Richard Backhouse named HMC chair

Berkhamsted Schools Group Principal named HMC chair for 2021-22

We are delighted to announce that Richard Backhouse has been voted HMC Chair for 2021-22. He will take up his post as Chair Elect in Autumn 2020.

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 it is currently facing.

“We will be adapting from what has been a period of change in teaching, during which many independent schools have delivered a remote learning environment and have found new and stimulating ways to teach from a distance. I hope that the many lessons we have learnt during this period can help us develop our educational partnerships and assist pupils in a variety of situations.”

Richard has been Principal of Berkhamsted Schools Group since January 2016. His cites his previous employment as including factory work on a kibbutz in Israel, bar work in a hotel in the French Alps, and running a bar in his hometown. He read Economics at Cambridge, expecting to go on to be a journalist. Experience of coaching sport to children in the summer holiday 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.

He stayed for six years before moving to Bradfield College.

At these schools he variously taught Economics, coached rowing and football, ran a Christian Union, and acquired managerial and leadership experience both running a boarding house and as Director of Pastoral and Extra-curricular activities. In 2005, he was appointed Principal at Monkton Combe School.

Berkhamsted Schools Group has partnerships with Denbigh High School, Luton, the Wren Academy Trust London and a local primary school, and its state school partnerships were recently highlighted as an example of best practice in a report to Parliament from the Social Mobility Commission.

Richard said:

“I am proud that 100% of HMC Schools have partnerships with the state sector and their local communities, and of the benefit of those relationships to enriching education more broadly. We have an exciting future as partners, good citizens and, at times, leaders in innovation driven by our independence and devotion to putting our pupils first in all things.

“In particular we have an opportunity to be at the forefront of learning to digitise teaching – for remote learning where appropriate – whilst still fostering great relationships and 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 its members and education.”


31 March 2020