The new headteacher of Epsom College has vowed to honour the legacy of his predecessor, Emma Pattison, who is believed to have been killed alongside her daughter by her husband.
Former vice-chancellor of Buckingham University and ex-master of Wellington College, Sir Anthony Seldon, will take up the role from 1 March until September 2024, when a permanent head will be installed.
It follows the death of Mrs Pattison, 45, and her seven-year-old daughter Lettie, who are believed to have been murdered by husband and father George Pattison, 39, before he took his own life on 5 February.
The family were found dead at their home on the grounds of the college in Surrey, after Mrs Pattison had made a distressed call to her sister.
Police are yet to reveal details of how the three died, but a firearm was legally registered to Mr Pattison.
Taking up the post, Sir Anthony said that he is “committed to ensuring that Emma’s legacy is honoured and that Epsom College moves forward in the manner she intended”.
He described her as “driven, ambitious and courageous”, adding that there is “no better way to respect her memory than for Epsom College to forge ahead and embody the values that guided her life”.
His role as acting head of the college will be to provide “confidence, stability, and maturity” with the current senior leadership team running the school.
The appointment comes days after Mrs Pattison’s family released a statement through police.
It described her as having had “a warm, welcoming smile and sparkling, blue eyes, full of optimism”.
Lettie was “Emma’s pride and joy”, they said.
Loved ones described the girl as “adorable” and “vibrant” with a “compelling curiosity, a heart-melting smile and an intellect beyond her years”.
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Mr Pattison had been in contact with police days before the killings, regarding a change of address on his shotgun licence, but no concerns appear to have been raised about a gun and ammunition being kept at his home.
The family statement went on to thank police for their “sensitive and thorough handling of the ongoing investigation into this horrendous tragedy”.