Bury St Edmunds headteacher Geoff Barton is shadowed by headmaster of top independent school

Geoff Barton, heateacher at King Edward VI School in Bury is being, shadowed by Keith Budge (left),

Geoff Barton, heateacher at King Edward VI School in Bury is being, shadowed by Keith Budge (left), headteacher at Bedales School in Hampshire. - Credit: Archant

The headteacher of a comprehensive school in Bury St Edmunds has said his perceptions of independent schools are changing as the first stage of a work-shadowing venture gets under way.

Geoff Barton with Keith Budge (right)

Geoff Barton with Keith Budge (right) - Credit: Archant

Geoff Barton, headteacher of King Edward VI School, has been shadowed for a day by Keith Budge, the headmaster of one of the UK’s most prestigious independent schools - Bedales School in Hampshire.

Two weeks later, Mr Barton will spend a day at Bedales to see what it is like to lead a school that charges fees of more than £30,000 a year.

The idea was the brainchild of Times Educational Supplement editor, Ann Mroz, who believes the two headteachers have similar approaches to education, albeit in different contexts, and proposed the job shadowing.

Even though Mr Barton is yet to shadow Mr Budge, he said spending the day with him at the Bury school last Wednesday had made him reconsider some of his preconceived notions about independent schools.

“A lot of stereotypes I have perhaps been guilty of pedalling about independent schools I already know don’t exist,” he said.

“I would probably have looked at boarding schools as something that belongs to a different era, but then I hear of the opportunities that students are getting because of extended learning.”

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Mr Budge explained that by being a boarding school students had greater access to extra-curricular opportunities, for example performing drama in the evenings.

The experience has also revealed how much they have in common, and Mr Budge said it has also been an opportunity to share ideas.

He said: “For example this school has an amazing tradition with debating and it has, tied up with that, a really strong tradition of student leadership. My school has got again some really strong traditions, but simply in these two areas we have an awful lot to learn from what King Edward’s is doing really successfully.”