In September 2017, Dr Crispin Hyde-
Dunn will join a long line of modernising
Headmasters of the Dragon School, Oxford.
He will continue to nurture the Dragon’s
unique learning culture that puts children’s
needs at its heart.
In 1877, the Rev Arthur Clarke,
Headmaster, a graduate of Magdalen College,
started classes in 24, St Giles with 14 boys
- children of academics. Tragically, Clarke
suddenly died from pneumonia and, in
1886, Charles ‘Skipper’ Lynam borrowed
£2,000 from his father-in-law and purchased
the School. In 1895, when we moved to the
Bardwell Road site, he raised a further
£2,000 from the parents, starting a culture
of development and philanthropy.
As Headmaster, Skipper introduced plays,
concerts, sporting activities ... and abandoned
stiff Eton Collars. Informality was Skipper’s
nature and, in many ways, he founded the
Dragon culture and community we know today.
Alfred Lynam (Hum), Skipper’s younger
brother, became Headmaster in 1920.
Numbers rose from 320 in 1939 to 400 by
the end of the war. Joc, Hum’s son, became
an equal partner in the post of Headmaster
in 1942. He retained Skipper’s philosophy,
which stated, “We have failed, unless we have
helped the boy to develop his mind and his
capacities in his own way. Unless we have
given him full scope for all the imagination
and originality that is in him.”
In 1965, Keith Ingram was appointed
Assistant Headmaster by Joc. Inky worked
alongside Mike ‘Guv’ Gover, an Old Dragon
who joined the staff in 1949. Guv was
appointed Joint Headmaster in 1972 until
1989. They continued to nurture the child-
centred culture developed by the Lynam
family and increased pupil numbers from
477 in 1945 to 625 in 1989.
Nigel Richardson was Headmaster from
1989 to 1992 before he returned to senior
schools and he became Headmaster of The
Perse and Chairman of HMC.
Roger Trafford arrived in April 1992,
together with his wife Cheryl who taught many
Dragons to love History as well as working in
all areas of the School. Roger believed in the
pursuit of excellence without arrogance and
greatly improved the facilities, building the
Library, new Science and Art departments, as
well as the indoor Pool. He turned the Dragon
into a real co-educational school with more
equal numbers and opened two boarding
houses for girls. He also bought a former
school and opened Lynams - now the Dragon
Pre Prep - lowering the entry age to four.
In 2002, John Baugh took over as Head.
His wife, Wendy, also joined the School and
went on to become Director of Safeguarding.
John and Wendy shared the same passion for
Dragon values as preceding Headmasters.
Today, an emphasis on Social and Emotional
Learning form the bedrock of a culture where
kindness, mutual respect, consideration and
common sense prevail.
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn, Headmaster
of Abingdon Prep, joins the Dragon in
September 2017 with a clear understanding
of the importance of the legacy handed down
to him. He is in no doubt that he is inheriting
the leadership of an exceptional school. He
says, “The Dragon’s reputation as a school
where every child can find, explore and
develop their talents has been well earned over
many generations. The sense of philanthropy,
kindness and service that is shared by Dragons
young and old is testament to the School’s
ethos and core values.”
Dr Hyde-Dunn explains how he will
approach the role. “My first year will be one
of listening, learning, building relationships
and gaining the trust of the community in
order to understand further the School’s
needs. The voices of staff, pupils, parents, Old
Dragons and governors will all be heard and
all will be important.” Dr Hyde-Dunn adds, “I
believe that the happiness and well-being of
pupils and teachers are the keys to excellent
achievement, with every individual feeling
understood and valued. At the heart of my
headship will be my commitment to ensuring
the Dragon continues to offer extraordinary
opportunities in a supportive, nurturing
environment, in which a whole range of
talents will be discovered and potential
Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn
Mike Gover and Keith 'Inky' Ingram
From September 2017, Dr Crispin Hyde-Dunn will become the Headmaster of the
Dragon. He joins from Abingdon Preparatory School where he was Headmaster from
April 2011. Crispin read History at St Catherine’s College Oxford, before completing
a PGCE. He also holds an MA in Education Leadership and Management and the
National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). He has recently been
awarded a PhD in Art History. Crispin previously taught at St Edmund’s College
Hertfordshire, Hall School Wimbledon, St Edmund’s School Surrey, New College School
Oxford and King’s College School Cambridge, where he was Deputy Head Academic.