Meet the headteachers of some of the Cotswolds' top schools

PUBLISHED: 15:28 21 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:15 21 August 2019

(c) Mahmud013 / Getty Images

(c) Mahmud013 / Getty Images

mahmud013@gmail.com>05354422565 (mahmud013@gmail.com>05354422565 (Photographer) - [None]

When finding a school for your child, there will be nobody better than a school's headteacher to tell you exactly what that place is all about. We meet the headteachers of 6 great schools in the Cotswolds

Helen Pike, Magdalen College SchoolHelen Pike, Magdalen College School

Helen Pike - Magdalen College School

Cowley Place, Oxford, OX4 1DZ / 01865 242191

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How long have you been at Magdalen College School?

Since September 2016

What attracted you to it?

I was an MCS step-parent for eight years-- so I knew at first-hand the transformational power of a MCS education.

What do you consider the strengths of the school to be?

We are a powerhouse not a hothouse - we achieve perennially high exam results not in spite of wide array of the extracurricular activities our pupils do, but because of them. We can be top ten academically and national tennis champions two years running!

Tell me something about your pupils…

7-16 boys 16-18 coed. All backgrounds, all faiths, over 60 languages spoken at home.

Famous alumni?

Sam Mendes, Ivor Novello, Noel Chavasse VC and Bar

What does the future hold?

More of everything, in particular bursaries and links with the wider world.

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Jonathan Cuff, dOverbroecksJonathan Cuff, dOverbroecks

Jonathan Cuff - d'Overbroeck's

333 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 7PL / 01865 688600

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How long have you been at d'Overbroeck's?

Two years

What attracted you to it?

It was completely different from more formal schools that I have worked in. I wanted to be a part of something different, something modern and forward thinking without the constraints of history.

What do you consider the strengths of the school to be?

This is simple! Most schools talk about a unique culture; we really have it. The relationship between staff and students embodies all that we are. Their education is a team game, and we are all invested in it collaboratively. When you look at more traditional schools, the relationships here are extraordinary and bring the best out of students. We have had the highest 'valued-added' in Oxfordshire at A level for he past two years.

Tell me something about your pupils…

We are a co-educational school from 11 - 19 years of age. This year we will have approximately 670 on roll, with over half from the UK. Our students, well... they are taught to love learning, to interact with those who are helping them. They are forward-thinking, academically motivated, but above all, kind.

Famous alumni?

Dia Chakravarty (Journalist, currently Brexit Editor at The Times), Tarquin Leadbetter (Founder of Tarquin's Gin) and Steph Croft-Simon (Founder of NOM Foods), to name a few).

What does the future hold?

We have seen amazing growth at the school over the past three years and our numbers have risen from around 500 to 670. We have moved into a new and incredible sixth form building and have taken on three new boarding houses in the last two years. The demand for a modern education where students are pushed academically, achieve, and are happy is a successful formula. We are confident that we can keep delivering this with the brilliant staff we have to an ever growing number of students. However, our most important future is now, and making sure that the experience our current students have is truly a d'Overbroeck's one.

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Nick Seward, Kingham Hill School (c) Ollie TigwellNick Seward, Kingham Hill School (c) Ollie Tigwell

Nick Seward - Kingham Hill School

Kingham, Chipping Norton, OX7 6TH / 01608 658999

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How long have you been at Kingham Hill?

11 years

What attracted you to it?

The Christian ethos and the Founder's vision - it is a school with a soul

What do you consider the strengths of the school to be?

A family feel, fantastic teachers, and a stunning setting. KHS came first in Oxfordshire this year for the progress our Sixth Formers make academically, and we were selected for the Parliamentary Review which highlights outstanding practice

Tell me something about your pupils…

They are a diverse, polite, and personable bunch! It is a cosmopolitan mix, and our unique US accreditation (alongside GCSEs and A Levels) means about 15% of our boys and girls are American

Famous alumni?

Lord Andrew Adonis is our most well-known alumnus, but we are well-represented in many fields, not least pop music...

What does the future hold?

I've said I will be here to see my four children through, and a strategic vision which will take KHS to 2030 and beyond. We are mid-way through an ambitious redevelopment programme - exciting times.

