New head at helm of grammar school

Headmaster of LRGS, Dr Christopher Pyle.
Headmaster of LRGS, Dr Christopher Pyle.

The autumn term started with a new head at the helm of Lancaster Royal Grammar School – and he’s promising to keep the school sailing strongly.

Dr Chris Pyle left his position as deputy head at a top Cambridge school to take over as headteacher at LRGS, after previous head Andrew Jarman stepped down in July.

Dr Pyle had been at The Perse School in Cambridge, one of the UK’s leading co-educational independent day schools, for 13 years, most recently as deputy head (curriculum).

He is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, where he gained a PhD and BA (Hons) First Class in geography.

Dr Pyle grew up in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, but has now settled in Lancaster with his family – wife Sally, a maths teacher, and three sons aged 11, nine and six.

“It’s a big move for my family but I am very familiar with Lancaster because my parents retired to the Lake District,” he said.

The new headteacher is all too aware of LRGS’s standing most locally and nationally.

“What LRGS has is almost unique in the state system,” he said.

“There’s a combination of academic excellence and ambition on one hand but also massive extra-curricular opportunity.

“It also has a huge heart centred around a boarding community. That was really the appeal of it for me.

“It’s an extraordinary school and one that genuinely wants to take in a huge diversity and variety of pupils.

“The catchment is very wide because of the boarding element and I think that brings a huge amount to the community.

“We are a school that takes every pupil seriously and give them all extraordinary opportunities.

The boarding for me is one of the priorities – it’s a jewel in the crown of the school and potentially it’s a highly attractive offering thsat the school has and I would like that to be more widely known.

“I think it enriches the school so much.”

Dr Pyle is keen to continue the success already seen at LRGS.

“It’s a very happy school and it’s a ship that’s sailing very strongly,” he said.

“It’s not remotely looking for a radical change.

“For me it’s all about continuing to promote those values of excellence, opportunity and outstanding teaching.”

Immediate plans to help maintain the school’s success include the renovation of the old school house in East Road.

Historically this housed boarders, but they have now been moved to make way for building work, and a £290,000 government grant means work can soon start on renovating the building.

Dr Pyle hopes this will help expand sixth form and library facilities.