Stephen Spurr

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Stephen Spurr (born 9 October 1953) is a British teacher, classicist, and academic. From 2005 to 2014, he was the Head Master of Westminster School, the British public school,[1] in 2005. He is an advocate of "exam reform".[2] In 2007[3] and again in 2012,[4] the Evening Standard listed Spurr as one of the 1,000 most influential Londoners.

He was previously Headmaster of Clifton College (2000-2005) and prior to that a House Master and Head of Classics at Eton (1984-2000). Before joining the teaching profession he was a university academic, lecturing on Greek and Roman literature, history and archaeology. In the Summer of 2014, he retired as Head Master of Westminster, after 9 years in the post.[5] He is currently the Group Education Director of Inspired, a global educational company with leading schools on four continents. [6] [7][8][9]


He was educated at The King's School, Canterbury and Sydney Grammar School. He gained a first-class degree in Classics at the University of Sydney and a DPhil degree at Oxford University. He was awarded a postgraduate Fellowship at Harvard University, the Cooper and Pelham Scholarships at Oxford, and a Rome Scholarship at the British School at Rome.[10]


He is popular among his pupils, who affectionately call him 'Stevie'. They like the view that Dr. Spurr holds about how to spend time in the holidays: he believes in the three 'R's - rest, revision, reflection. Spurr has stated that A-level exams may fail talented pupils, especially in the Humanities; and Westminster has consequently switched to Cambridge Pre-U exams in 9 subjects, which he describes as "so much more stimulating to teach and learn".[11] He is also a great proponent of scientific education.[12] In another two subjects his pupils follow International A-levels, which, together with the Pre-Us, enable comparison with the best schools world-wide, since Spurr aims to educate pupils to become the successful global citizens of the future. He believes that British education needs to take careful notice of increasingly high international standards, and this is a theme on which he has given talks in the UK, Singapore, the US and China. From 2006-2013 Spurr was the Chairman of ISEB, the board that produces and regulates the Common Entrance examination, where he has always insisted on academic integrity and rigour. According to Tatler magazine, Spurr also believes in academic research for its own intrinsic sake.[13] At Eton, Clifton and Westminster, he has always worked to raise academic standards. He has also looked to identify and encourage academically ambitious pupils in the state sector, through fund-raising for bursary programmes and by establishing the Eton-Harlesden Summer School in 1986, the Clifton Summer School in 2001 and, most recently, he set up the Harris-Westminster Sixth Form Academy,[14] a joint project between Westminster School and Harris Federation, which opened in 2014 and has been judged Outstanding in its first Inspection by Ofsted.[15]

Personal life[edit]

In 1982 Spurr married Susanna Armani in Rome and they have a son Ed Spurr (b. 14 January 1984), a curator[16] and Associate Director at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, and a daughter Lavinia Spurr (b. 19 July 1988).


In addition to scholarly books and articles, particularly in Latin literature and Roman History, and publications in the field of Egyptology (while at Eton he was also Curator of the Myers Museum of Ancient Egyptian Art),[17] Spurr is known as a translator of Italian, and was awarded a Times Literary translation prize in 1991.


  1. ^ SPURR, Dr (Michael) Stephen, Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2011; online edn, Nov 2011, accessed 14 Dec 2011]
  2. ^ The Guardian
  3. ^ "The 1000 – London's most influential people 2007: Educators". Evening Standard. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  4. ^ The 1000 - London's most influential people 2012
  5. ^ Dr Spurr retires as Head Master of Westminster School
  6. ^ ‘Tatler Schools Guide 2017
  7. ^ ‘Tatler Schools Guide 2017]
  8. ^ ‘’Il Giornale Di Monza 22-11-2016]
  9. ^ ‘’Il Sole 24 Ore 2016-12-13]
  10. ^ Dons Life - Tea at Claridges and dinner at Westminster
  11. ^ G. Paton, "A-levels fail brightest pupils warns top headmaster", The Daily Telegraph (London, 27 August 2011)
  12. ^ The Times: 10 Ways to enrich your child's science education, 2012
  13. ^ Tatler Schools Guide 2013
  14. ^ The Times: Top public school offers pupils from poor backgrounds academy route to Oxbridge [1]
  15. ^ "Sixth form that turns poorest into scholars is top free school". The Times. 12 November 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  16. ^ New York Times
  17. ^ Egyptian Art at Eton College