Philosopher AC Grayling will ‘help define the DNA’ of new Camden free school

08:00 03 February 2013

AC Grayling. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin.

AC Grayling. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Philosopher A C Grayling is expected to find out next month if his plans for a new free school in Camden have met the first round of government approval.

The professor, master of the independent undergraduate New College of Humanities in Bloomsbury, has joined forces with Bellevue Education to set up New School of the Humanities.

The proposal was submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) in early January and a response from the DfE is expected in the next three to four weeks.

It was one of more than 250 proposals for new free schools submitted to the DfE before the January 4 deadline.

If successful, the trust behind it will be invited for an interview with the DfE about its proposal some time between March 4 and April 12.

Tom Legge, new schools director at Place Group, which is advising Bellevue and the New College of Humanities on its bid, said: “We are very hopeful, we believe we have put in a very strong submission.”

Bellevue owns eight schools in the UK and two boarding schools in Switzerland.

The New College of Humanities – an exclusive university which opened to 60 students last September – is the brainchild of Prof Grayling and charges £18,000-a-year, twice the standard British university tuition fees.

It offers an impressive range of lecturers, including Booker prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson and the Princeton history lecturer Sir David Cannadine.

If the proposal for the new free school makes it to the DfE interview stage and is approved, consultation will then be carried out before a funding agreement from central government is agreed.

It is hoped the school could be opened in 2014 with 100 pupils in Year 7 and the founders hope to attract 740 students by 2020 who will be taught the national curriculum, with an emphasis on the humanities.

“The idea behind the school is to serve the need in the local area, specifically south of Euston Road,” said Mr Legge. “A C Grayling has worked very closely with us in defining the vision and the vision becomes the DNA for the school. It will offer a classic liberal education with a focus on humanities.”

He continued: “The one thing that the free school system does give you is the freedom to innovate. If you look at the admissions policy on the website, it is anything but elitist.

“The bottom line is that, as with any free school and academy, there is no selection and no one is paying a penny to go to this school.

He confirmed that Prof Grayling would play a hands-on role at the school.

“Will AC Grayling be present at the school and taking part in the life of the school?” said Mr Legge. “Absolutely, he will.”


Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Highgate residents are protesting against plans for a large home to be built between mansions of “great distinction”.

A group of angry Swiss Cottage residents have launched a campaign group to oppose plans by a private school to build new classrooms


A wheelchair-bound mum remains scared to leave the house, as the bus driver who ran her over at a zebra crossing was banned from driving for six months

An 89-year-old pensioner from Kentish Town who has severe dementia has been found.

An appeal has been launched to find a missing 89-year-old man from Kentish Town believed to have severe dementia.


A lorry and a number 17 bus have crashed in Tufnell Park Road, the residential street being used as the main diversion during the A1 closure.


The funeral of a much-loved Hampstead Heath character who was killed in a road accident is being held tomorrow.


Residents in Frognal and Fitzjohns are being warned to protect their post after fresh reports of mail theft and fraud.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now