David Cameron Officially Opens Palingswick House

Prime Minister makes surprise visit to West London Free School's permanent new home

Prime Minister David Cameron has officially opened West London Free School's new permanent Home - Palingswick House in Hammersmith's King Street.

The Prime Minister delighted the school's 600 pupils when he took to the stage during assembly on the morning of Friday March 11.

He said: "I’m delighted that there are now more good schools in London and elsewhere as a result of the free schools programme, providing children from all parts of our communities with the best opportunities in life."

Journalist Toby Young, who founded the secondary school, described the Prime Minister's visit as ' a proud moment' and said it had been a surprise for the students.

He added: " It was a fantastic moment and something I hope they’ll remember for the rest of their lives."

The school's head, Hywel Jones wrote to parents saying: I am delighted to let you all know that Palingswick House was officially opened this morning by The Rt Hon David Cameron MP.

The Prime Minister was greeted on arrival by Toby Young, Ian Hunter, our Chair of Governors, and myself. We organised a session of the History and Politics Society, when the Prime Minister took part in a Q&A session.

Meanwhile the school and invited guests assembled in the hall for the official opening ceremony. The choir sang My Spirit Sang All Day by Finzi and there was a rousing rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain by a seven-piece band.

"The surprise visit caused quite a buzz among all those who were present and it was definitely a significant milestone in the life of the school."

The move to the restored Palingswick House comes almost five years since the launch of the West London Free School.

The building, which formerly housed voluntary and community groups, was sold by Hammersmith and Fulham Council in 2011 for an undisclosed sum.

However, renovation work on the building faced long delays, with the school split between two separate locations in Cambridge Grove and Bridge Avenue in Hammersmith.

The Cambridge Grove site also houses West London Free School Primary which launched in 2013 and Earls Court Free School Primary, which opened in 2014 and which eventually plans to move to the as yet unbuilt Earls Court development.

Last year Toby Young revealed that West London Free School Academy Trust will also open a third primary school in Kensington. The school's first reception class is due to open in September this year in a school currently being built in a new residential development at 375 Kensington High Street.

March 13, 2016