Speakers:

Dr Joe Spence, Master of Dulwich College, 

Ben Vessey, Headmaster of Canford School

The world of work is moving on apace, so much so that it is difficult to know what sort of roles the pupils in school today may fill.

How can an independent education equip them to successfully take on anything that the world of work has in store, from portfolio careers, to retraining for a number of specialist roles over their working lifetime.


Dr Joe Spence has been the Master of Dulwich College since 2009. He was previously Master in College at Eton College, 1992 to 2002, and Headmaster of Oakham School.

Dr Spence is a trustee of The Art Room and of the Blackbird Academy Trust, Oxford, and a governor of Windlesham House School, Sussex. He has governed a number of other schools and charities including the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Dragon School, Oxford, St John’s College School, Cambridge, and the Isle of Sheppey Academy.

Ben Vessey was educated at Magdalen College School, Oxford and Southampton University where he studied History. He spent four years in the City as a senior oil and gas broker before moving into education. A Masters in History was followed by an MBA focused on educational management.

His first teaching post was at Dauntsey’s, where, during his nine years at the school, he was a boarding housemaster and Head of History. During five years at Millfield, he became Head of the History, Politics and Law faculty and was a member of the body overseeing the school’s academic curriculum. In 2008, Ben took up the post of Senior Deputy Head at Christ’s Hospital and during his time there, he played a key role in the strategic development of the school and a restructuring of co-curricular life.

Since joining Canford as Headmaster in 2013, Ben has sought evolution, not revolution.  He has undertaken a full strategic review and put in place a vision, aims and ethos which has pupils at its heart.  He has improved and enhanced structures where needed, particularly within the co-curricular and pastoral areas of busy boarding school life, while maintaining a firm commitment to the high academic achievement for which the school is well recognised.  

Ben is a keen sportsman, rugby in particular, and has coached pupils at various levels during his career. He also takes great interest in the arts. Ben is married to Harriet and they have three sons, Ned, George and William.