After a competitive global recruitment process, we are delighted to announce the Rugby School Japan founding deputy heads: Laura Bispham (Deputy Head, Academic) and Simon Palferman (Deputy Head, Pastoral).
Having taught internationally and in the UK, Laura has spent the majority of her career in boarding schools and is an experienced teacher across a variety of subjects in the sciences and humanities, covering A-Level, International Baccalaureate, IGCSE and GCSE qualifications.
After graduating with a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2007, Laura completed a PGCE before entering the teaching profession. In 2014, she completed a Masters in Philosophy and Religion.
Laura is currently Housemistress of The Abbey, Repton School, a British co-educational boarding and day school. Alongside ensuring that every pupil achieves their academic potential, Laura maintains a keen interest in pupil voice, pupil wellbeing and community action.
Simon Palferman has held a variety of senior leadership roles in education and child welfare and development, and is currently Housemaster at St. Edward’s School Oxford.
In his twenties, Simon interspersed a BA degree in Classics at the University of Leeds and an MPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford with two spells teaching in Japan. Whilst on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, Simon was based for two years in a rural school in Tochigi-ken. This was followed by four years in Nagoya, working firstly as an English teacher and Homeroom teacher at Nagoya International Junior and Senior High School, before becoming the first non-Japanese member of the teaching staff at Aichi Junior and Senior High School.
Upon returning to the UK, Simon assumed senior roles, as Head of Charity and Head of Product and Operations, for an international development organisation, which aimed to support disadvantaged communities overseas through improved education, child welfare and livelihoods. In 2013, he began to combine these roles with teaching part-time at St Edward’s School, Oxford (“Teddies”), before taking on a full-time role at the school as Teacher of Classics in 2015.
The following year, Simon was appointed as Assistant Housemaster at Teddies, and then took on the role of Housemaster in a boys’ boarding house in 2019. During his time at Teddies, he has been heavily involved in developing the school’s cultural and sporting programmes, and was Head of Squash for seven years.
Simon is married to Kayo, a Japanese national who was born in Tokyo, and they have three children who are have been brought up to cherish both their British and Japanese roots.
Arrival in Japan
Laura and Simon are currently laying the groundwork in the UK with Rugby leaders and teams, before their respective moves to Japan in early 2023.
(Photo – Laura Bispham, RSJ Deputy Head, Academic, left. Simon Palferman, RSJ Deputy Head, Pastoral, right, with leaders from Bilton Grange, one of the four schools in the Rugby School Group, and official prep feeder school of Rugby School UK.)
We look forward to welcoming both senior leaders to the RSJ team in Japan.