Chris Rhodes - Headteacher

Chris Rhodes is Headteacher at Grey Court School, which has an enviable reputation as being one of the leading state schools in the country.  Most recently, he led the school to retain its Ofsted outstanding accreditation. He is also an active member of the ECED trust’s headteacher management group. As part of the ECED trust team he reports to Ash Ali, the CEO.  Chris has taken on certain areas of responsibility for the ECED trust. As part of the distributed leadership team this includes his role as prime lead for raising academic standards.

Chris joined Grey Court as a teacher of modern languages after graduating from Durham. He also spent time travelling and working in a number of Francophone locations across the world.  After joining Grey Court, Chris rapidly progressed through the various levels of the school. His thirst for knowledge, and willingness to take on additional management duties, saw him progress to numerous positions of responsibility including gifted and talented coordinator, head of year, phase leader KS3, head of MFL, assistant headteacher, and deputy headteacher.  He also worked on a secondment basis at another trust school where he led the raising standards programme and taught some underperforming groups of students.  Chris was instrumental in the school’s improved Ofsted rating and then returned full-time to Grey Court.

Under the previous headteacher, Chris was recognised as someone who was adaptable and able to make clear and intelligent decisions, whilst also multitasking in a demanding educational and operational environment. He swiftly rose through to assistant head and deputy head. He became an invaluable member of the senior leadership team (SLT). He worked with curriculum and key stage leaders to improve the educational provision to students and gained the respect of teaching and support staff. Chris is articulate and numerate and took on many duties related to the coordination of academic results and financial planning.

The school policy was to interchange SLT members, allowing Chris to gain an understanding of the broad operating spectrum of Grey Court.  As the school progressed to multi-academy trust, Chris, along with the rest of SLT, was a key member of the management team, ensuring a smooth transition. Grey Court was the lead driver in the process.  

Chris took on the role of headteacher following the departure of the longstanding previous incumbent. While the school was outstanding, there were several challenges in terms of budget management, integrating with the community, developing the ECED trust, and embedding a significantly different leadership team. He also recognised the challenge of recruiting, training, and retaining qualified staff in a relatively expensive part of the country, all at a time when DfE budgets were tightened and associated resources highly limited. 

Chris mentors other senior leaders within the trust and welcomes a variety of other educationalists to Grey Court.  While the school is close to capacity in terms of numbers, and space and buildings to develop, Chris has shown initiative and creativity in increasing the number of classrooms. The sixth-form building has been expanded under his leadership, which bodes well for the future of the school.


BA (Hons) French and European Studies - Durham University

MA in Education - Leading Innovation and Change - St Mary's University

National Professional Qualification for Headteachers


Julian Knott – Chair of Governors

In a short space of time, Chris has established himself as a leading headteacher in the area. He sits on several panels and leads the Richmond cluster of schools that work with the NHS and the associated mental health support teams.  As chair of governors, I have developed a close working relationship with Chris. This allows us to be open and frank. It also ensures we can work together to support the school. As governors we can challenge and demand evidence of best practice. Chris’ leadership style recognises the importance of good governance and the need to prove effectiveness, with timely reports and presentations.  He is totally student and staff focused, and recognises that ultimately he has responsibility and accountability for 1600 students and 380 staff. His diligence and hard-working attitude are recognised by all.

Chris’ leadership of one of the largest schools in the area has been exemplary. This was reflected in our recent Ofsted report in which the school maintained its outstanding status.

A clear strength of Chris is his wide-ranging knowledge of all aspects of Grey Court, and his attention to detail – which ensures the school is managed efficiently and effectively. Equally, teacher, parent and student feedback has improved (from an already high base), demonstrating his ability to communicate, and connect, with all stakeholders in the school.

Results are an important measure of success and Chris has continued to increase the school’s achievement and progress score. Most recently the school has achieved the status of being one of the top four schools in London when measured against other non-selective comprehensives. Equally, the pastoral care and wellbeing aspects of the school have seen greater investment and support.

Chris has developed an even stronger, inclusive and diverse school. This manifests not simply in cultural, social and religious diversity, but also in the manner in which results for SEN and disadvantaged students have progressed over the years.

He is also someone who is competitive on the sports field, and that reflects in the healthy focus on sporting achievements at Grey Court, to build pride and honour in the school.

Chris has also built on the very strong creative arts, music and performing arts curricula, and has introduced a scholarship programme to celebrate the arts. It has been a pleasure working with Chris over a number of years.


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