New Governor’s guiding hand

New Governor’s guiding hand

A new pupil in QE’s first year as a comprehensive, David Burton (OE 1971–1978) returned to Queen’s Road decades later to work as its Head of Finance.

Now retired, he is back with the School once again: this time, to serve as a Governor.

“I have always set great store by education and learning, which meant that I was happy to accept the Governor position as a way of supporting the running of QE, in particular guiding on the finance aspects,” says David. “I look on it as giving something back to the community and the institution of QE.”

He arrived at QE at a time of rapid expansion, with entry doubling from three forms to six. “It still carried elements of a grammar school in many respects, with masters and prefects wearing gowns in assembly, for example. But in my time I witnessed the expansion of pupil numbers up to close to its current size, and the construction of the Fern Building to help accommodate them.”

His personal memories include being in Eric Shearly’s form in his first year, participating in the School play, getting involved in debating, and becoming a prefect. Although excited to be one of the very few who was at the School for the 400th anniversary in 1973 and is still involved now during the 450th anniversary year, he says: “To be honest, I don’t recall very much about the actual commemorations 50 years ago.”

A clearer memory is of being appointed treasurer of the sixth form entertainments committee by Sid Clark, Head of Sixth Form (who later, like David, served as a Governor in retirement): ” I didn’t realise at the time that this would plant a seed for my subsequent career!”

After reading English and History at university, he embarked on a career in accountancy and insurance, training as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young. Based in the City of London, he nonetheless had the opportunity to travel on assignments to North Africa, the USA, France and Switzerland.

“After a long time away from the School (38 years), a coincidence of me being at a loose end and seeing the vacancy for Head of Finance brought me back in 2016. I had little knowledge of modern state school finance, but in my experience, these are often the best situations  I have always appreciated learning and understanding something new. I found the senior team and all the staff to be inspirational, so enjoyed deeply my second stint of six years at QE.

“Coming back did bring back many more memories than I thought I had retained about the school, the masters and my contemporaries.”

He retired in May 2022 and returned to the Governing Body in September this year, having served a term as an elected Staff Governor from 2016 to 2020.

David is married, with two grown-up children and a young grandson “who keeps us busy and entertained”. He enjoys DIY on both houses and cars, as well as travel, cinema, and, more recently, gardening.