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Stephen Perse Foundation announces appointment of new Principal

Published on 11/02/20

The Stephen Perse Foundation, a family of leading independent schools in Cambridge and Saffron Walden, announces today the appointment of its new Principal, Richard Girvan. 

Richard is currently the Surmaster (Head of the Senior School) at St Paul’s School in London, a position he has held since 2012. He will join Stephen Perse in August 2020. 

Richard has worked in education for 17 years as a teacher of mathematics, as pastoral and boarding house tutor, and coach of athletics and rugby.  Raised in Belfast, Richard read Engineering at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he also completed his PGCE while representing the university and his country in rugby league, winning a Blue. 

Richard has served as a governor at both King’s House School (a nursery, pre-prep and preparatory school in Richmond-upon-Thames) and All Saints’ Catholic College (formerly Sion-Manning RC Girls’ school, an 11-16 senior school, which recently became co-educational). He has also been the independent schools’ representative on the Richmond and Kingston Local Safeguarding Children’s Board and a keen supporter of the work of the Integrated Education Fund of Northern Ireland. He brings considerable leadership experience to the Stephen Perse Foundation, from these roles as well as from his time at St Paul’s, making this an important strategic appointment for the Foundation and its vision for education. 

Richard will succeed Tricia Kelleher, current Principal of the Stephen Perse Foundation, who announced her retirement following 19 years in the role last October. 

John Dix, Chair of Governors said: “Tricia’s achievement in transforming Perse Girls into our thriving family of successful Stephen Perse schools today is immense, and she has our deepest gratitude for her outstanding service. We welcome Richard Girvan as a teaching professional of the first order, and as a leader with insight and vision. In Richard’s hands the future of the Foundation, and its special mix of academic distinction and happy learners, is assured.”

Richard Girvan said: “The Stephen Perse Foundation is an exceptional group of schools with a compelling ethos that boasts brilliant staff and pupils and strives to achieve excellence in all aspects of the broad education it provides. I look forward to leading the Foundation into the future and working with the highly impressive senior team and heads of the Foundation’s schools and nurseries, building upon the outstanding work and service of Tricia Kelleher.”

“On a personal level”, Richard continues, “my wife and I are really looking forward to moving back to the wonderful city of Cambridge, a place we remember with great fondness from our days at the University. We feel sure that, with its rich history and modern vibrancy, it will be a fantastic place for our three young children to enjoy as they grow up.  They too are very excited for the move and looking forward to joining schools in the Stephen Perse Foundation in September.”