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Sir Peter Birkett

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. Our 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 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 and a new Headteacher, 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 to pupil ratio and a nurturing, therapeutic approach, the school works with children with special educational needs with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP).


The school has achieved a huge amount since opening, we were graded 'good' by OFSTED across all areas in our first inspection, has been a finalist for several national awards and in 2020 named in the top 20 best employers in the country.  In March 2020 we were inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) and we were delighted to have met all of the required compliance standards. These outcomes are testimony to the hard work and passion of all involved with our special school.


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.

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