Highgate was founded as a charity. We work hard to make a difference to the lives of thousands of children across London each year.

For the last decade, Highgate’s charitable work has been channelled through our Chrysalis Partnership Programme, which started in 2008 as a Year 12 summer school for just 12 schools. Chrysalis has grown to become a year-round programme involving more than 20 Highgate teachers working on projects with over 50 partner schools across the London boroughs of Haringey, Camden, Islington, Ealing, Newham, Brent and Barnet.

All our partnership work, through Chrysalis, falls into three main categories:

  • Academic enrichment
  • University preparation
  • Careers and employability

‘What they have done for disadvantaged pupils, getting them into good universities, is unbelievable’


—TES Award Judge 2020

Our mission remains the same, whether we are working at early years, primary or secondary level:

  • We believe our programme of academic enrichment inspires pupils to want to study at the next level, whether that is primary school to secondary, KS3 to KS4, KS4 to KS5 or at university.
  • We hope to foster a sense amongst partner schools pupils that they belong to a wider academic community.

To deliver our robust and rewarding programme, Highgate employs a core Chrysalis team, made up of a full-time coordinator and a member of the Senior Team, and a growing team of Chrysalis Fellows. Our Chrysalis Fellows are former pupils of both Highgate and our partner schools who work as partnership teaching assistants in ‘Year 14’ or after they graduate.

‘When you have so many different diverse people in your community, it is hard to think that only certain people have access here and only certain people have access there. It’s about giving back to the community and being part of it.’


—Sarah Butterworth, Community Partnerships Director

In addition, 25 Highgate teachers from STEM, Sport and Exercise (SpEx) and Music spend 10–50% of their teaching time working on Chrysalis projects. Highgate pupils also work as mentors and participate in many Highgate-based partnership projects.

Highgate’s Chrysalis projects mean we share Highgate’s academic expertise with other schools, whilst broadening our own understanding of our community and playing a richer part in it. We can reach more children, beyond our own classrooms, and help them achieve their full potential.

Our Chrysalis work is a clear expression of Highgate’s commitment to social justice and social mobility.

Chrysalis projects


London Academy of Excellence in Tottenham (LAET)

In 2017, as an extension of our Chrysalis work, Highgate became primary educational sponsor of the London Academy of Excellence in Tottenham (LAET). LAET, is an academically rigorous sixth form in a community where such opportunities are lacking. Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is LAET’s lead business sponsor.

Highgate provided LAET with the full time equivalent of 6.6 members of teaching staff in English, geography, chemistry, physics, mathematics, art, design technology and engineering, French, Spanish and learning support. Seconding teachers is the principal way Highgate supports LAET. Not only does this make LAET’s budget work, it also embeds the Highgate experience and academic DNA in the classroom itself.

LAET’s Class of 2020 have achieved 74% A*-B in their A-Level, with a record 34% of grades marked with A* or an A. More than two thirds of pupils secured places at Russell Group universities, compared to the 1% of Tottenham school leavers in 2017. Additionally, nine pupils secured places at Oxbridge and 13 pupils will be embarking on courses in medicine, veterinary science or dentistry.


Chrysalis Accelerator Programme

Looked-after children will have faced many challenges and are likely to need more support than other young people as they make the transition to adulthood. Yet, in most cases, care leavers are not only making that transition at a much younger age than their peers but typically getting less support from their corporate parent than other young people get from their birth parents.

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    For this reason, it is vital to provide support for looked-after children from a young age and give them opportunities to dream big, plan for their future and bridge the academic gaps that often exist between themselves and their peers.

    We have a longstanding relationship with the Haringey, Camden and Islington Virtual Schools through the Chrysalis Accelerator Programme. Now in its sixth year, we provide looked-after children from these boroughs with a programme designed to raise aspirations and develop world of work skills, attainment and confidence leading to successful applications to higher education and into work.

Summer schools

After starting as a Year 12 summer school with just 12 schools, Chrysalis has grown to become a year-round programme involving thousands of pupils from over 50 partner schools across London from Year 4 upwards.

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    Highgate is Here Summer School, 2020

    This August, Highgate is Here (our Covid-19 support charity) will launch a Chrysalis Summer school specifically to help children who have been affected most by school closures and lack of access to technology.

    Our aim is to provide academic ‘catch-up’ lessons balanced with wellbeing support and practical skills-training to enhance employability. This year’s Chrysalis Summer School will take place ‘in-person’, following social distancing risk assessments put in place for internal pupils. Pupils who will struggle to get to Highgate safely can ‘call-in’ via Zoom.

    The project will see us welcoming 90 pupils from our nearest partner schools including Acland Burghley, Highgate Wood School, La Sainte Union, St Aloysius RC College and William Ellis.  Haringey, Camden and Islington Virtual Schools Looked After Children (LAC) will also be amongst those taking up places.

    Head Adam Pettitt says: “We will be offering lessons in core subject areas to bridge the learning gap for Year 10 pupils from our partner schools […] They will have missed almost six months of schooling by September, and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to counteract the emotional and educational disruption this has had on some of the most vulnerable children in our community.”