Appointment of Deputy Head (External Relations)

We are delighted to share with you the news that Stephen Prest has been appointed Deputy Head (External Relations).

As many of you will be aware, our current Director of External Relations, Lucy Barnwell, will be leaving us soon. Lucy will be taking up a post at Manchester High School for Girls in the Spring and I know that she is looking forward to a much shorter commute. Lucy’s contribution to Rossall has been invaluable and it has been an absolute privilege to work alongside someone so creative, loyal, hardworking and good humoured. The strong relationships that Rossall enjoys with parents, staff, guardians, agents and all those connected with this School are in no small part reflective of Lucy’s
insistence on the highest possible standards. Lucy is industrious and radiates positivity and, in a fast moving world, we have been tremendously fortunate to have Lucy with us for almost five years. Our student roll is higher than ever but, more importantly, the School is an impressively cohesive and fundamentally happy community and this is due to the value that we place upon clear communication and outstanding relationships. We thank Lucy for her energy, enthusiasm and dedication and wish her and her husband Nick all the best for the future.

Chris Holt (Chairman of Council) and all of those involved in the recruitment process are tremendously excited by this new appointment, as Stephen’s track record of achievement is formidable. Within a very strong field, Stephen’s clarity of vision, intimate knowledge and manifest love of the School served to really set him apart from other applicants. Above all else, Stephen’s commercial understanding of the sector, boundless ambition for Rossall, and obvious personal warmth made him a very natural choice for this most important of roles.

Commenting on his appointment, Stephen said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed to the position of Deputy Head (External Relations). Rossall is not simply a place but a community and the superb successes that our students enjoy are built on the strength of the relationships between all members of our community. I very much see my role as developing and strengthening those relationships. Lucy leaves very big shoes to fill but as she departs Rossall, she does so having put in place a fantastic team and at a moment when we have a record number of students on roll. I look forward to working with Lucy and the team during the transition, and to meeting with as many members of the Rossall community as possible.“

A keen sportsman, and politics graduate, Stephen’s voracious intellectual appetites are complemented by a keen appreciation of the interpersonal dimension of School life. Here at Rossall, his leadership of the Sixth Form has helped inspire the strongest results in a generation (48% A*/A at A level) and an IB Diploma average of 34 points. The vast majority of Rossallians are now heading off to Russell Group/Top 20 universities and a growing number are winning scholarships to leading institutions overseas. In a short space of time, Stephen’s leadership of the Sixth Form has served to confirm our place as a sector leader within both the North West and UK. Of course, it is not all about results, and the aspirational culture that pervades our Sixth Form community is reflective of Stephen’s ability to encapsulate the ethos and values of Rossall by blending tradition with a dynamic and progressive approach to strategic development. Stephen will retain oversight of the Sixth Form for now and will be assisted by senior colleagues including Louise Peden (Deputy Head of the Sixth Form).

Stephen is a ‘people person’ insomuch as he is approachable, pragmatic and friendly. It is no surprise that since joining us in 2019, he has become such a hit with pupils, parents and colleagues alike. Over the next little while, he will work very closely with Lucy Barnwell to ensure a seamless transition.

Stephen will have oversight of all aspects of external relations including recruitment, marketing, communications, alumni relations and school events. I know that he will look forward to meeting everyone in due course but for now, I am sure that you will wish to join me in congratulating Stephen.

This is an exciting appointment, not least because Stephen combines deep institutional knowledge of Rossall with a very strong understanding of the national and international educational landscape.

The School’s current and future success is built upon nurturing and maintaining outstanding relationships with those within our own community whilst working hard to form ever stronger partnerships regionally, nationally and internationally. The creation of a Deputy Headship post entirely dedicated to this aspect of our operation is reflective of our desire to ensure that this vitally important aspect of school life is placed right at the very heart of our leadership structure – alongside the pastoral and academic functions.

Jeremy Quartermain

Monday, 18th January 2021