The Oakham School Headmaster discusses his background and educational philosophy

What is your background?

I was educated at Cumnor House Prep School in Sussex, followed by Eton College and Oxford University. I moved straight into teaching at Sydney Grammar School and am now in my second Headship here at Oakham School, via Sherborne, Rugby and Wellington School.

What excites you most about your working day?

The best days are when I am directly involved with pupils; I am currently having all of Year 12 round to the Head’s House for breakfast or an evening snack and hot drink/hot chocolate, but my weekly meetings with the Decem (Senior Prefects), watching concerts, plays and Saturday matches all give great joy. I still love teaching Classics, but it is also exciting when there is a conversation or a decision where I can add value and make a positive impact not just for a pupil, but a colleague or the School more broadly.

“We must remember that school days are precious in themselves, not just a preparation for the future”

How would you describe your educational philosophy?

Our key role is to care for children and help them grow up. Pastoral care and support are the starting point and we build the learning, in and out of the classroom, on top of this. We must remember that school days are precious in themselves, not just a preparation for the future, and it is a great joy working with parents to guide and support teenagers through these pivotal years. I hope that they will emerge with the values, skills and knowledge to take the next steps and be successful and fulfilled in their lives, not to mention having made great  friends and memories.

Can you tell us about one pivotal moment in your teaching career?

I think the pivotal moment for me was becoming a parent. When the first of my four children was born, I felt a deeper connection to my professional role and better understood the responsibility and position of trust I have in educating other people’s children. With my children now aged between 9 and 16, I feel that even more strongly.

Henry Price Headmaster, Oakham School Copy
Henry Price, Headmaster of Oakham School

What sets Oakham School apart?

As we celebrate 20 years of the IB Diploma and 50 years of co-education, Oakham stands apart as a great and grounded school with a balance of tradition and innovation. There is a remarkable breadth and depth of opportunity in and out of the classroom, with the introduction of the IB Middle Years Programme in Years 7-9, combined with GCSE, A Level, BTEC,  and the IB Diploma as pupils move through the School. The key to success, however, is that all of this is underpinned by a commitment to pastoral care, which runs deep in the DNA of the School.

What makes a great student?

One who contributes, who cares in the broadest sense and who shows courage. Great students seize opportunities and get stuck in; they are warm, fun and friendly to pupils and adults; they are not afraid to work, to try new things and to be themselves, but also really understand, respect and appreciate the people around them.

What makes a great school environment?

A sense of purpose, a sense of values and genuine care for all who are part of the community. Above all, it’s a place where pupils can find a pathway that suits and inspires them, and where families can feel a sense of connection and belonging.

Further reading: Focus profile of Oakham School

Oakham School: