Bury St Edmunds school influences top independent school in heads’ work-shadowing venture

Mark Westley Photography 'Headteacher Geoff Barton shadowed by Keith Budge - head at top independent school
Mark Westley Photography 'Headteacher Geoff Barton shadowed by Keith Budge - head at top independent school
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A Bury St Edmunds school has influenced one of the top independent schools in the country following a unique work-shadowing venture.

Geoff Barton, of King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds, who has always ‘flown the flag’ for state comprehensive education, welcomed Keith Budge, headmaster at Bedales School, in Hampshire, to show-case how they operate.

In return, Mr Barton was due to visit Bedales this week as part of the initiative which was the brainchild of Ann Mroz, editor of the Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Before his Hampshire trip, Mr Barton, who has written for TES for 28 years, said: “I think she thought it would be good to puncture the steretypes I might have.” He has already been surprised to learn that that students at Bedales don’t have to wear a set uniform and teachers are referred to on first name terms.

During Mr Budge’s visit to Bury, he saw the school’s debating society and met students who write the sixth form magazine. Mr Barton said: “When you have a visitor, you look through their eyes at what you’re doing. It made me realise how much freedom he has. He doesn’t have to worry about league tables, the curriculum or traditional qualifications.”

On what Mr Budge took away from his King Edward VI experience, Mr Barton added: “He’s definitely going to introduce a debating society.

“The sixth form magazine, which has a real sense of the voice of students, he says they haven’t really got anything like that and would like to encourage students to have that freedom in the way they write.”