London School Gets Its First Female Head in 500 Years


St Paul’s School for boys in London has just announced the appointment of its first female head since it was founded over 500 years ago. 

Sally-Anne Huang is to become the 35th High Master, replacing Mark Bailey who will return to his post as Professor of Later Medieval History at the University of East Anglia.

Ms Huang will make the move from her current role as Headmistress at James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich, south London and and before that she was Headmistress of Kent College, Pembury and Deputy Head of Roedean School, Brighton.

Founded in 1509 by the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral to educate boys, the Barnes based school counts poet John Milton, diarist Samuel Pepys and former Chancellor George Osborne among its alumni.

Ms Huang said, “I feel enormously privileged to have been selected as the next High Master of St Paul’s…I am very mindful of its individual qualities and traditions as well as excited to have the chance to strengthen and widen its work and influence into the future, including through the provision of bursaries and community outreach.”

Fees at the school start at £20,712 a year up to £38,991 for boarders. The move comes amid speculation that the school is considering going co-ed, with a survey sent out earlier this year to staff, pupils and parents to gather their thoughts on a possible mixed sixth form in the future. The school said that there is a “good deal of evidence” that both boys and girls benefit from mixed schooling in sixth form.

It pointed out that “most schools in London are coeducational at that age” and that St Paul’s could offer girls an “unparalleled all-round academic education” which would bring benefits for boys too.

The appointment of Ms Huang follows the recent appointment of Helen as the first female head of Magdalen College School, Oxford and Sarah Kerr-Dineen as first female head of Oundle School.

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