Highgate School joins Eton in teaching at new free school

Highgate School teachers will join staff from other prestigious independent schools including Eton and Brighton College to provide expert tuition to pupils at a new free school.

The boys’ school in North Road, Highgate, will take responsibility for teaching maths at the Academy of Excellence, which is being set up in Newham, a deprived part of East London.

The sixth form college, which is state funded but free from local authority control, will open next year. It will only teach “12 hard subjects” in what organisers stress will be a robust academic school.

Adam Pettitt, Highgate School headteacher, said: “Most schools struggle with creating a community of mathematicians. For children in any school being passionate about maths can be quite an isolating experience.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to make a logical extension of what we are already doing to promote good, academic maths.

“There are fantastic sixth forms that are really good but they don’t all provide the kind of academic A Level teaching that some independent schools have. This school is trying to cater for that particular market.”

News of the collaboration came as Highgate School also announced it is to steer education policy at a new free primary school in Tottenham, as reported in the Ham&High last week.

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The twin announcements represent a significant increase in the outreach work carried out by the 16th Century school.

They are also nationally groundbreaking as Highgate is one of just a handful across the UK to have responded to changes in government education policy by taking such an active role in setting up free schools.

“Highgate was set up as a free school in 1565 and so it is in our charitable DNA to want to do things for children of all backgrounds”, said Mr Pettitt.

“The way of doing that changes, and this is a new interpretations and development of that idea.

“It is very important to me personally that we make use of what we are. That is, a school with great teachers who are very keen to be teaching kids with an academic bent.”