Governors

Dukes Education

Dukes Education was founded in February 2015. It is a privately owned family of outstanding mainstream independent nurseries, schools and colleges, as well as a provider of summer schools and a leading university application consultancy.

Our schools are all different, yet they’re united in offering outstanding teaching and learning, providing the strongest foundations for young people to help them lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. We have twelve nurseries, nine preparatory schools, four secondary schools and three boarding and day colleges, supporting over 6000 pupils with over 1600 staff, including a strong team of educationalists and administrative staff supporting our schools.

Why Dukes?

  • We are genuinely passionate about developing young people. We get them involved and learn from what they say to help us define how to continue to innovate;
  • We think long term. All of our decision making is shaped by a goal to build schools that are not just excelling now but are set up for an extraordinary future;
  • We operate a decentralised structure, enabling our teams to be autonomous, this hugely empowers the Head and staff. We bring together schools that are diverse but all represent outstanding examples of teaching and learning. We pride ourselves on retaining the distinctive culture of each school whilst providing an outstanding level of support;
  • We heavily invest in staff training and development through programmes created by our own Dukes team – probably more than any group I know. In addition, we provide plenty of opportunities for peer group support.

Chair of Governors – Aatif Hassan

Aatif’s Background

I grew up in South West London and now live in Chiswick. I attended St James Independent School for boys, where I am now a charitable governor. At the time, the school was based in Belgravia (walking distance from Eaton House Belgravia) and moved to Pope’s Villa in Twickenham, which is now the home of Radnor House Twickenham (part of Dukes!).

As a bright dyslexic who loved sport, debating, drama and many of the co-curricular activities, I value the unique needs of each of our pupils. I personally needed a rich, nurturing, supportive yet academically-challenging and values-based school. Fortunately for me, with the support of my father who brought me up and my wonderful schooling, I was given the confidence to succeed, however I clearly remember the obstacles that I faced. Experiences with the British Army, sport, charities and work in the City gave me the clarity of purpose and resources to allow me to set up Dukes Education (and our sister company, Cavendish Education, which specialises in schooling for dyslexia and autism). I am lucky enough to say that I love what I do. I love working with young people and I want them to be the very best versions of themselves. I feel both proud and privileged to be part of the work we are doing at Dukes Education.

Deputy Chairman – Professor Mark Bailey

Mark’s Background

Professor Mark Bailey has been a Managing Director of Dukes Education since 2020, having served on the Governing Bodies of three Dukes schools and been Chairman of the Dukes Education Advisory Board since 2017. Mark is on the Board of Directors for Dukes Education and will become the lead governor for Eaton House Schools working closely with Luchie.

He has split a career between schools and higher education. He was Headmaster of Leeds Grammar School, then High Master of St Paul’s School (2011-2020). He is a regular speaker on independent education. Mark has been a Fellow of one Oxford and two Cambridge colleges and is currently Professor of Late Medieval History at the University of East Anglia. He played rugby for Wasps and England before decimalisation.
His vast experience in education will greatly support the school governance as well as provide an incredible insight into day and boarding senior schools for our pupils.

Dukes’ Values

Our values are the common thread that weaves through our family. They help us to steer through the daily challenges of the classroom and stick to what’s important. All our students, teachers, and parents are different, but sharing these values binds us together and makes us stronger.

We lead with heart.

No-one knows their school better than the Principal or Head who runs it. And no-one cares more about it than they do. So we make sure they lead on every decision, preserving the individual character and ethos of their schools. We look for leaders who are still children at heart; people who love the fun — as well as the fundamentals — of the classroom. These are the people who shaped the direction of Dukes from the very beginning, and continue to shape it to this day. And we do our very best to look after these people, because we know they’re the most important asset we have.

We’re a team.

Individually we can achieve amazing things, but together we’re extraordinary. So, while each of our schools is independent, they’re strengthened by being part of a family that shares resources and expertise. The best teams are made up of autonomous indidividuals. Our management structure has no more than four levels from our board of directors to the most junior members of our team. This means everyone knows where they fit in the bigger picture — and they have the freedom and flexibility to act quickly, and make decisions for their school.

We do it well.

We know that if we want to inspire excellence in young learners, then we need to achieve excellence in everything we do. One way we accomplish this is by working closely with regulatory authorities and inspection bodies to ensure everyone in the Dukes family delivers the highest possible standards. Additionally, the members of the Dukes Education Advisory Board come together regularly to discuss recent and future developments across the group. Their expert support and guidance not only helps us meet best-practice standards, it encourages us to set newer, higher standards for all.

We love learning.

We believe education should be exciting at any stage, whether you’re starting school, or you’re running one. So we’re driven to instil our lifelong love of learning in our students — through teaching inside the classroom and, outside, through our initiatives. We also provide extensive staff training, leadership and management programmes, so our teachers can continue their education too.