Sir Peter Birkett
A leading light in the world of education, charity and business for over 30 years, Sir Peter Birkett continues to deliver educational excellence through a passionate and results-orientated vision.
As the recently appointed Chair of the Educational Wealth Fund, Sir Peter will be leading the endowment fund’s mission of creating empowering, inspirational and creative learning environments for children across the UK.
His drive to achieve excellence in the field of education led Sir Peter to open Highgate Hill House School as an independent school for children aged between five and 16 years with special educational needs. Since its creation in 2016, the school, which is located on the borders of Devon and Cornwall, has been shortlisted for several National Awards including being named in the top 20 best employers in the country in 2020 and received several excellent external inspection reports including the independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) and a ‘Good’ rating across all areas by Ofsted. The achievements of Highgate Hill House School have inspired Sir Peter to explore the opening of a second school.
P5e was established by Sir Peter in 2014 as an education consultancy company designed to guide schools and colleges in identifying areas where performance could be improved.
In July 2013, Sir Peter Birkett was appointed CEO of the GEMS Group in the UK and Europe. During this time he established a new vision, strategy and structure as well as introducing a more rigorous reporting and budget planning system – he also led the development of a $1 million teacher award.
Sir Peter’s ground-breaking achievements in Further Education and the Academy Movement which he established, resulted in him being honoured with a Knighthood by the Queen in 2012 and he has continued to work tirelessly to ensure higher standards of education for all pupils throughout the UK.
In 2010 Sir Peter, alongside Sir Deian Hopkin, was appointed by the government as a University and Further Education National Apprenticeship Champion. Their joint remit was to design a concept that encouraged universities, colleges and schools to employ young apprentices across support services which included information technology, business, catering and HR. This project proved highly successful, with significant numbers of apprentices being employed within the education sector.
Between 2005 and 2013, Sir Peter was the Principal and CEO of Barnfield College. During his time there, Sir Peter led the college to be named ‘Outstanding’ in two Ofsted reports, increased revenue to c£60 million, and designed the first college-led federation in the UK.
Having created this federation, Sir Peter Birkett led the improvement of the schools, taking them from the bottom of the towns league table to the top. As a result, this model has since been widely adopted in the UK and beyond.
Sir Peter’s passion for excellence remains undimmed, and he continues to involve himself in all ventures which allow for the expansion of his vision for improving educational systems for all our children, whatever their capabilities.