Head of School

“I can honestly say that I have always worked in supportive environments, where I have felt welcomed, supported, and encouraged to develop personally and professionally. Being able to enjoy my work, being intellectually stimulated, and a sense of camaraderie around shared frustrations and opportunities have all been key to my happiness at work.  However, I am well aware that this experience is far from common. For this reason, I am delighted that as a School, we are developing a programme of work that will ensure that everyone is able to find a supportive context.

Being asked to prepare a statement of support for inclusion on these webpages prompted me to reflect on issues that, in my middle age, have become quite hidden. However, it is fair to say that growing up as a gay man in the 1980s, and with the emergence of HIV and policies around the age of consent and homosexuality in Schools, I have experienced probably more discrimination and prejudice in my life than most of the colleagues I have worked with. We all respond to these sorts of experiences in different ways. Some of us retreat into ourselves, some of us become activists, and some of us find shelter in worlds that we think are more conducive. Although my passion for nursing grew much earlier in my life, probably from the age of eleven, I have been lucky that, on the whole, the worlds of healthcare and education, have provided me with some form of shelter. I am lucky that my sexuality is probably now the least important part of my life, and it is something that I rarely even think about.

As Head of School, I have high ambitions for the contribution that we can make as a School to the health and well-being of the patients and populations we connect with in so many different ways. I am also immensely proud of the legacies we are creating in both the knowledge we are generating to drive future policy and practice, and in the future generations that will sustain our health and care services.”

Professor Chris Burton, Head of School