Tim O’Connell, Headmaster
BSc (Hons), PGCE, QTS
Having gained a degree in Sport and Exercise Science from St Luke’s College, Exeter, followed by a PGCE course in Secondary Physical Education with a specialism in Primary Education, Tim’s teaching career started at Saint Felix School in Suffolk, where he progressed from a newly qualified teacher to roles of Housemaster, Head of Boarding, and eventually, Head of the Prep School.
While nurturing young talents, Tim discovered his true passion within the Prep Department at Saint Felix. Having coached the Under 18 1st XV rugby and led the cricket programme, he found his calling in teaching Under 11 and Under 9 sports. Here, his focus shifted towards honing core skills essential for children to flourish into accomplished athletes.
In 2018, Tim became a part of Heywood as Deputy Head, subsequently assuming the role of Headmaster in January 2024. His initial tenure as Deputy Head was marked by not only his dedication to teaching PE and Games but also by his expertise in academic subjects such as maths and geography, highlighting his versatility.
Tim’s life has been profoundly influenced by his love for sports. He dedicated numerous hours to county-level hockey, rugby, and cricket, achieving one of his proudest accomplishments by captaining the Under 17 East of England hockey team to a national title. Recently retired from playing Level 7 rugby for Southwold, he’s now more of a spectator, but coaching remains a passion, often seen with a whistle in hand on weekends. His children actively engage in sports, reflecting Tim’s commitment to an active lifestyle. Beyond sports, he enjoys photography, countryside strolls, and cherishing moments with his wife, Laura, and their three children.
Tim possesses a natural talent and enthusiasm for discovering and nurturing the unique passions of every child, providing them with opportunities and support for individual development. With two of his children at Heywood and another recently moving to senior school, Tim values the opportunities offered to Heywood’s children and families through its individualised curriculum.
Tim’s guiding principle for our pupils echoes: ‘Be the best you can be at everything you do.’ Recognising that not everyone can be the absolute best, he encourages each child to strive for their personal best.