BA (Hons), Ceramics, West Surrey College of Art and Design
Postgraduate Diploma in Art, Craft and Design Education, Roehampton University, London
Professional member of the Craftsman Potters Association
What makes a good teacher at Bedales and Dunhurst?
I believe that qualities that make a good teacher here, as anywhere, are knowledge and enjoyment of your subject area, lots of enthusiasm and an ability to inspire. For a teacher at one of the Bedales schools it is also important to be able to build on the school’s ethos of mutual respect and to strive to promote a discursive atmosphere in your class.
What are you trying to encourage and instil in your pupils?
My primary aim is to nurture individuality, creative thinking and originality in the pupils I teach. I would like them to develop a passion for life and an enthusiasm to investigate the world around them. I am also a strong believer in kindness, compassion and empathy for others.
Apart from your teaching role, what else do you get involved with at the school?
I am the Head of Department for Creative Studies at Dunhurst, a Block 2 tutor and co-ordinate Dunhurst’s Peer Listening scheme, which I established approximately 10 years ago. This scheme is very close to my heart, as it involves helping pupils to build on their natural skills of empathy and caring, and to learn to listen to others. This scheme is run by the pupils, for the pupils, and this includes the interviewing and selecting of the new Peer Listeners at the end of the academic year. I love taking the new Listeners on their first weekend’s training to the Isle of Wight, where we spend most of the weekend training on the beach. I also introduced the Art/Modern Languages trips to Spain, which have now been running for 10 years. Sharing the magic of Granada’s Alhambra, Seville’s Alcazar Palace and Barcelona’s Gaudí buildings, with pupils from Dunhurst has been a truly memorable experience. The tutor system at Dunhurst has also been hugely rewarding. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some exceptional tutor groups over the past few years. Setting up artist-in-residencies has also been a high point for me which has enabled pupils and staff to work alongside some talented artists, whilst improving the school environment.
In your opinion, what makes Bedales and Dunhurst special?
I think it’s the people our school attracts that make it special. We have an enviable sense of community and the relationships between staff and pupils, based on mutual respect, are unique. I particularly enjoy the discursive element to our school’s approach to teaching and learning.
What is your best memory of Bedales and Dunhurst?
I relish opportunities for the whole school to come together and my best memory of this kind of community spirit is the time when the whole of Dunhurst, pupils, teaching staff, domestic and catering staff, all took part in our ‘Big Draw’ campaign. We finished with 300 portraits of everyone!
Who or what inspires you?
I find myself inspired by people from all walks of life, particularly those who are breaking new ground, and people who are innovative, imaginative and courageous. I am also touched and inspired by those who put the well-being and protection of others before that of themselves.
Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.
For some years I worked in the commercial sector, heading a team as a designer and producer of ceramics. I also ran two of my own businesses, one producing ceramics and the other as a partner in a wholesale horticultural business.