What do Sir John Betjeman, Cressida Dick, Tom Hiddleston and Emma Watson have in common? They all attended the Dragon School in Oxford, a co-educational boarding and day school that offers an exceptional educational experience for both boys and girls from 4 to 13 years. The Dragon enjoys an international reputation and can boast a variety of eminent dragons – and now it can boast a new high-flying Headmaster as it welcomes Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn into its lair. Dr Hyde-Dunn says it is ‘a huge privilege to be a custodian of a school that has fulfilled its promise for so many previous generations’.
The Head of the Dragon is a prestigious post and it is one that Dr Hyde-Dunn is looking forward to embracing with excitement, commitment and creativity, helping the school to evolve and propelling the pupils forward. He says: ‘The appeal of the Dragon is multifarious, but in essence it is the opportunity to lead a school with the talent that the Dragon brings to bear: staff, pupils, parents and governorship. I think fundamentally it’s the ethos and values that the Dragon stands for – social conscience, courtesy, respect for others, a sense of caring beyond yourself and serving others.’
Dr Hyde-Dunn has been teaching for 20 years and brings with him a deep portfolio of experiences having taught in a variety of settings and in different roles. An Oxford graduate with a PhD in History of Art, for the last six years he has been the Headmaster of Abingdon Preparatory School.
One of the cornerstones of school life at the Dragon is encouraging children to try everything and to do their best, which sums up Dr Hyde-Dunn’s personal approach of ‘giving your best, giving to others and looking to make the most of opportunities’. Dedicated to providing all that is good in education, the Dragon school stands for developing and nurturing innate abilities and giving pupils’ chances to grow their confidence and make progress.
Dr Hyde-Dunn is ambitious for the Dragon School and is eager to help it grow, add value and develop partnerships with the whole school community. He describes his style of leadership as being ‘a visible and approachable Head’ and puts relationships at the very heart of his work. He says that in a technological age ‘there is no substitute for getting to know people face to face’ and that ‘building relationships with a richly talented community is what excites me the most’. The Dragon is a unique school with a proud history offering a well-rounded education, but ‘the Dragon doesn’t stand still’, which is why Dr Hyde-Dunn is also keen to explore how the curriculum can be developed and ‘what skills the pupils can be equipped with for secondary schools and beyond’.
A bright, informal, happy and aspirational school, the Dragon fuels excellence through fun, a love of learning, inclusivity and a gifted community. Dr Hyde-Dunn appreciates that being Headmaster of one of the country’s leading independent schools is a ‘great honour’ and he welcomes the opportunity to contribute widely and ensure the Dragon remains at the forefront of educational distinction and innovation – and where the welfare and happiness of children comes first.
This article, written by John Dabell, was first published in School Report, Autumn 2017