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Appointment of Assistant Head College

Appointment of Assistant Head College

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Julia Bird to the newly created role of Assistant Head College, as part of the School’s strategic development of Sixth Form provision centred on the College concept. Julia is currently the Assistant Head Sixth Form at Wells Cathedral School which has successfully implemented a similar Sixth Form arrangement to what we are planning for the new College development here at Canford. In her current role Julia has overseen the personal development and educational experience of all Sixth Form pupils, and their transition to an Upper Sixth day and boarding pastoral structure in their final year. Julia’s teaching career has been spent in schools both in the UK and Mexico, with previous roles including Head of Department, Head of Year and Houseparent. She has a degree in Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology from Worcester College, Oxford.

The Assistant Head College will be responsible for the overall development, co-ordination and running of the broader personal development and educational experience for all Sixth Form pupils, involving close collaboration and co-ordination with the Deputy and Assistant Head Academic, the resident College pastoral team and department leads across the school. Central to the role will be the management of the Sixth Form Tutor system, the Sixth Form Pupil Leadership system, the Beyond the Gates programme focused on PSME, EDI, Wellbeing and Global Connections and leadership of the Canford Futures Programme, supporting all pupils with careers and higher education opportunities and skills development.

Commenting on her appointment, Julia said:

It is a true honour and privilege to be joining Canford as the Assistant Head College.   What was apparent to me throughout the recruitment process was the genuine sense of purpose and dedication to offer pupils the best possible educational experience, and there seems a real energy and commitment to this by staff across all aspects of school life. The school community is also clearly a close knit, supportive one. Having been central to the move to a similar Sixth Form structure at Wells, I can say that this change has been an overwhelmingly positive one. I greatly look forward to working with the entire school community to achieve the same at Canford.

Headmaster Ben Vessey said:

Julia’s breadth of expertise and experience, with previous roles spanning both the academic and pastoral aspects of boarding school life, will be of great value to Canford as we develop the structures and opportunities afforded by the College concept. We are currently in the final stages of the build of the first phase, the Hub, including a Future Pathways Centre, teaching kitchen and social and workplace style spaces, with a planned opening date of Spring 2025. We are looking forward to welcoming Julia and her family to the Canford Community to start the new academic year.

Julia has recorded a short introductory message which you can watch on the Canford YouTube channel at the following link:

For more information about our Sixth Form development, please visit

Canford Sixth Form