Head named for proposed Hornsey Rise free school

Laura Birkett

Laura Birkett - Credit: Archant

The battle over the future of a contested school site took another turn as the free school set to open in September appointed a headteacher.

Whitehall Park, set to take over the former Ashmount site in Hornsey Rise in the autumn, has employed Laura Birkett to take the reins.

The site has been mired in controversy since Ashmount’s decision to move to new £16.5million premises, which opened last year.


Islington Council wants to bulldoze the old school and sell the site for housing, while people in the area want to save the 1960s building, saying the neighbourhood is already overcrowded.

While the building stood empty, around 100 squatters moved in, and when they were evicted in November a suspected porn studio was found.

New head Ms Brickett said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking up the post.

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“Ahead lies an exciting journey for everyone involved in developing our school as a beacon for learning.

“Together, our vision is to ensure we enable every child to thrive and so succeed within a safe, stimulating and welcoming learning environment where learning is fun, engaging and relevant.”

The final say on the future of the site lies with Education Secretary Michael Gove, but it looks increasingly likely the free school will open.

A spokesman for the school said: “Applications have been flooding in. The parents are absolutely delighted with the choice of head and we have been getting great feedback.

“We really feel its coming together now and everything is on schedule. We will be opening a school come September.”