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Thumbs up for HEADS UP!

Twenty one Prep School Headmasters have raised close to £100,000 following their Heads Up Challenge. Brainchild of Elstree Headmaster, Sid Inglis, the aim was to raise awareness and funds for the mental health charity Place2Be. Sid explains all…

Where did the idea for the challenge originate? 

I did some research on the Heads Together campaign, which aims to generate positive change in the national conversation on mental health. I thought I could gather some ‘Heads Together’ to raise money for this important cause. 

Sitting under the Heads Together umbrella is ‘Place2Be’, which is a fantastic charity supporting children’s mental health, emotional resilience and well-being. Their vision is for all children to have the vital support they need to help build life-long coping skills and to thrive. 

Every school has the mental health of their pupils and staff at the heart of everything they do. As Heads, we know it’s very important to tackle the stigmas associated with mental health issues head on, and act now to help provide support. 

Being Head of a busy school can be a lonely job and to have the opportunity to spend some quality time with like-minded people, whilst completing a challenge was very rewarding and truly memorable. Everyone has agreed that they have entered the new academic year with renewed energy, vigour and enthusiasm.


What did the challenge involve and how was it organised?

The challenge was a 14 hour kayak, cycle and hike from dawn till dusk. We kayaked over three miles, the cycle covered 50 miles and the hike was 12 miles.

I decided to invite 25 Prep Schools Heads to join me and I managed to persuade 20 to be part of the challenge. Their response to it was brilliant and they all put in huge amounts of training to prepare for the challenge. There was lots of organisation involved, but when a plan eventually comes together it makes it all worthwhile. 

We were very fortunate to be very generously sponsored by Featherstone Partners, a leading private wealth management firm providing clients with financial advice including school fee planning. We were also provided with some cutting edge, colourful kit by XXV Sportswear. Preseli Venture had done an amazing job with the routes, back up support and very comfortable accommodation. Their lead guide, Tommy, supported us the whole way and local bike guru, Scott, was invaluable on the bike ride.

“At some point in our lives, most of us will suffer from stress, anxiety or depression, if that period is during childhood it must be extremely distressing, hard to diagnose and difficult to resolve. Featherstone was therefore delighted to support the headmasters to raise money for Place2Be which helps children with mental health issues and have pledged to support any future events.”
James Barton, Featherstone Partners

Can people still donate?

Yes, absolutely.  Any further support would be much appreciated.  We have a Heads Up Just Giving page HERE.

Are there plans for more Heads Up challenges?

Definitely. We all got so much out of the challenge in so many ways that I am sure that we will plan another one. I would love to make it an annual event even if it’s not always for charity. We have raised a fantastic amount for Place2Be, over £90,000 and rising. It is important that all our schools keep the mental health of the pupils and staff at the forefront of their thinking. We hope to reach the magic £100,000 mark before too long.

“Thanks to the Heads Up Challenge and the 21 Head Teachers that took part,
Place2Be will be able to provide counselling to more children and young people in these schools,
helping them to overcome mental health challenges, to get the most out of their education and thrive.”
Anna Fletcher, Head of Corporate Partnerships, Place2Be


Headmasters – braving the elements for charity

Ben Beardmore-GrayMoulsford

Chris SearsonBeaudesert Park

Daniel ThornburnEdgeborough

Dominic FloydMount Kelly

Duncan BaileyCothill House

Giles TollitHorris Hill

Henry Knight – Belhaven Hill

Jonathan Bartlett – St Andrew’s

Jonathan Perry – Lambrook

Martin HarrisCheam

Neal BaileyMowden Hall

Neil BrooksCranleigh Prep

Sid InglisElstree (pictured)

Simon BarberLudgrove

Stephen IlettPort Regis

Titus Mills – Walhampton

Tom BunburyPapplewick

Tom DawsonSunningdale

Will BrooksBrambletye

Will GoldsmithSt. George’s Windsor

Will Lockett – Abberley Hall

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