Kingswood announces new Academic Lead Team structure

Posted: 28th June 2022

The Governors and Principal of the Kingswood Foundation, Mr Gordon-Brown announce a development to the leadership structure of the school.

John M Davies is appointed Senior Deputy Head of the Senior School and Vice Principal of the Kingswood Foundation, after his 5 years as Deputy Head (Academic). In these years, John has led the academic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has implemented progressive curriculum developments to broaden the academic programme. He has also redesigned the school day to increase contact teaching time and has introduced a more robust assessment and reporting system, which empowers families with better data on their child’s academic progress. John has also maintained a focus on teaching and learning and continuous professional development. He also served as interim Chaplain for the School for one year before the appointment of Rev. Katy Thomas. Mr Gordon-Brown said: “Mr Davies has been an outstanding Academic Deputy and was the natural choice to assume the Senior Deputy Head mantle from Mr Opie. I am also excited about the wider Vice Principal responsibilities given to Mr Davies, as he supports me to strengthen links between our Prep and Senior schools, as part of One Foundation.”

Reflecting on his new role, John said: ‘It is an immense privilege to be appointed the new Senior Deputy Head of Kingswood Senior School, following in the daunting footsteps of Gordon Opie. When I arrived at Kingswood in 2017, I did not imagine the extent to which this community would shape my character and identity; in short, I am now a better person than I was because of Kingswood. I owe a great debt of gratitude to Gordon Opie, and to both Simon Morris and Andrew Gordon-Brown, for their support and mentorship and I am hugely excited about the future of Kingswood. It is a school with a deep and rich history and we continue to stand on the moral and spiritual foundation put in place by John Wesley all those years ago. I am immensely grateful to have the opportunity to serve the Kingswood family in my new role. I am excited, too, by the additional responsibility of Vice Principal, a role that is intended to stimulate further growth in the many connections between the Senior and Prep Schools. Having had two children come through the Prep School, I have great affection for our Prep and the fantastic leadership and teaching team who make such a difference to our younger students, and so I am very keen to work even closer with them over the coming months and years to further develop our cohesive, holistic and ambitious educational provision from the first years in ‘The Garden’ right through to the Sixth Form.

This new role has allowed for the appointment of Dr Rachel McIlwaine to the role of Deputy Head Academic. Currently Director of Studies at Dulwich College, London, Dr McIlwaine completed her Ph.D. in (Physical) Chemistry at Leeds University and then gained post-doctoral research experience in Boston, USA before training to teach on Imperial College’s INSPIRE scheme. At Dulwich, Rachel has worked to train specialist teachers, and has led the Higher Education programme. She has also been instrumental in Dulwich’s partnership work alongside developing supra-curricular opportunities that allow pupils to develop a love of learning. Her expertise and experience make her a clearly outstanding appointment for Kingswood. Andrew Gordon-Brown said: “In an enormously strong field, Rachel stood out as a natural leader and role model who will be a great fit for Kingswood. She comes with stellar academic and pedagogical experience which will enrich and enhance our strong culture of teaching and learning.”

Commenting on the role, Dr Mcilwaine shared: “I was particularly attracted to the position at Kingswood owing to the School’s academic success and innovation, by the warmth of the people I met when I visited, and by the incredible range of co-curricular activities on offer. I look forward to building on the excellent work of John Davies to further broaden and enhance the academic provision, giving pupils a life-long love of learning and excellent qualifications to match”.

We welcome Rachel, and her husband, Tom to the Kingswood community, and know that Finn and Cass, their two boys, will be welcomed warmly to life at Kingswood Prep School.

John and Rachel come to their new roles with excellent experience, boundless energy and track records in working with staff to bring exciting projects to life. These new appointments enable the School to continue to expand our offering of a broad and balanced curriculum and to ensure that we continue to deliver the excellent all round education for which Kingswood is so well known.

Categories: Kingswood School School News