My own education was very different from that I now lead; having attended what would have been described as a “bog standard” comprehensive in South Wales and begun my teaching career in London comprehensives it was somewhat of a culture shock to take my first leadership position in a girls’ grammar school in West Kent.  From that experience I realised where students like me should have been able to go (though not a girls’ school obviously!).  

I was the youngest of six children born in a financially poor but emotionally rich family. My parents, while loving, had little formal education themselves and so were unable to guide or support me. Education was my saviour and my vehicle to a whole new world of possibilities. This is why I am passionate about the opportunities Grammar Schools provide and the need to cater for our brightest young minds.

At University I studied Medieval Theology and covered philosophy and ethics within the course. I therefore trained as an RS teacher and retain an abiding interest in philosophical and spiritual matters. What I loved about teaching was the opportunity to continue learning and so my interests have extended into computing, science, literature and so much more.

I honestly believe I have the best job in the world because I get to work with some of the most engaging and brilliant young people. It fills me with hope to see what they can accomplish for the world and I feel privileged to be just small part of their lives.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Ofsted Inspector and regular contributor to television and conference educational debate I have also given evidence at the Parliamentary Select Committee on Digital Skills and contributed to the Mayor of London’s education programme, being appointed a Music Champion for London. As the Headteacher of one of the top performing girls’ schools in the country my responsibility extends beyond my own students and never more so than in the education of young women and the work to make a fairer society for all.

I am most proud of such achievements. Establishing a unique partnership with the technology companies of Silicon Valley to support young female computer scientists, being the first state school to win the national ARTiculation award, creating the Townley Leadership Academy to train the next generation of Leaders and receiving national recognition from the Young Philanthropists Initiative. These serve to illustrate my personal vision of young people with “academic, emotional and physical confidence. Creating inspirational learners who have the courage to take risks and the wisdom to learn from their mistakes.”


Desmond Deehan

CEO Executive Headteacher, BA (Hons), MA Ed, FRSA




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