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Director of Sport

Director of Sport
Philippa Scudds

Canford is delighted to announce the appointment of Tony Diprose to succeed Mark Burley as Canford’s Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing.   

Tony graduated from Loughborough University with a 2:1 BSc (Hons) Physical Education, Sports Science, Recreation Management before a successful career as a professional rugby player, which included representing both England and the British Lions.  Since retiring as a player in 2005/6, Tony has been Academy Manager at Harlequins Rugby Club where he has mentored and developed many outstanding players, both male and female.  Tony was Director of Harlequins Elite Women’s Rugby and created from scratch an elite team, management and coaching structure to play at the highest level.  Linked to these roles, Tony was also the Harlequins Global Development Director, fostering strong contacts across a range of sports worldwide.  In the departments he has overseen Tony led and managed the recruitment, management, development and appraisal of staff across all the required areas including strength and conditioning, performance analysis and medical psychology.   He clearly has a natural rapport and empathy with the young people he has mentored and additionally his subject and coaching knowledge are first class. He is a qualified Level 4 rugby coach and has applied these skills across a range of sports working with young men and women.  Testament to this was his appointment to work individually with global professional services corporate Deloitte as part of their leadership programme. 

Headmaster Ben Vessey commented:  “Canford’s sport is a real strength of the school and we are determined to build on that success, not just in terms of the quality of performances across a wide range of sports, but to enhance the significant personal development outcomes for all Canfordians in their time here, and in the behaviour and attitudes they take with them into their futures.  Attitudes towards sport and physical wellbeing have been changing both in schools and across wider society and, over the past months, we have been conducting a strategic review to ensure that Canford’s sporting offering is as dynamic and relevant as possible to meet those changing demands and also embraces a wider focus on physical wellbeing.  We received over 120 applications for this post and Tony was offered the position after a rigorous selection process which was very much focused on finding the right person to move our programme forwards in line with this vision and these aims.  I am excited at the prospect of working with him developing the future of Canford Sport and Physical Wellbeing.”

Tony echoed these sentiments:

“I am delighted to have the chance to join the school at an exciting time as the new Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing.  I see this role as having the opportunity to inspire a generation of Canford pupils to achieve their potential both in sport and in life. There is clearly already so much good work being done and I look forward to building on those foundations. I am keen to make sure that there are excellent sporting opportunities for all at Canford whether it is girls or boys, individual or team sports and at both participation and high performance level. I strongly believe that sport can play a hugely important role in the overall development of young people today. I hope to use the experiences and lessons I have learnt, both as an ex athlete and as a coach working with young male and female athletes, across sport at Canford.

If Canford sport can play its part in developing adaptable, independent and resilient young adults then that will be rightly celebrated.”

Tony will take on the role in a phased manner over the course of the rest of the academic year.  He will join in January 2020 and will spend the first three months on research and induction before a development and handover period from April to August 2020.   From September 2020, Tony will be actively overseeing and developing the full sporting and physical wellbeing programme.   During this period Assistant Director of Sport Natasha Wilson will be responsible for the operational aspects of our sporting provision.

For more information about Sport at Canford please visit 

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