New head for Harpenden’s St George’s School

A NATIONAL search for a new head to take the reins of a top Harpenden school has ended with the appointment of Ray McGovern from next April.

He will take over as head of St George’s School in Sun Lane from Norman Hoare who retires at Christmas after 25 years at the helm.

In the interim few months deputy Head Patrick Storrie will lead the school.

The new head comes from a similar school to St George’s in Bruton, Somerset, which offers day and boarding facilities. Chair of governors, Kevin Parsons, explained: “Ray has been Headmaster of Sexey’s School for five years after serving as its deputy from 2001. His maintained day and boarding school has three times the number of resident pupils than St George’s currently accommodates and Ray has been instrumental in expanding its boarding facilities, strengthening links with the local community and Church, and making it one of the most successful schools in the West Country .

His role at Sexey’s – which has long been associated with a high number of international boarders and children of armed services personnel – reflects Mr McGovern’s nine years of service in the RAF as an engineer, a design draughtsman, and lecturer in aeronautical studies,


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A recent chairman of the State Boarding Association, he is now preparing to take over the national Boarding Schools Association which Mr Hoare led in the 1990s.

He has been involved in top level negotiations with the DfE about funding for state boarding schools, the revision of admissions criteria, National Boarding Standards and inspection procedures. He recently visited China with a delegation of head teachers from Somerset and is keen to develop the international links already active at St George’s.

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Born in Glasgow, Mr McGovern was in the Air Training Corps and then served in the Royal Navy Reserve at HMS Graham on the Clyde. A graduate of Brunel University and the Open University, he has held posts as director of technology, deputy head of sixth form, housemaster and deputy head (pastoral) in independent and state schools.

He is a keen chorister and enjoys music – he plays the clarinet – and outdoor activities including horse riding.

Mr Hoare commented: “I have known Ray for over 10 years as he has led his school and the State Boarding School Association – an association I helped found 22 years ago – with distinction.

“As a ‘canny Scot’ he is a stickler for high standards, academic achievement and getting things right. His election to lead the prestigious Boarding Schools Association which includes all the boarding schools in the country reflects the esteem in which he is held within the profession and his success as a headmaster.”

Mr McGovern will move to Harpenden with his family next April.

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