Our story

Releasing Potential was founded in 2001 by Mike and Jo King, who wanted to help marginalised young people develop social, emotional and practical skills through engagement with the outdoors. Mike became frustrated that, as a mainstream PE teacher, he was limited in how much he could use outdoor education as a vehicle to bring about positive change in vulnerable and challenging young people. In the early days Mike and Jo ran RP out of the spare bedroom of their house in Portsmouth, involving outdoor-qualified friends to deliver on an ad-hoc basis.

RP has always grown according to the needs identified by funders and referrers, and in 2011, responding to requests from Local Authorities, we established our own full time, small-group SEN provision based in Havant – the Engage programme. Engage built steadily, and in parallel, we developed a full time one-to-one provision, for young people who are unable to manage even the very small group setting.  2012 saw a watershed in our story. Jo King, who had been working 3 days a week as General Manager, left to pursue a new career. It was clear that, if RP was to ensure growth, it needed a full time replacement. Dr Catherine Brennan was recruited that year as Operations Manager, and joined a team of 11. By the end of 2012, RP had purchased 7 Kingscroft Court, two Engage groups were thriving in the adjoining buildings, and 1:1 provision continued to increase. In 2017 Releasing Potential registered with the Department for Education and became an Independent School with over thirty staff and places for up to fifty students years 7-13.

Since 2001, Releasing Potential has been a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. We are governed by a board of trustees gathered from the worlds of education, social care and business, as well as an education steering committee that looks after the school. We now operate out of two school sites in Havant and Chichester, as well as a farm site, coffee truck, Sailing Centre and several small social enterprise businesses. Since 2003, our provision has developed to include an Independent School, Academic Institute,  and Social Enterprise Businesses.



The EOE2018 Conference – Reflection

The EOE2018 Conference – Reflection

The EOE2018 Conference has been and gone.  It was an intellectual whirl wind of ideas, discussions, meeting new people, understanding philosophies and evangelising about the work of Releasing Potential. I have been humbled by the interest shown in the work of...

OFSTED 2018 – what a report!

OFSTED 2018 – what a report!

As the staff at Releasing Potential School, myself included, sat in the lunch room one Monday afternoon this May, a call came through to our Senior Executive Officer in the middle of one of our student-led lunches. The message: “OFSTED are on the phone” drove fear and...

Releasing Potential achieves Independent school status

Releasing Potential achieves Independent school status

Founded in 2001, Releasing Potential has offered bespoke alternative educational placements to children who have not thrived in mainstream schools, since its conception in Portsmouth by founder and CEO Mike King. From its bases of operation in Hampshire and West...


Releasing Potential
Unit 7 Kingscroft Court


Charity No: 1097440
Company No: 04622100


023 9247 9762



© Releasing Potential 2017