New head wants ‘ambitious’ school to keep producing future leaders

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A new broom is sweeping through the school corridors after the appointment of Richard Backhouse as headteacher of Berkhamsted School.

Mr Backhouse, whose job will also see him lead the broader Berkhamsted Schools Group, took over the role this week.

And he sees one of his first tasks as understanding the strengths and enduring characteristics of the school, whose foundation dates back 475 years.

Mr Backhouse said: “I’m delighted to be joining this fast-moving and ambitious group of schools that still retains an affection and respectful regard for its long history dating back to 1541.

“I recognise so many qualities that make this family of schools exceptional, and see my role to work with staff, pupils, parents and other friends of the schools in allowing these characteristics to thrive within a vibrant, happy community.”

Mr Backhouse also acknowledged the work already underway at the school to ensure that staff are motivated and feel valued.

He said: “The school was recently awarded an Investors in People Gold award – as far as we understand, the only independent senior school in the country to achieve this accolade – and an ambitious CPD programme informed by an innovative appraisal system is in place to help the school achieve its goals in striving for teaching excellence.

“We have an exciting year ahead with several events lined up to celebrate the 475th anniversary.

“I’m looking forward to becoming part of this historic school with its sights set firmly on producing contributing members of society.”

And he sees pupils’ contribution to society as being a key marker of the school’s success.

He added: “This is why it’s so important that we do more than provide excellent tuition.

“It’s about the character-building that goes on through activities such as adventure training and expeditions, participation and performance on the stage and on the sports field, giving time to community service and opportunities to develop leadership skills.”