• Palingswick House Update 2015

    Dear Parents and Carers

    We had a very positive meeting about Palingswick House yesterday before the Parent-Governor forum in which Anthony Petrilli from the Education Funding Agency and Amy Levick from Mace, both of whom are working on the project, gave a presentation. The presentation is now on our website and you can see it here. As you know, work got underway before Christmas and Willmott Dixon report that they are ahead of schedule.

    As flagged up in previous letters from me on this subject, the school will move into Palingswick House in phases rather than all at once. The plan is for 240 pupils to re-locate at the beginning of Michaelmas term, with the rest following just after Christmas. Willmotts are hoping they’ll be able to refurbish the lodge and the existing building by the beginning of September and, if they manage that, the plan is for the Year 10s and 11s (as they’ll be) to be the first to move over there, with the Year 8s and 9s (as they’ll be) moving to Bridge Avenue. The Year 7s will be at Cambrige Grove for one term. However, if the refurb isn’t finished, Willmotts will install temporary classrooms in front of Palingswick House and the Year 8s and 9s will go to Palingswick House, with the Year 10s and 11s staying in Bridge Avenue. But whatever happens, the whole school will relocate at the beginning of January.

    I also wanted to let you know that the West London Free School Academy Trust has embarked on a consultation about opening a new primary school in Kensington in 2016. That particular school would come with its own building, entirely paid for by a developer, that would be ready as soon as it opens. You can find out more about that proposal here.

    I hope you have a good half-term break.

    Kind regards,

    Toby Young


  • West London Free School Charity Appoints New Chairman and CEO

    Press Release: 21st January 2014

    Cosmo Lush has been appointed Chairman of the West London Free School Academy Trust. Cosmo, a recruitment executive, was one of the founders of the West London Free School and has served as a governor since it opened in 2011. Toby Young, the former Chairman, has stepped down to become the Trust’s part-time CEO.

    The West London Free School Secondary opened in September 2011 and is the most over-subscribed state secondary in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham with 10 applicants for every place. It currently has 360 pupils. The Headmaster is  Alastair Naismith.

    The West London Free School Primary opened in September 2013 and is currently the most over-subscribed state primary in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham with six applicants for every place. It currently has 60 pupils. The Headmistress is Natalie de Silva.

    The Earl’s Court Free School Primary will open next year with a Reception class of 30 pupils.

    Given the challenges of managing an increasing number of schools, the Board of the West London Free School Academy Trust took the decision last year to appoint a part-time CEO. After an extensive search, Toby Young was selected for the role and his appointment was ratified by the Board on 7th January 2014.   

    Cosmo is a Partner at executive search and advisory firm Skillcapital LLP providing specialist recruitment and advisory services to private equity investors. He was a member of the original Steering Committee that won approval to open the West London Free School in 2011 and has been a Director of the Trust since it was set up. Previously, he served as Governor and Finance Committee Chair at St. Stephen’s Church of England Primary School in Shepherds Bush. Cosmo has an undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford and an MBA from INSEAD.

  • The West London Free School gets glowing end-of-term report from Ofsted

    In the last Ofsted report to be published before the summer holidays, the West London Free School has been declared good with outstanding features by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education.

    According to the report:

    * Teaching at the school is “good and occasionally outstanding” and lessons are “purposeful and fast paced”
    * Attainment in music and sport is “significantly above average”
    * Pupils “behave exceptionally well” and “are exceptionally polite and well mannered”
    * Bullying is “very rare”
    * The school has “good leadership”
    * The curriculum “meets governors’ aims of a classical liberal education”
    * Pupils “make good progress” and their attainment is “above average”
    * Pupils who speak English as an additional language (approximately 50% of the total) make “more progress than other students”
    * Disabled students and those with special educational needs “make similar progress to their peers”
    * Pupils’ attainment in music is “high”, thanks to “outstanding” teaching, with two-thirds of students studying an instrument, including half of children on the pupil premium which is “very high compared to other schools”
    * Sporting achievement is “strong”, with pupils being “well coached” and competing “successfully against other schools, often against older students”
    * A majority of pupils in receipt of the pupil premium are making “good progress”
    * Pupils are “very enthusiastic about the extra-curricular opportunities open to them, especially those related to music and competitive sport”
    * The school’s summer production of Oliver, which was being rehearsed and performed during the inspection, was “of a very high standard”
    * The school is “effective in encouraging tolerance and understanding, and in eliminating all forms of discrimination”
    * The school’s “promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural values is outstanding”
    * Safeguarding measures are “robust” and “governors have a very strong understanding of safeguarding and child protection”
    * Governors “give generously of their time” and the Chair of the Governing Body (Louise Allanach) provides “strong leadership”
    * Governors have “carefully considered” how to spend “the pupil premium money, to overcome barriers to learning and ensure disadvantaged students have the same opportunities as their peers”

    You can read the full report here.

    The headmaster of the school, Mr Sam Naismith, said: "I am delighted with the OFSTED report. The fact that the school was judged to be outstanding in so many areas after just two years is a great tribute to the pupils, staff and governors. We've all worked really hard to prove ourselves worthy of the faith parents have placed in us and this report shows that faith wasn’t misplaced. I was particularly pleased that music and sport were rated outstanding because those are two of the areas that our parents care passionately about."

    Toby Young, the chairman of the West London Free School Academy Trust, said: “This is a fantastic Ofsted report and all the credit belongs to the staff and pupils. Getting the country’s first free school off the ground has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’ve had to endure a good deal of personal criticism from the policy’s opponents. But moments like this make it all worthwhile.”

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