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Movers and Shakers: New Heads of Schools


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Movers and Shakers: New Heads of Schools

Keep up the date with the changing faces in the independent sector

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  • Dr Alex Peterken is appointed the new headmaster of Charterhouse. He will take up the post in January 2018 and moves to the school from Cheltenham College.

  • Robin Gainher, previously head at Beeston Hall in Norfolk and deputy head at Cranleigh in Surrey, has been appointed as the new head of Knighton House School in Dorset. He will be taking over from Sarah Wicks this summer, in advance of the autumn term 2017.

  • Mr Craig Williams, currently senior deputy head at Thorngrove School in Newbury, will take up the position of headmaster at Abingdon Preparatory School this September.

  • Mr Crispin Hyde-Dunn, currently headmaster of Abingdon Preparatory School, is to be the next head of The Dragon School, Oxford. Hyde-Dunn will take up the post in September when John Baugh steps down after 15 years of leading the school.

  • Mr Simon Reid will become headmaster of Christ’s Hospital from September. Reid is currently head of Gordonstoun School in the Scottish Highlands and will take over from John Franklin who has served as headmaster for nine years.

  • Miss Rebecca Lyons has been appointed as headmistress of the St Swithun’s Junior with effect from the beginning of the summer term. She moves to the Winchester School from Stroud, King Edward VI Preparatory School, where
    she has been deputy head since 2013.

  • Mrs Katharine Woodcock joins Sydenham High Senior School in London as headmistress in April 2017 as the school celebrates its 130th birthday. Her previous post was senior deputy head of Queen’s College, an all-girls’ school based in central London, and she succeeds Kathryn Pullen who is retiring.

  • Colin Baty will be the new head of Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, from September. He will succeed Jane Grubb who has decided to stand down this summer, after six years, to pursue a new business venture. Mr Baty taught at Dunhurst between 1999 and 2005 and his wife Debbie Baty taught at Bedales Pre-prep, Dunannie, from 1996 to 2005. They have also both been house parents at the prep school.

  • The Royal Masonic School for Girls in Rickmansworth started the new year with a new head, Mr Kevin Carson, following the retirement of Mrs Diana Rose. He moves to the school from The Grammar School at Leeds where he was co-interim head.

  • Mrs Vanessa Conlan is the new head at Epsom Pre-Prep and Prep. Mrs Conlan joined the school in January from Lonesome Primary School in South West London where she was head.

  • Mrs Olivera Raraty has been settling into her new role as head of Malvern St James Girls’ School. She moved to the Worcestershire school from Notting Hill and Ealing High School in West London where she was senior deputy head academic for six years.

  • Mrs Paula Mortimer joined The Lady Eleanor Holles School as the new head of junior school in September 2016. Mrs Mortimer was previously head at Saint Christina’s Prep School in St John’s Wood.

  • Dr Richard Maloney is Uppingham School’s 32nd headmaster. He joined from Bede’s School in East Sussex where he was headmaster and succeeded Mr Richard Harman who has moved on to become General Secretary of AGBIS (Association of Governing Bodies for Independent Schools).

  • Alexandra Neil has been settling into her new role as headmistress at Farnborough Hill, following Sarah Buckle’s retirement after nine years.  Former deputy head at Rye St Antony School in Oxford, Ms Neil is an active sports woman; a veteran of several triathlons, she is a keen scuba diver, and has recently taken up fly-fishing and golf.


Get acquainted with the new heads on the independent school scene.

Scroll through our gallery for the latest appointments at prep, senior and sixth schools across the country.

Last updated on 18 April 2017.

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