Talking Heads #11

At GKP we are always on the lookout for the head teachers hitting the headlines. These are the stories from the last four weeks that really caught our eye.

Heads have been writing a series of “myth-busting” blogs countering what they perceive to be incorrect assumptions about independent schools. Some notable posts that caught our eye include:

10. “Not all private schools are alike”, some, like this head’s, are tiny in size and face different challenges undocumented by the media – Tracey Wilson, Head of St John’s Priory School

9. Independent schools don’t “operate in their own little bubbles”. This school partners closely with state schools around south London, in keeping with the social vision of its founder – Richard Russell, Head of Colfe’s School

8. Not all independent schools are highly academic or selective. Some are special schools, supporting children with educational needs and disability – Daniela Szmigielska Shanly, Founder of Beech Lodge School

7. Attacking independent schools won’t solve the inequality of the education system, such as supposedly “far more generous resources” for London schools – Yvonne Williams, head of English and drama at independent girls school Portsmouth High

Education PR

6. Private schools bring “billions” to Britain; boost local and national economies and provide savings to the taxpayer – Shaun Fenton, Chairman of Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference [Scroll down page for letter]

5. In agreement with the above, the head rallying against Labour’s proposed VAT on private school fees – Alex Rentoul, Head of House Schools Group [Under the previous letter]

Meanwhile, other heads creating the headlines this month include:

4. The head running a successful comprehensive which has built up a reputation for expertise with SEN students - Julia Maunder, head of Thomas Keble secondary, Gloucestershire.

3. The Australian head backing independent schools for fostering independent thinking, they “must seize the opportunity to recreate education in its original, Platonic simplicity”. – Briony Scott, head of Wenona, independent girls’ school in Sydney.

2. The head pushing for entrepreneurial thinking in schools and the ability to assess risk and reward – Helen Pike, Head at Magdalen College School

1. The head encouraging sport in the run up to exams, “sport significantly boosts the confidence, resilience and performance of young people in the classroom.” - David Elstone, head of Hymers College in Hull, quoted in The Telegraph.


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