2nd April 2020 — Berkhamsted Schools Group Principal Richard Backhouse has been named Chair of the HMC (Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference), a professional Association of heads of the world's leading independent schools.
Speaking after his new appointment had been announced, Richard said: "I am honoured to have been chosen to lead this Association during what will be a very important year for the education sector following the unprecedented challenges the sector is currently facing. We will be adapting from what has been a period of change in teaching, with many schools in the independent sector delivering a remote learning environment and finding new stimulating ways to teach from a distance. I hope that the many lessons we have learnt as a sector during these past few weeks can help us drive forward in our educational partnerships to help pupils in a variety of situations."
Richard has been Principal of Berkhamsted Schools Group since January 2016. He read Economics at Cambridge, expecting to go on to be a journalist. The experience of coaching sport to children in the summer holidays for a charity gave him a sense of the value of teaching, and so he went to Oundle School in 1990, expecting to teach only briefly before returning to university to do a PhD, but stayed for six years before moving to Bradfield College. In 2005, he was appointed Principal at Monkton Combe School where he developed the scope and depth of the pupils’ opportunities and achievements.
Richard said: "100% of HMC Schools have partnerships with the state sector, and the benefit of the HMC to the educational sector as a whole is most obvious through these relationships. We have an opportunity to be at the forefront of the whole sector learning to digitise teaching – for remote learning where appropriate – while still securing the character education for which HMC schools are rightly famous all over the world. I look forward to serving the HMC, as it serves the sector, in 2021/22."
Berkhamsted Schools Group has a partnership with Denbigh High School, Luton and the Wren Academy Trust, London and local primary school, Hawridge and Cholesbury. Under Mr Backhouse’s leadership Berkhamsted Schools Group was recently highlighted as an example of best practice in a report to Parliament from the Social Mobility Commission (April 2019) for its state partnerships.