Meet the head of King’s Rochester
PUBLISHED: 11:50 19 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:50 19 August 2016
The family man on an Army childhood, overcooked liver and why formation of character is as important as exam results
Tell us a bit about you
My father was in the Army so I grew up all over the world but I went to boarding school in Salisbury at eight and then on to Sherborne School in Dorset. I did my teacher training after completing a degree in Theology at Oxford and began my career in 1996.
I was a Head of Department and Housemaster at Ardingly College in Sussex, followed by six years at Berkhamsted School, first as Deputy Head and then Headmaster of Berkhamsted Sixth.
My wife Harriet and I met each other at school and we have two children who are both at King’s, where we live in the Cathedral Precinct with Bramble, our cocker spaniel.
When did you become head teacher?
I became Principal of King’s in 2012 and can’t believe how quickly the last four years have gone.
If not a teacher, what would you have been?
I would have gone into the Army, the Diplomatic Service, law or become a farmer. All of them would have been very worthwhile and fulfilling, but I am glad I went into teaching.
Favourite lessons at school as a child?
English, History and Religious Studies were my favourites but I also loved Classical Civilisation, French and the sciences.
Least-favourite school dinner?
There was a pretty intimidating dish involving a whole liver that you could bounce your knife off. Luckily the food at King’s is fantastic!
Is there a book that has inspired you?
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay had a big impact on me as a teenager. Teaching Religious Studies and Theory of Knowledge in the IB programme exposes you to much of the best writing in the world and the range of the reading list has been very influential on my thinking.
Your favourite film and why?
Watching Love Actually has become an annual tradition at Christmas time. It’s a bit schmaltzy, but you can’t beat the feel-good ending. I am also a huge Bond fan. Roger Moore was the Bond of my generation but I also like the early Sean Connery and Daniel Craig in Skyfall.
How do you relax?
I enjoy entertaining with good food and wine and try to balance that with running, cycling and shooting. Spending time with my family brings me enormous happiness and we love to travel.
What makes you most proud of King’s?
The quality of relationships between pupils and with their teachers is the first thing visitors notice, once they have got over the beauty of the school and our setting around the Cathedral and castle. That sense of a living community makes me proud and keeps me motivated every day. I have never known another school with anything like a similar atmosphere.
If you could be Prime Minister for a day, what would you do for education?
Slow down the pace of reforms to exams and instruct a thorough review of exam setting and marking.
Our pupils are the most over-examined in Europe and because qualifications are so important, we need to pause, draw a breath and decide a sensible programme of reform which is driven more by a desire for quality than headline grabbing initiatives.
Part of that process would involve affirming that education is about the development of the whole person and that formation of character is as important as attaining grades in exams.
Maths or English?
English, but only because it suited my preferences at school.
School dinners or packed lunches?
Newsletter or Twitter?
Newsletter for a record of achievements through the year and for information to parents. Twitter for quick bursts of exciting news.
Get in touch
King’s Rochester, Satis House, Boley Hill, Rochester ME1 1TE. 01634 888555 or firstname.lastname@example.org