Richard Backhouse has been Principal of Berkhamsted Schools Group in Hertfordshire since January 2016. Berkhamsted is a family of six schools which operates as a ‘diamond’ model combining both single-sex (11-16 years) and co-educational teaching (3-11 years and 16-18 years). The Group also has a satellite Prep school in Buckinghamshire, Heatherton, which provides a co-educational nursery class (3-4) and single-sex education for girls aged 4 to 11. Richard is the current Chair of the HMC (the Headmasters' & Headmistresses' Conference is a professional association of heads of the world's leading independent schools). He was a boarder both at Cheam School, and Marlborough College, where he won an Exhibition. After a year working on a kibbutz in Israel, in a hotel in the French Alps, and running a bar in his home town, he read Economics at Cambridge, expecting to go on to be a journalist. Experience acting as a ski guide for school children and teaching sailing in the summers for a charity gave him a sense of the value of teaching, and so he went to Oundle School in 1990, expecting to teach only briefly before returning to university to do a PhD, but stayed for six years before moving to Bradfield College. At these schools he variously taught Economics, coached rowing and football, ran a Christian Union, and acquired managerial and leadership experience both running a boarding house and as Director of Pastoral and Extra-curricular activities. In 2005, he was appointed Principal at Monkton Combe School – an all through group – where he developed the scope and depth of the pupils’ opportunities and achievements. His interests include skiing, playing golf (badly), reading, and supports Southampton FC.