Friars East Free School application approved

Congratulations to the team at Friars Academy for its approval of the Friars East Free School. Place Group helped the Trust develop a compelling application to the DfE to establish a special school offering 145 high-quality places for students aged 11-18 with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan for moderate to severe learning difficulties, including students with autism.

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Our 100% record is maintained!

With the latest publications of Ofsted reports we are please to announce the Place Group has retained its ‘perfect’ record. We are delighted to say that with the recent awards of ‘Outstanding’ to Thomson House School and Gildredge House, every free school we have worked on has either received Good or Outstanding at the first Ofsted inspection.

While all credit goes to the leaders and staff at the schools, we like to think that we’ve played our part in laying solid foundations. Well done to all our schools!

e-Consultancy for Chichester Free School

Chichester Free School is the latest Free School to take advantage of Place’s e-consultancy offer. As an educationally expert group, the Proposers selected Place to provide ‘light touch’ support and access to a range of resources that are bespoke to each Proposer Group.

Commenting on the selection, Education Director for Place Group Bernard Abrams said, “We have invested heavily in knowledge management and continue to refine our offer in this area. Groups like Chichester have at their fingertips all the information they require with the ability to tap into a range of expertise throughout pre-opening.”

Chichester Free School

Let the transformation begin!

Place Group, in partnership with Bellevue Education Group, will be opening Rutherford House School in Balham in September 2013. Developed under the Free School policy movement, money has been secured from central Government to transform what was the Balham Youth Justice Court into what will be a stunning two form entry primary school.

Initial planning with architects and contractors has begun, and the open evenings for prospective parents have all been oversubscribed. Claire Delaney, Lead Proposer of the school, described the support from the local community as ‘overwhelming’, continuing:

“The school is starting to feel real now and albeit that there is a lot to do before September next year, everything is on track and heading in the right direction. There’s energy and purpose given to the smallest detail to ensure that from the outset we get it right. It’s extremely exciting.”

Cruising to success

We are delighted to have won a commission to provide curriculum support for the new Southampton Studio School, which is due to open in September 2013.

The sponsor for the new school is City College Southampton, and it will have a specialism of Marine and Cruise industries which reflects local industry and employer needs. Place consultants will work closely with staff from City College and the new Studio School to write a detailed curriculum for all four years, which will be delivered by the school when it opens. This commission builds on our experience and support for two other Studio Schools – the Creative and Media Studio in Kirklees and the Studio School in Durham.

Headmistress Designate appointed for Gildredge House

Gildredge House, Place Group’s co-proposed Free School in Eastbourne, has appointed Mrs Lea Gilbert as Headmistress Designate.

Mrs Gilbert is currently Deputy Headmistress of The Peterborough School, a highly regarded all-through, co-educational independent school, and will be joining Gildredge House in April next year. In the meantime, she will be spending time meeting parents, developing the curriculum and recruiting staff alongside the Governing Body. Commenting on the appointment, Simon Rule, who is CEO Place Group and Vice Chair of Governors for Gildredge House, said:

“We are delighted to have Lea on board. Her experience and ethos exactly mirrors the vision that we have for our 4-19 all-through school, where every child will receive an outstanding education. We have had huge interest from parents across Eastbourne and East Sussex, and our open days have been incredibly well attended. Having Lea Gilbert lead our school demonstrates the quality of education and commitment for high standards that we as the Trust and Governing Body expect from September 2013.”

To find out more about Gildredge House, please visit

Gildredge House