Long-standing school head to retire

Retiring Oundle School head Charles Bush and wife Mary.
Retiring Oundle School head Charles Bush and wife Mary.
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Long-standing Oundle School headmaster Charles Bush is to retire this summer after forty years in education and ten years at the school’s helm.

Mr Bush said: “At the heart of Oundle are the pupils - talented, purposeful, engaging, hospitable, benign and friendly. They are generally bright, go-getters who seek success and achievement in a modest, understated manner. The easy, confident style of the Oundelian, without swagger or chip, is a prevailing feature that transcends generations. Pupils are wonderfully supported by a very capable staff. Chatting to Oundelians and having lunches with them in Houses have been among the most enjoyable times.”

Mrs Sarah Kerr-Dineen will take over as head in September.

Educated at Steyning Grammar School, West Sussex, Mrs Kerr-Dineen went on to gain an MA in English at Trinity College, Cambridge and to pursue graduate study at Christ Church, Oxford. Her teaching career spans over twenty years, including thirteen at St Edward’s, Oxford where she was also a Boarding Housemistress and ultimately Director of Studies. For the past six years, Mrs Kerr-Dineen has been Warden of Forest School, a co-educational 4 – 18 HMC school in London.

She is married with four children aged between 18 and 26 and her interests include reading, walking, the theatre and music.

Mrs Kerr-Dinnen said: “Oundle is a great School. It values individuals and seeks to provide for its pupils an education that will guide them for life. It promotes aspiration, ambition and innovation at the same time as the healthy development of decent young people. These are impressive characteristics on which to build and I look forward keenly to what is to come.” 

Mr Bush arrived at Oundle in September 2005, following twelve years as Headmaster of Eastbourne College. Prior to that he was Housemaster and Head of Mathematics at Marlborough College, Head of Mathematics at Abingdon School, and he taught initially at Aylesbury Grammar School.

He enjoyed his secondary education at Melbourne Grammar School and after a foundation year at Melbourne University, he read mathematics at Trinity College, Oxford.

Deputy Head, Mrs Daviona Watt said: “Thanks to Charlie’s extraordinary ability to lead a community and manage its administration, he leaves the School flourishing. On arrival in 2005, Charlie quickly sought to define his aims and confirm his vision. Twenty-seven Oxbridge offers in his final year placed Oundle second only to Winchester in the Rugby Group and is a fitting tribute to his commitment to the academic strength of the School. The outstanding success in the ISI (2008 and 2014) and Ofsted (2011) inspections is testament to his educational leadership. His highly personal and pastoral approach has confirmed his belief in the fundamental importance of a sense of community for pupils and staff if an institution is to thrive.”

At the School’s Speech Day onJuly 4, when he was presented with an engraved bell and a portrait to be hung in the Great Hall, Mr Bush commented, “I have taken more than I have given and learned more than I have taught.”  Mr Bush has been painted at the door of Chapel where he has traditionally stood over the last ten years to greet School pupils and staff as they entered the building. It is the first ever portrait of an Oundle Headmaster to be have been painted away from the study.

Mr Bush was also presented with a memory collage book from the thirty-eight families who have had one or more children at the School throughout his time as Headmaster. The thoughtful gift was organised and presented by parent, Mr Jonathan Alms.

Mr Bush has been supported by his wife, Mary, who has herself been actively involved in the life of the School. She has been a huge support at events near and far, hosting numerous functions and becoming a Tutor in a girls’ boarding house.

Chairman of Governors, Julian Tregoning added: “Charlie Bush has been an outstanding, dynamic, energetic and inspirational leader and it has been a privilege to work with him over the past ten years. Under his watch the School has become an exemplary benchmark for a boarding education, and he is without doubt one of the outstanding Headmasters of his generation.”

“Charlie is known for his keen sense of fun, his kindness, his wit in company, his sharp sense of humour and his genuine pleasure for pupils or staff who have done a really good job or achieved great success. He has been a tireless servant of Oundle and, in characteristically modest style, has seen his time at the helm as a privilege not a reward. I am sure we will not fully grasp the enormity of his contribution until he has gone.”