Toby Young’s free school buys £9million office block (and gets leadership help from Dame Sally Coates)

The Evening Standard is reporting that the free school set up by journalist Toby Young has bought a £9million office block it plans to turn into another school building, while local website is reporting that Dame Sally Coates, the former head of Burlington Danes Academy in Shepherd’s Bush, has stepped in to “keep an eye” on the school as it searches for a new headteacher….

The West London Free School now has three Hammersmith sites — only one being used for lessons.

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter said: “I don’t have a problem with money going to education or new schools opening, but I want all children in my constituency to get the money, not for it to be handed out to Michael Gove’s mates.”

The West London Free School is based in Cambridge Grove. It was due to move into premises at Palingswick House, in King Street, last year but the move was put off because building work is ongoing.

By September, the secondary will be too big for the Cambridge Grove site and is to be split between buildings, including the new £9.25million Bridge Avenue block.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education and a spokesman for West London Free School declined to comment…

More at: Toby Young’s free school buys £9million office block

The website also has more on this and news that Dame Sally Coates, the former head of Burlington Danes Academy in Shepherd’s Bush, has stepped in to “keep an eye” on West London Free School and assist the school as it searches for a new headteacher. See: Former Burlington Danes to assist school in search for third headteacher

On the basis the secondary school is heavily over-subscribed and two primary schools are also being launched, does this sound a welcome move to build upon success? Do you have any reservations? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Free Schools.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove The fact that neither free school nor DfE commented should be a worry. Mr Young basks in media coverage as do DfE

  2. Janet2

    Oversubscription figures should always be taken with a pinch of salt.  They include all mentions of a school in parents’ preference forms irrespective of order. 

    Schools and the DfE all give out these misleading “oversubscription” figures to “prove” popularity.  But its deceiving.  I wrote about it here:



  3. LaCatholicState

    SchoolsImprove Thank God for free schools. Our educational system needs a big shake up and more flexibility.

  4. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState SchoolsImprove Shame though that on the whole this dream of yours and Gove’s is failing to live up to expectations.

  5. LaCatholicState

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove Not a shame at all…when you consider the alternative. Educating kids is not that complex esp with internet

  6. Jtgbluez

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold SchoolsImprove Education requires accountability and efficient resourcing. Free Schools provide neither.

  7. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState SchoolsImprove Technicians around the country are struggling to prevent the undesirable internet content #losingbattle

  8. LaCatholicState

    Jtgbluez PrincesBold SchoolsImprove And what accountability is provided in LE A schools….to parents? Precious little!

  9. Jtgbluez

    PrincesBold LaCatholicState imperfect but supported all parents by promoting high quality through efficient use of finite resource

  10. WgrahameW

    SchoolsImprove and yet hundreds of good schools cant get funds to maintain buildings to replace 10 yr old ‘temporary’ classrooms

  11. LaCatholicState

    Jtgbluez PrincesBold They are not supported by all parents…..some parents have no choice. Free schools provide choice. Thank God.

  12. LaCatholicState

    PrincesBold Jtgbluez SchoolsImprove Governors have limited powers…..they cannot over ride DfE. That’s a disgrace.

  13. LaCatholicState

    PrincesBold SchoolsImprove So what u want to do…..ban the internet?! Parents must educate kids and teach them to flee evil content.

  14. Jtgbluez

    PrincesBold LaCatholicState Free school places unfilled because parents do not feel they have a say. Unqualified staff not the answer

  15. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState Jtgbluez SchoolsImprove As a PGR I tried to prevent Lord Nash from Closing Discovery Free School.

  16. PrincesBold

    Jtgbluez LaCatholicState Discovery Free School only issue was being opened by DfE with an unqualified HT. Then ashamed, closed instantly!

  17. LaCatholicState

    Jtgbluez PrincesBold We know all schools have vacant places. And….qualifications matter more to teachers than pupils or parents

  18. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState Jtgbluez Unqualified staff destroyed the first closed free school. Qualifications important to all involved in education.

  19. LaCatholicState

    PrincesBold Jtgbluez Not necessarily. Education has proceeded for centuries without formal qualified teachers.

  20. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState Jtgbluez Should the oversubscribed schools be expanded and undersubscribed be closed?

  21. LaCatholicState

    PrincesBold Jtgbluez Maybe. Or maybe all schools should be helped flourish. Providing more choice for a diverse society.

  22. Jtgbluez

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold The qualities of the teacher in the class are key. Low paid, unqualified staff undermine children’s learning.

  23. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState Jtgbluez The free school the DfE closed was tryinig to provide a Montessori choice for parents, diverse, didn’t fit in!

