At the beginning of this term, we welcomed a new Deputy Head (Academic) to our Senior School, who is responsible for enhancing our academic standards. Mr Balderson began his career working at two grammar schools in Buckinghamshire, followed by Abingdon School, Shiplake College and, most recently, at Wells Cathedral School, where he was Director of Studies and Assistant Head for Digital Strategy. He has a particular interest in the effect that Artificial Intelligence will have on education and society as a whole and advises schools and higher education institutions on how to prepare for this, recently being quoted by Sir Anthony Seldon in his book The Fourth Education Revolution.
According to Mr Balderson, "AI and automation will, I believe, require schools to work hard at developing creativity, collaboration, the ability to work effectively in teams and to articulate one's ideas, in short, those qualities which make us uniquely human". With regard to Westonbirt, he says "I am delighted to be joining Westonbirt at such an exciting time in its development. The opportunity to lead the academic life of the school is immensely exciting and I look forward to developing what we offer, as the school grows". Mr Balderson holds a BA in Philosophy (UCL), an MSc in Computing Science (Imperial College London), and an MBA in Educational Leadership (Institute of Education, UCL). His wife, Lucy, is a Music teacher and he has two young sons; Toby, aged 9 and Rupert, aged 5, who will join Westonbirt in due course.