A retained firefighter and leading educationalist has been named as the new head of one of the best-known schools in the country.
Richard Devey (53) says he intends to continue to respond to emergency call-outs as part of the Gordonstoun crew after he takes up the new role, making him the first Head of an independent school to be an active firefighter.
Richard began working as a retained firefighter when he joined Gordonstoun as a teacher in 1992. He has attended more than 230 incidents as a member of the fire unit which is based within the school’s Moray campus, outside Elgin.
The unit is the only one in the UK to have a fire engine which is crewed by under-18s since pupils at the school make up the rest of the firefighters. All pupils at Gordonstoun volunteer for one of the school’s nine community and rescue services, which also include the coastguard and lifeguards.
Richard said: ‘Inspiring a willingness in the next generation to provide service to the community is more relevant than it’s ever been, so I hope to combine on-call duties as a retained firefighter with this important new role. At Gordonstoun we believe it is very important students are willing to put the needs of others ahead of their own.
‘This develops a sense of social responsibility and compassion towards people from all walks of life and the satisfaction of helping others without expectation of reward.’
Richard has attended every kind of call-out from a horse stuck in a ditch to the devastating Elgin floods in 1997 and 2000 when he led the Gordonstoun crew which spent many days pumping floodwater out of people’s homes.
He says his top priority in the new role is to bring out the best in every child: ‘I was delighted that HM inspectors recently rated Gordonstoun as “outstanding”, but we can always do more to make sure every student achieves their potential.
‘I also want to open up Gordonstoun’s life-changing opportunities to as many young people as possible and I will continue to support the build-up of the funds of the recently announced Prince Philip Gordonstoun Foundation.
‘I am a strong believer in challenging young people during their education, both inside and outside the classroom. As the University of Edinburgh research into Gordonstoun’s unique curriculum found, the out of classroom learning experiences at Gordonstoun have a life-long impact and help us to educate the leaders of tomorrow so that they know how to handle responsibility with compassion and thoughtfulness.’
In 2019 HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, announced he was giving his name to a foundation to offer financial support to children from a wide variety of backgrounds. A third of students already receive financial assistance and the launch of The Prince Philip Gordonstoun Foundation aims to increase this.
Richard has worked as deputy head, head of department and most recently as Gordonstoun’s director of international development where he played a vital role in the school’s recent announcement that it will be opening its first international schools in China.
Welcoming his appointment, principal Lisa Kerr said: ‘Richard has a wonderful mix of experience which promotes the unique Gordonstoun ethos whilst also ensuring it remains at the forefront of educational innovation in character education. He is hugely popular amongst pupils and staff, he has been at the heart of some of the most significant changes at the school.
‘Gordonstoun’s work has just been described as “sector leading” by HM Inspectors from Education Scotland and I have no doubt that Richard will help us build on this and achieve our vision as part of a dynamic new leadership team.’
Richard will replace Titus Edge who has spent seven years at Gordonstoun, latterly as headmaster.