‘I learned more on the stage and the sports field than I did in English or maths lessons’

The soon-to-be chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference is wary of intervention to force state and independent school partnerships. Thankfully, he’s old chums with the man pulling the trigger in the DfE… Shaun Fenton talks dinosaurs, drum ‘n’ bass and Damian Hinds with Charlotte Santry

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“I don’t do that.” Shaun Fenton is refusing point-blank to pose for a profile photo alone, insisting that the picture has to include some of his pupils.

The face-off with a photographer in the modern, landscaped grounds of Reigate Grammar School – on the hottest day of the year – is the only sticky moment of the interview. But it could be a telling one.

Fenton is about to take over as chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC). It’s a key role, representing the elite of the country’s independent sector, and one that comes with plenty of scope for personal grandstanding. ...

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