George Heriot’s to appoint first ever female principal

Lesley Franklin will take up the role in December 2017.

Lesley Franklin will take up the role in December 2017.

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ONE of Edinburgh’s top independent schools is set to appoint the first female principal in its 388-year history.

One of Edinburgh’s top independent schools is set to appoint the first female principal in its 388-year history.

The current head of junior school, Mrs Lesley Franklin, will become principal of Edinburgh’s George Heriot School when incumbent Cameron Wyllie retires.

George Heriot founded the school in the early 17th century to provide an education to “fatherless bairns” in the city of Edinburgh.

It now has more than 1,600 pupils from the ages of four to 18, and 155 permanent teaching staff.

Former pupils include 19th century painter Sir Henry ­Raeburn, Lord Mackay of Clashfern and rugby legend Andy Irvine.

Mrs Franklin started as a classroom teacher in the Junior School at Heriot’s in 1995 and is believed to be the first head of a Scottish independent junior school to be promoted to the post of principal.

She said: “Having worked here for over 20 years, the school and its community are very close to my heart and becoming principal is a huge honour.

“I am very conscious of the strong ethos and traditions of Heriot’s and it will be a privilege serve the school as principal. The selection process was very intensive and took place over a number of weeks.

“I’m looking forward enormously to working with the staff, pupils and the entire Heriot’s community to continue to strengthen our position at the forefront of the Scottish education sector.

“I will be focusing on ensuring that our pupils receive the best possible education in a caring, nurturing environment.”

Mrs Franklin has an honours degree in German from the University of St Andrews and studied teaching at the University of Reading.

She has been an associate assessor for Education Scotland since 2008 and coached hockey for more than 20 years.

Mike Gilbert, chairman of governors at Heriot’s, said: “The level of interest in this position was extremely high, with many strong candidates from throughout the UK and several from overseas.

“Lesley’s appointment follows a thorough, robust and very competitive recruitment process and she was the unanimous choice for the position.”