  24. LaCatholicState

    Jtgbluez PrincesBold The best teachers motivated by love of kids and learning. Worst teachers see career, manipulation and money first.

  25. LaCatholicState

    PrincesBold Jtgbluez And?! We live in a diverse society…..we want a diverse education system!

  26. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState Jtgbluez DfE suggests it offers it by allowing free schools, the reality is different, all schools judged on same criteria

  27. LaCatholicState

    PrincesBold Jtgbluez If u are trying to turn me off Free schools….you are failing…and u will fail. Im not interested.

  28. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState Jtgbluez The state education system should be a one size fits all. Diversity should be in the realms of independent system

  29. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState Jtgbluez A free school is an Academy! They are failing everywhere in one way or another.

  30. LaCatholicState

    PrincesBold Jtgbluez Please…..don’t lie. I love Free schools. I refuse to send my kids to an LEA secular state school….EVER!

  31. LaCatholicState

    Jtgbluez PrincesBold Well I wonder would the community like to look after my brood while I go shopping on Monday then?!

  32. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState Jtgbluez PrincesBold … We all loved our free school Discovery… Now not one of us would touch another free school!

  33. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold Jtgbluez .. You will love it till it goes wrong .. At which point your find no support from the government!

  34. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold Jtgbluez SchoolsImprove .. Governors in free schools have all the power!

  35. LaCatholicState

    Save_DNS PrincesBold Jtgbluez SchoolsImprove Good. That’s why parents like Free sch. They reflect parents and pupils not Government.

  36. LaCatholicState

    Save_DNS PrincesBold Jtgbluez I disagree. People who love kids and teaching are more important.

  37. edujdw

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold Jtgbluez that’s a first. 80+% is now ‘very few’. Over 50% of free schools undersubscribed.

  38. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold Jtgbluez .Your totally wrong… Or shall I say it will go wrong without qualified leaders….From experience

  39. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold Jtgbluez .. You can have the best teachers.. But without the leadership you can wave goodbye to the school.

  40. LaCatholicState

    edujdw PrincesBold Jtgbluez But people apply to lots of schools…..doesn’t mean they want to enter them all.

  41. edujdw

    LaCatholicState Save_DNS Jtgbluez PrincesBold You like schools that are controlled by one despot, Gove he is in control of all acads.

  42. Save_DNS

    PrincesBold LaCatholicState Jtgbluez .. As would everyone, but they hold the funding agreement, they will pull it when and how they wish

  43. LaCatholicState

    Save_DNS PrincesBold Jtgbluez We have indifferent teachers in indifferent schools now. Which is why I don’t like State schools

  44. LaCatholicState

    edujdw Save_DNS Jtgbluez PrincesBold Parents have more say in Free schools. That is essential for discerning parents.

  45. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold Jtgbluez ..No concern..Experience & hope it does not happen to other communities who trust the free school!

  46. LaCatholicState

    edujdw Jtgbluez PrincesBold They already are! Im talking about afterwards! Unless I homeschooled them.

  47. PrincesBold

    LaCatholicState Save_DNS Jtgbluez Two separate teaching styles? TES AND INDIFFERENT TES Which would be best to advertise in?

  48. LaCatholicState

    Save_DNS PrincesBold Jtgbluez If u like State secular schools…good for u. Just remember….not everyone does. No coercion please

  49. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState edujdw Jtgbluez PrincesBold … They have nothing when Gove decides he wants to pull funding…

  50. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold Jtgbluez …Loved the free school for 2 years.Now would never risk my children being part of a political war!

  51. PrincesBold

    Save_DNS LaCatholicState Jtgbluez I think both Politics and religion should be for over 18s. Neither in schools!

  52. LaCatholicState

    Save_DNS PrincesBold Jtgbluez Nobody is forcing u to send ur kids to Free school….so dont force others to go to state secular schools

  53. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold Jtgbluez .. Not forcing just letting you know the grass is not always greener on the other side!

  54. PrincesBold

    Save_DNS LaCatholicState Jtgbluez I have blocked the religious nut case! Nothing more than a Troll. Gladly don’t come across too many.

  55. LaCatholicState

    Save_DNS PrincesBold Jtgbluez Thank you for letting me know. I advise you that the grass isn’t always greener in LEAs too.

  56. LaCatholicState

    chrismcd53 SchoolsImprove State LEA schools are OK but we also need a broader more diverse and flexible system. Free schools provide

  57. Save_DNS

    LaCatholicState PrincesBold Jtgbluez But the choice is not there when Gove or Lord Nash decide they don’t want your free school no more!

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