21st September 2020 — William Austen joins Witham Hall School as Headmaster for the start of the academic year, having previously held the position of Deputy Headmaster at Ludgrove School.
Educated at Stowe School, Mr Austen went on to achieve a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry from the University of St Andrews. Upon leaving university, he followed his passion of equestrianism to become an assistant trainer on the jumps at a yard in the Cotswolds. It was during his time in Oxfordshire that a fantastic opportunity arose to join the teaching staff at Summer Fields School, where he duly completed his PGCE and taught Science.
Along with his wife, Jossie, who he met during his time at university in St Andrews, they went on to run a boarding house at Summer Fields School, where they gained a wealth of experience in pastoral care during their ten-year tenure.
Hailing from New York, Jossie achieved a first-class degree in History of Art, also from the University of St Andrews. She brings significant expertise from her roles at Oxford University and MoMA to her position in External Relations at Witham Hall and is already playing an incredibly supportive role in pastoral care. Their two sons, Archie and Sebastian, are very much looking forward to settling in to their new school at the start of the Michaelmas Term; Archie starts in Year 3 with Mrs Brewster and Sebastian, Reception with Miss Jenkins.
Mr Austen is a keen golfer, with a handicap of 11, an avid runner, with three London Marathon medals to his name, an accomplished skier and he adores his cricket – as a proud member of the MCC and an avid collector of Wisden annuals. Growing up on a farm in Norfolk, he developed a real passion for the countryside. He enjoys field sports and eventing, having competed at intermediate level, and is looking forward to exploring the local area. Mr Austen also has a keen interest in historical fiction and lepidoptery, where he can impressively name all species of butterfly in the country.
Having recently celebrated a record number of scholarships and with pupil numbers thriving following the gentle expansion of the Pre-Prep, Mr Austen arrives at an exciting time for Witham Hall School, commenting that, “The School is in a terrific shape and I am looking forward to building on the legacy left by Mr and Mrs Welch. We will continue to develop and expand our curriculum opportunities to ensure our teaching and learning is first class, while maintaining the unique, family-friendly community spirit so abundant at Witham Hall. Embracing traditional values, while striving to provide a cutting-edge provision, will enable us to offer the breadth of opportunity that will allow our pupils to continue to excel and flourish.”