9th December, 2019

Update from Robin Dyer, Head of Ampleforth College


At the end of his first term as Head of Ampleforth College, Robin Dyer has written an update to all members of the Ampleforth Society. 

After three months in this job, I can honestly say I am much enjoying life in the Valley. An immediate impression has been the warmth and passion for the College that members of your Society display; this has been confirmed at events in Edinburgh, Newcastle, London, Harrogate and of course at the recent Ampleforth Society weekend. Thank you for your loyalty, offers of support and advice. My intention is to connect with you frequently to ensure that you are fully up to speed with the dramatic pace of change at the College.  With your help I know we can get this extraordinary school back to where it belongs, as one of the preeminent public schools in the UK.

The initial phase of my tenure has been about professionalising and modernising the leadership structure and the internal workings of the College. I have appointed Hannah Pomroy as Deputy Head, and Jon Mutton (Deputy Head Pastoral), John Ridge (Deputy Head Safeguarding), John Devitt (Deputy Head Academic) and Harriet Langdale (Director of Admissions, Marketing and Communications) have all joined the Senior Leadership Team.  These talented colleagues have joined Fr Ambrose as Dean and David Moses as Head of St Martin’s Ampleforth to form a high-quality team that can lead us into an exciting new era for Ampleforth, with a fresh and attractive vision for the future.

The first step has been to make us properly safe, secure and compliant. As I have said before, inspectors and regulators are our friends; minimum standards should never be seen as problematic in a school that genuinely lives by Benedictine values and believes sincerely in the distinctive and unchallengeable benefits of a forward-thinking Catholic education. With good leadership now in place throughout the organisation we will undoubtedly reach and exceed the standards required of us. 

The next stage of the project at the College will be to focus on the experience of students in all areas of life here. The question we will be asking ourselves is: does the education we deliver at the moment really provide a platform from which Amplefordians can step confidently and successfully into a world that is increasingly competitive, requires flexibility and demands skills that are centred on independent thinking and coping? Are we genuinely helping current students acquire the skills and attitudes that will be relevant to their lives? To be honest, I can’t wait to find the answers to these key questions, identify where things need to improve, and promote a vision for the future that is coherent and exciting for staff, students and parents alike. 

We know that an Ampleforth Catholic education, with its strong adherence to powerful Benedictine values, and the warmth and friendliness this place engenders, creates alumni that are grounded, thoroughly decent people. Once we have proved that this school has the necessary professionalism and that it is now a safe and caring environment, it will be wonderful to spread the news far and wide that Ampleforth is on the way back to a position of real strength. At that point we can build on our current robust pupil numbers, creating a new momentum, which will see us able to strengthen and grow. I know I can count on your support in spreading this message.  And I welcome dialogue with you – don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any views or ideas that you think we need to hear.

Best wishes,

Robin Dyer