Oundle School Makes Historic Appointment

SONY DSCSeptember 2015 will see the arrival of Oundle School’s first female Head, Mrs Sarah Kerr-Dineen, following the retirement of Charles Bush as Headmaster.

Oundle School has thrived during the ten years of Charles Bush’s dynamic leadership, which has seen the development of a number of the school’s facilities, as well as academic achievement and focus.

Mrs Kerr-Dineen is currently the Warden at Forest School, where she has been the driving force behind a number of educational developments,
notably the Martin Centre for Innovation. Forest School is known for its Diamond structure, where from ages 4 to 7, children are taught in coeducational classrooms, then separated into classes for boys and girls through to GCSE, and then reunited for the Sixth Form. This structure is said to maximise academic ability, while also maintaining all the benefits of a coeducational education.

Mrs Kerr-Dineen was educated at Steyning Grammar School, West Sussex before going on to gain an MA in English at Trinity College, Cambridge, followed by graduate study at Christ Church, Oxford. Her teaching career spans more than twenty years, including thirteen at St Edward’s, Oxford where she was also a boarding Housemistress and Director of Studies.

The new Head at Oundle School will mean that there will be four female head teachers in the town: Mrs Susan Wake of Oundle Primary School, Mrs Gillian Walsh of Oundle Middle School, and Mrs Janet McMurdo, Executive Head.

For the first time in more than 450 years, Oundle School will be led by women, with Mrs Kerr-Dineen supported by Mrs Daviona Watt, Deputy Head.

Oundle may have a high representation of women among its educational leaders, but this is not representative of the country as a whole, particularly in the independent sector. Of the more than 240 top independent schools that make up the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), less than ten percent are led by female heads.

By Thomas Bailey