Principal announces departure: ‘I feel I have become a better human being’

The principal of an independent day and boarding school in Shropshire will step down in September after 16 years

Neil Hawkins, who has been principal of Concord College in Shropshire since 2005, is to step down from his post in September.

During his time at the independent co-educational day and boarding school, the school has achieved consistently high school league table positions for A-level and GCSE.

Hawkins, who studied history at Cambridge University, previously occupied positions such as director of studies at The Leys School, head of history at Sevenoaks School, and head of history and assistant housemaster at Cranleigh School.

Hawkins said he could “sense the magic and friendliness” of Concord during his interview. He described the role as “a life-changing opportunity for the whole family”.

Since 2005, Concord has risen from 250 to 600 pupils, and staff numbers have trebled in size to over 350. The campus has doubled in size and many facilities have been improved.

The life changes I have personally experienced have given me a huge amount of perspective; I feel I have become a better human being for having experienced life at Concord – Neil Hawkins

Hawkins commented on his time at Concord: “I have been completely enriched by the experience. As a family it has given us opportunities we could never have dreamt of with lasting friendships around the world. It has opened my eyes to so much and it gives one a perception of humility, that the world is a huge and complex place, but potentially wonderful.

“The life changes I have personally experienced have given me a huge amount of perspective; I feel I have become a better human being for having experienced life at Concord.

“I am looking through a lens which is pretty clear. Having experienced many changes in the pandemic, what is important in life is trying to make the most of it and being a better person for others. It has been an utter privilege to have been Concord’s principal.”

Hawkins revealed there has been an increase in enquiries about the school over the last 16 months, with more applications than at any time in the school’s history.

Dr Iain Bride, chairman of Concord College Trustees, added: “Neil has proved himself to be an outstanding principal whom I have come to admire enormously and it is noteworthy how impressed parents are by the values which their children develop whilst at Concord.”

Hawkins is to become global principal of Concord College International from September. He will have responsibility for setting up a second school in Shanghai in September 2022.


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