the school Highgate Hill House School and increased the age range from 5 - 16 years. The school is set in a beautiful forest surrounded by beautiful countryside.
Together with our Head-teacher Vicky Skelton and Chair of Governors Julie Smith, I believe we have created a school that provides a unique and enjoyable learning experience for young people aged 5 to 16 years with additional needs. The school's mission is to provide innovative, personalised and exciting learning opportunities that ensure our students are happy and successful in life, and our vision is to be the highest performing and first choice provider for young people aged 5-16 years with Special Education Needs both locally and internationally.
We welcomed our first full-time pupil in July 2017, and I'm very proud to say that the school has been growing rapidly ever since. We were also delighted when Ofsted recognised our achievements over a short period of time graded us a good across all areas in October 2017.
Before setting up Highgate Hill House School, I was employed as CEO for UK and Europe for GEMS Education – the largest provider of private education in the world. Prior to this, I was employed as Director General and founder of the UKs first federation of schools and colleges.
It was September 2007, when we broke new ground becoming the 1st Further Education College in the country to sponsor two significantly underperforming secondary schools, create academies and form a federation. When I left the organisation in 2013 the academies were named number 1 and number 3 in the towns GCSE league table. These are the best GCSE results ever achieved in the history of these schools.
Also in 2013 the College was named the highest performing post 16 General Further Education College in the country for 16 – 18 year olds with a success rate of 94%, 2nd in the country for 19+ with a success rate of 90% and 2nd in the country for overall performance achieving a success rate of 93.2%.
I have been both a Government adviser and Director on several National Boards, and have spoken and continue to present at national and international conferences around the world. I am also a member of the Worshipful Company of Educators, which provides a forum through meetings and social occasions to bring together members from all parts of the education world to discuss and exchange views on matters of topical interest.
In my role as School Founder and Director, I strive to raise the profile of Highgate Hill House School at both a local and national level, sharing the positive experiences of both our pupils and staff, and seek out new opportunities and partnerships to further enhance what our school can offer.
Sir Peter Birkett
School Founder & Head of Strategy and Partnerships
Cert Ed, MSc