Headmaster, Bedales Schools

MA, PGCE Oxford (University College)

Keith was educated at Rossall School before attending University College, Oxford where he read English, followed by a PGCE.  He also gained 3 Blues at Rugby whilst at Oxford.  He began his career teaching English at Eastbourne College, moving on to Marlborough where, following a year’s teaching exchange in California, he became a housemaster.  He became Headmaster of Loretto School in 1995, overseeing the introduction of co-education, and Bedales in 2001.  At Bedales, he introduced the Bedales Assessed Courses – more stretching and imaginative alternatives to GCSEs which are as strongly endorsed by universities as they are by students and teachers. 

Keith is married with three offspring who are now all gainfully employed.

What makes a good teacher?
Having a passion for, and knowledge about, their subject, combined with a determined desire to communicate it and an enjoyment of the company of the students.

What are you trying to encourage and instill in your pupils?
As students and people:

  • Inquisitiveness of thought and a love of learning.
  • As people, an appetite for life.

Apart from your teaching role, what else do you get involved with at school?
As Headmaster of Bedales Schools, I teach as much as time allows – one lesson of Block 3 English (so I teach all new Block 3s) and one lesson at Dunhurst, teaching Block 1 English. I love teaching and really welcome the insight that teaching gives me into what life is really like for students and teachers here. Teaching is the lifeblood of any school. Apart from teaching... my job involves all sorts of things – happily, much talking with people, watching students and staff in action and doing all I can to extend the quality and range of opportunities open to students across the 2 – 18 range of the Bedales Schools.

In your opinion, what makes Bedales special?
There is something pretty unusual in the DNA here: inquisitiveness, idealism, warmth, confidence – all these words crop up: but the most important source, I think, of it all is the very unusual nature of the relationships in the place – maybe most unusually the mutual respect and affection between students and teachers.

What is your best memory at Bedales?
The best are often the most recent and homely – a really candid discussion with a group of students at lunch, for example.

Who and what inspires you?
The students and my colleagues – their energy and willingness to work together.

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.
I am top to toe Celtic fringe – half Scots and half Welsh.

Read Keith's blog. Keith has been announced as the Chair Elect for the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) and will take up his position of Chair in 2017 - find out more here.