The Gregg School

Culford School Appoints First Female Head In 142 Year History

Published by Culford School on Monday 27th of November 2023

After a thorough and competitive selection process, Mrs Claire Bentley will become the ninth Head since the school was founded in 1881. She will take up the post with immediate effect, taking charge of the impressive 480 acre campus providing an excellent all-round education to over 860 pupils aged 1-18. 

Claire has an outstanding reputation within the independent schools sector with an extensive and consistent record of achievement. She joined Culford in 2014, first as Deputy Head of the Prep School and since 2019 as Head of the Prep and Pre-Prep. She has a Masters in Educational Leadership and is an ISI school inspector.

Commenting on her appointment, she said

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the Head of Culford School. Culford has a well-earned reputation for excellence in and out of the classroom and I am excited to be leading the school as it continues its mission to unlock the potential in every pupil. We are resolutely ambitious for each and every one of our pupils and will continue to support them in becoming academically successful, globally-minded and compassionate young people.”

With 40 applicants from a range of top schools, the Board of Governors were unanimous in their decision that Claire was the exceptional candidate. Chair of Governors, Mark Donougher commented “I am delighted that Claire has accepted the position as the new Head at Culford.  In her new leadership role she will continue to be a pivotal part of the school’s strategy to enable our children and our people to achieve their full potential.  Following a rigorous selection process, the Governors and I are confident that Claire has the vision, values and passion to take the school forward. I wish her the very best.”

Culford School is one of ten schools within the Methodist Independent Schools Trust (MIST), that aim to reflect a Methodist ethos and contribute to diversity in education. Chair of MIST, The Revd Calvin T Samuel shared this statement “We at MIST congratulate the Governors at Culford for making an excellent appointment in their next Head. Mrs Bentley is an inspirational leader who has already demonstrated her mettle by leading the school at short notice through quite a challenging period. She holds the confidence of School parents, staff, and governors and MIST Trustees. We look forward with anticipation to all that is ahead for Culford in the next stage of its life and work under her capable leadership.” 

Culford School educates 860 pupils across three schools: Pre-Prep & Nursery (aged 1-7), Prep (7-13) and Senior School (13-18). The school consistently ranks among the top independent co-ed schools in the country. In its most recent ISI inspection it was judged ‘excellent’ in all four sections, the highest grading achievable. In March, Culford School was shortlisted in the Independent School of the Year Awards and received a 5-star rating from Fortune 500 World’s Leading Boarding Schools.


Culford School Appoints First Female Head In 142 Year History - Photo 1
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