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Dr Clare Ives Appointed as Head of The Leys

Following a rigorous and highly competitive process, the Governors of The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundation are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Clare Ives to succeed Martin Priestley as Head of The Leys when he retires after almost twelve years of dedicated service in September 2025.

The Governors were unanimous in their judgment that Dr Ives has the skills and commitment to lead The Leys in the years ahead. It seems fitting that as the school celebrates its 150th Anniversary in 2025, we will also be appointing the school’s first female Head.

Dr Ives is currently the Senior Deputy Head at Sevenoaks School. Before that she was a Boarding Housemistress, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Lead and a former Head of History at Canford School. Dr Ives studied at the University of St Andrews, where she earned a first-class degree in Modern History and wrote her PhD on Robert Kennedy and the US Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

She is a keen musician, playing the flute, piano and double bass, and she loves to sing whenever she has time. She is also an enthusiastic sportswoman and has coached hockey, netball and tennis. Prior to starting her teaching career, Dr Ives spent eight years working as a civil servant and is proud of serving her country in this manner. She has a partner, Emma, and two children, Adam (22) and Ellie (19).

Jeremy Gladwin, Chair of The Leys Governors, writes: “We are delighted to have appointed Dr Ives to be the next Head of The Leys. We look forward to welcoming her and her family to this School community and to The Leys and St Faith’s Foundation. Thereafter, our priority as Governors will be to support her leadership as the eleventh Head of The Leys from its sesquicentenary year forwards.

“The Governors were universally impressed by her inspirational vision for The Leys and her convincing ability to communicate her instinctive sense for what makes this such a distinctive and special community. Unanimously we agreed that she was the right person to lead the School in its next chapter. With almost 18 months until her arrival, Martin Priestley and the senior staff at The Leys will now work alongside Dr Ives to ensure a smooth and positive handover in the terms ahead.”

Dr Ives commented: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as Head of The Leys from September 2025.  As a bursary recipient, and first-generation University student, I am passionate about the transformative power of great education and I am excited to lead a school which is values driven and which cares so deeply about the holistic experience of every pupil both at school and beyond.”