West London Free School Appoints Headmaster

Tom Packer describes the role as "an unmissable opportunity"

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The West London Free School has announced the appointment of Tom Packer as its Headmaster.

Mr Packer's appointment follows the announcement this week by Hammersmith and Fulham Council that there are two likely sites for the high profile new school - Palingswick House in Hammersmith as its permanent home and the Bryony Centre in White City as a temporary home for at least the first year while Palingswick House is being converted.

Although the move is officially unconfirmed until the council makes a final decision on the sale of Palingswick House at a cabinet meeting on February 7, it is widely expected that the sale will be rubber stamped.

And the school appears confident agreement has already been reached, referring to itself in its announcement as "Hammersmith's new secondary school opening in September 2011".

Mr Packer, 51 has over ten years' experience as a Head in both the independent and state sectors. He joins The West London Free School after five years as Headmaster of Teesside High School, a non-selective independent school, for children aged 3 to 18. The High School's most recent inspection report praised its educational results and its 'outstanding pastoral care'.

Mr Packer says: " The chance to work with parents, pupils and staff to shape The West London Free School from its very beginning is, for me, an unmissable opportunity.

" The parents and teachers who have backed this school have a strong and compelling vision for The West London Free School. They see it as a place where pupils will receive the kind of classical liberal education that will encourage them to think for themselves and achieve to the very best of their abilities.

" That's something I am also passionate about. I see my role as taking that vision forward to create a setting where everyone who studies and works here feels able and inspired to do exactly that."

Says Toby Young: " 'We had over 100 applicants for the headship and Tom stood out in what was an extremely strong field.  We're extremely lucky to get him. I'm confident that under his stewardship The West London Free School will become an outstanding secondary school serving every part of the local community."

Mr Packer adds: " Academic achievement will of course be at the centre of the school's vision. But at the school's heart will be the understanding that pupils cannot achieve unless all aspects of their emotional and social wellbeing are equally prized.

" Pupils will receive outstanding pastoral support and will be encouraged to participate in a full range of activities that develop all their skills so that they are ready to play their part in the world."

Mr Packer will take up his new position in April, subject to approval of the Business Case and Plan. He will spend his first few months introducing himself to local Primary School Heads and
other partners, such as The Lyric Hammersmith, whose involvement will add to pupils' rich and varied experience.

Prospective parents, carers and pupils will have the chance to meet Mr Packer at an Open Event at Hammersmith Town Hall on Monday January 24, prior to the closing date for admissions to the school on Monday January 31. You can find out more about this even on the school's website

January 19, 2011