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Richard Nicholson, King's High School (c) David Clarke Warwickshire WeddinRichard Nicholson, King's High School (c) David Clarke Warwickshire Weddin

Richard Nicholson - King's High School

Landor House, Smith Street, Warwick, CV34 4HJ / 01926 494485

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How long have you been at King's High School?

Since September 2015

What attracted you to it?

King's has a great reputation both locally and nationally. When I visited the school, the warmth and purpose of the school community was immediately apparent - that very definite 'spirit of King's' which greets everyone who visits.

What do you consider the strengths of the school to be?

We are a very forward-looking school. Everyone works hard to get the very best out of each other, in a supportive and inclusive environment. Wellbeing is at the heart of everything - and we are delighted that this was recognised by the Diana Award, when we became a 'showcase school'.

Tell me something about your pupils…

King's High and Warwick Prep became one school a few years ago, within the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation. King's has girls 11-18, and Warwick Prep girls, 3-11 and boys, 3-7. Our pupils are engaged, motivated and want to make a difference to both the school and wider community.

Famous alumni?

Our former pupils go on to a wide range of careers, including industry, science and the arts. Some who have achieved particular success include Dame Julia Slingo, Baroness Jolly, Catherine Bott, Sophie Turner and Gemma Whelan.

What does the future hold?

We are moving into our new, state-of-the-art school in September, alongside our sisters and brothers in Warwick Prep and Warwick School, as part of 'Project One Campus': projectonecampus.co.uk. This is such an exciting time for us, with some £40million invested in our pupils - so come and visit!

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Susan McLean, Kitebrook Preparatory School (c) Andrew Ogilvy PhotographySusan McLean, Kitebrook Preparatory School (c) Andrew Ogilvy Photography

Susan McLean -Kitebrook Preparatory School

Little Compton, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0RP / 01608 674350

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How long have you been at Kitebrook Preparatory School?

Since August 2013

What attracted you to it?

My very first visit to Kitebrook was during a long holiday - no children, staff or parents to meet - so my initial attraction was one of being immediately drawn to the unique environment and what seemed to be an enormous amount of untapped potential. An exciting challenge presented - retain tradition and excellence and, at the same time, ensure compliance and progression.

What do you consider the strengths of the school to be?

We treasure the founding principles and traditions of Kitebrook as they ensure a genuinely caring environment where staff work together to provide professional and personal attention for each child and family.

Tell me something about your pupils…

Kitebrook pupils, a very nearly even split of boys and girls ranging in age from 3-13, are mannerly, articulate, responsible and happy. They confidently talk about the mindset and leadership skills that are necessary for their future.

What does the future hold?

Extraordinary developments are already afoot as a result of strong pupil numbers and capital investment from The Cothill Trust. Introducing the Prep School's Baccalaureate for Upper School Pupils and adding an Astro Turf tops our list of exciting changes.

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Nick Oldham, Bredon SchoolNick Oldham, Bredon School

Nick Oldham - Bredon School

Pull Court, Bushley, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 6AH / 01684 293156

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How long have you been at Bredon School?

I have joined Bredon this September

What attracted you to it?

Bredon values every pupil and places great importance on developing life skills that cannot simply be 'studied', such as teamwork, self-reliance, communication and community values. Children are happy and supported here and therefore make great academic and emotional progress; when they leave, they are fully prepared and qualified for life after school

What do you consider the strengths of the school to be?

Bredon offers CReSTeD accredited specialist support to children with dyslexia, dyspraxia and associated learning needs. Through our diverse curriculum - offering everything from photography to childcare, to engineering and agriculture - we focus on the needs and strengths of each child, whilst building self-esteem through success both inside and outside of the classroom. It is wonderful to have resources such as a working school farm, CISCO Academy and clay pigeon shooting ground to offer too!

Tell me something about your pupils…

Our pupils [aged 7-18] are happy, adventurous, creative, determined and above all, kind and caring. I was delighted Bredon came number one of 4434 schools and colleges in England this year for 'value added' for 16-18 year olds in figures released by the Department for Education.

What does the future hold?

Continuing to build on our core values whilst further developing our unique offer with a varied and pupil focused curriculum and exceptional dyslexia support provision.

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