A TOP York school has appointed a new head to take charge next year.

As The Press reported in March, the current Bootham School head, Chris Jeffery told of his “very mixed feelings” at sharing the news that he would be retiring from teaching at the end of the 2022-23 academic year, which is also the school’s bicentenary year.

Now, the school governors have appointment of Deneal Smith to the position of head from September 2023.

Mr Jeffery will retire at the end of the Summer Term 2023, following seven years at the school.

Mr Smith said: “I am delighted to be heading back up to the North of England to lead a school with the ethos and reputation of Bootham. The Quaker values resonate closely with everything I believe is important in education and in preparing young people for lives beyond the school. I look forward to taking the school into its third century after the bicentennial celebrations next year.”

Mr Jeffery welcomed Mr Smith’s appointment saying: “Deneal Smith is an experienced leader with a great track record of success and impact. His attraction to Bootham’s ethos, underpinned and held together as it is by its Quaker values and heritage, is exactly what brought me to this lovely school. I am sure that he will settle and thrive in the role, and look forward to working closely with him to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible.”

York Press: Chris Jeffery will retire at the end of the Summer Term 2023, following seven years at the schoolChris Jeffery will retire at the end of the Summer Term 2023, following seven years at the school

The decision to appoint Mr Smith as Bootham’s next head was unanimous and the school says he brings a wealth of leadership experience across all areas of school life: academic, boarding, pastoral and enrichment which made him the outstanding candidate in an exceptionally strong field.

They said his belief that students’ happiness and wellbeing underpins their success both inside and outside the classroom was evident throughout the interview process, as was his sympathy with and commitment to promoting Bootham’s Quaker ethos into its third century.

Originally from the north west, Mr Smith was educated in Blackpool and received a BA in Natural Science and a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Cambridge.

He began his science teaching career at Winchester College where he also worked as an Assistant Housemaster before moving to Magdalen College School, Oxford as head of sixth form and later director of studies.

From there he moved to Westminster School as under master (senior deputy head) and designated safeguarding lead.

He later served as head of Warwick School and is currently interim head of Bablake School, a co-educational independent school in Coventry.

Outside the classroom, Mr Smith has been responsible for football and coached cricket and hockey as well as producing a number of school plays. He enjoys playing the guitar and participating in triathlons.

The school said governors, staff and students look forward to welcoming him and his family to some of of the bicentenary events as they prepare to move to York.