Choosing a school means choosing a Head. They have a terrific influence while they are at a school, though on average they only stay about eight years. Find out as much as you can about the Head’s policies, principles and obsessions. Heads have very varied backgrounds: some have been at the same school almost all their life (as a pupil and teacher); many have a range of experience as Housemaster, Deputy Head or Head at other schools − maybe abroad or in the state system; a few have been appointed from right outside the school system (eg banking, the army).

The Head of a large school runs an enterprise of over 1000 people, with an annual turnover of maybe £25 million. Although Heads usually know about children and teaching, they are not infallible. Do not hesitate to let your child’s Head know if you honestly think that he/she is wrong. Cultivating an aura of authority is part of the job. Do not be put off.