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BATTLE Abbey School has appointed a new headmaster to take over from current head Roger Clark, who is to retire after 15 years in charge.

David Clark will take over as head with effect from September 2013.

Ian Mercer, chair of governors at Battle Abbey, said: “We were fortunate to have 50 applicants for the post, including several outstanding candidates, but David stood out from this field and we are delighted that he has accepted our offer of employment.

“The governors and I were faced with a difficult task because Roger, who has been in post for the last 15 years, has been instrumental in taking the school through a major period of growth, as well as reinforcing its position within the independent sector in terms of quality and recognition.

“We are confident that, after a very rigorous interview process, we have selected the best candidate to develop and expand the school without changing its fundamental nature, which is a family school, focussing on the importance of each individual child.”

David Clark is currently the deputy headmaster at Caterham School which is a large independent co-educational day and boarding school for three to 18 year olds.

He has held this post since 2007 and previously was the head of sixth form, a boarding housemaster and head of politics at the school.

David was educated at St George’s College, Weybridge and he studied for his Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Exeter University before completing his Post Graduate Certificate of Education and his Master of Philosophy in Education Management at Cambridge University.

He is a keen sportsman with particular interest in hockey and rugby, both of which he has played at national level.

In his spare time, he is a keen traveller, (he is fluent in French and is learning Italian), an enthusiastic follower of current affairs and an avid collector of political cartoons.

David Clark said: “I was drawn to Battle Abbey School by its enchanting location, ideal size, impressive facilities at both the prep and senior school, continuity of education and distinctive character.

“The holistic approach to education and marriage of traditional values to new, innovative thinking allied to a warm, good-humoured and supportive working atmosphere are particularly appealing.

“The strong reputation locally for being an ambitious yet caring school, in addition to its enviable co-curricular track record – especially in the creative arts – and outstanding pastoral provision are also especially attractive.

“The school ethos that focuses on nurturing a close-knit family atmosphere, that encourages active participation from its students, that promotes an international perspective, that favours a sensitive approach to discipline and that encourages self-respect, self-confidence and empathy for the needs of others – is an ethos that I fully support. I am looking forward to working closely with Roger before the official handover and I am very excited with the opportunity that the governors have given me to lead such a wonderful school.”

Ian Mercer said: “We will of course all miss Roger after his long and very successful tenure at Battle Abbey, but we are looking forward to the future with confidence and excitement with David as our new head.”