Duke of York's Royal Military School

Appointment of new Headmaster for Canford School

Published by Canford School on Tuesday 25th of June 2024

The Governors of Canford are delighted to announce the appointment of Chris Wheeler, currently Principal at Monkton Combe School, as Ben Vessey’s successor from September 2025.

Mr Wheeler is a highly experienced leader and this will be his fourth independent school headship. Alongside his existing position at Monkton Combe, roles have included Principal and CEO of Hillcrest International Schools, Headmaster of St Christopher’s (Brighton College Prep School), Housemaster at Brighton College and Deputy Head, Housemaster and Head of English and Drama at Peponi School in Kenya. Educated at Winchester College, Durham and Bristol universities with an MBA in Educational Leadership and Administration from UCL, he is currently Chair of The Institute of Boarding and a member of the HMC Finance and Risk Committee. He has previously served as Vice Chair of HMC, Chair of HMC South West Division and as a member of the HMC Inspection Sub Committee.

Mr Wheeler is married to Georgie and they have three children.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Wheeler said:

“I am honoured to have been appointed as Canford’s next Headmaster. During the interview process I was struck by the strength and warmth of the school community alongside a very evident sense of purpose and culture of ambition among all the pupils, staff and governors I met. I am very much looking forward to joining the Canford Community with my family next summer and building on the success of the school to date.”

Current Headmaster Ben Vessey said:

“Through my conversations with Chris, it is clear that he has a genuine passion for education and I have no doubt that he will develop and grow Canford in a myriad of ways through its next chapter. It is a unique school which will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am absolutely delighted that the Governing Body have selected Chris as my successor. I look forward to welcoming Chris and his family to Canford.”

Sir Gary Coward, Chair of Governors, said:

“Following a rigorous selection process, we are delighted to have appointed Chris Wheeler as the next Headmaster of Canford. He joins the school at an exciting time in its history, having celebrated its centenary last year and with the keystone of the current strategy, a Sixth Form College, opening early in his tenure. We will also take the opportunity over the coming year to celebrate the outstanding leadership of outgoing Headmaster Ben Vessey, who has grown the school to the highest roll in its history and has strengthened Canford’s reputation amongst the top co-educational boarding schools in the country.”


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