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HMC appoints new leader to represent elite independent schools

Independent schools should play a key part in a diverse liberal education system, says new HMC boss

Mike Buchanan, new executive director of HMC

Independent schools should play a key part in a diverse liberal education system, says new HMC boss

The next leader of the organisation representing independent school headteachers has said he wants the sector to play a key part in a “diverse and liberal education system which helps all children reach their potential.”

Mike Buchanan will become the first executive director of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) later this year. The role is replacing the HMC general secretary.

Mr Buchanan is currently headmaster of Ashford School in Kent and was the HMC’s chairman in 2016-17.

The current chairman Chris King said: “Mike’s abilities and the depth and breadth of his experience is exceptional.

"We have every confidence that he will provide the continuity and understanding necessary to lead HMC in providing first-class support to members and providing real value to education for children wherever they go to school.”

Mr Buchanan, who is Australian, has taught at several independent schools, is a school governor and a lead inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

He said: “I am honoured and excited to be taking on this role. HMC is the English-speaking world's oldest association of headteachers, and its members lead some of the most respected schools in the UK and worldwide.

“My aim is to enable them to flourish as a key part of a diverse and liberal education system that helps all children reach their potential.”

The current general secretary, Dr William Richardson, will step down on 31 October this year and Mr Buchanan will take up the new role of executive director in November.

Chris King said: “Dr Richardson has been an outstanding general secretary.

"His towering intellect combined with patience and rigorous attention to detail has made him a thoughtful leader who has gained the utmost respect from those within HMC and beyond. We have much to thank him for.”

Over the past 30 years, Mr Buchanan has worked with both boys and girls in outstanding independent schools in London and Surrey.

Previously he told Tes how schools employing career changers could help tackle teacher recruitment issues.

Speaking to Tes as chairman of the HMC in 2016 he said recruiting people who have worked in other fields before going into teaching offers schools “something slightly different, and brings a different perspective on life, a bit of life experience.”

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