Bob Griffin steps down as head of Exeter School

Griffin’s tenure saw the school become fully coeducational for the first time in its long history

Exeter School head Bob Griffin has retired.

His 17 years at the helm included leading the school through one of the most significant periods in its near 400-year history, when the Devon institution became fully coeducational. The process had been a lengthy one, having begun with the admission of sixth form girls in 1981.

Other changes during Griffin’s tenure included the opening of the School House Library, an extended art department with its own gallery, a 230-seater hall for the music department, and the building of a competition standard indoor swimming pool.

Griffin was ever-present at school events in support of his pupils. He attended every one of the school’s drama productions and musical performances, as well as the annual Ten Tors Challenge, residentials on Dartmoor, weekly Saturday fixtures at home and across the country, CCF summer camps and international sports tours.

His calm, quietly confident manner meant we all felt the school was in the safest pair of hands – Andrew King, chair of governors, Exeter School

In 2018, Exeter was named best performing independent secondary school in Devon in the Sunday Times Parent Power guide.

“Bob was a wonderful ambassador for Exeter School, steering the school through nine excellent ISI inspections,” said chair of governors, Andrew King.

“He was responsible for the incremental development of pastoral care systems across the school and always keen to ensure the very best value for money for our parents.

“His calm, quietly confident manner meant we all felt the school was in the safest pair of hands. He will be dearly missed, and we hope he will stay in touch with the school community.”

Griffin will be replaced by Louise Simpson, set to become Exeter’s first female head following six years leading St Paul’s School in São Paulo, Brazil.

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