Head of Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst

NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship), BEd, Diploma of Teaching (Waikato University, NZ), BPP (Boarding Professional Practise, Roehampton University)

What makes a good teacher at Dunhurst?

To teach at Dunhurst we are looking for people that love children, are passionate about their subject and have a natural warmth with people of all ages. Fundamentally they will have an excellent subject knowledge and, coinciding with this, enjoy the enquiry based learning that takes place across Dunhurst and the three Bedales Schools. They need to have life experience and be prepared to share ‘blue sky ideas’. Offering hobbies, music, art, and drama as well is always a plus and adds to the vibrant education that is on offer.

What are you trying to encourage and instil in your pupils?

To put it simply – kindness; when leaving Dunhurst in Block 2 to move into Bedales, to be remembered  as a kind person who gave their all to their peers, year group and school. Having a sense of occasion coupled with manners is also key when seeing where they are and what is expected. Crucially ‘looking up’ and seeing what is going on around them- smelling the flowers along the way and being appreciative of how fortunate they are to have such an enriching education such as Bedales.

Apart from your teaching role, what else do you get involved with at the school?

I have taken to shadowing a child in each year group as a regular activity. This is key in ensuring I see the world through the eyes of the children and what goes in their typical day. Having spent time with all year groups (Year 4-8), I have been amazed by the rich and diverse education they are getting from such a talented group of teachers and teaching assistants/technicians who really enjoy teaching and have a superb subject knowledge- we are very lucky. I also assist with sports matches, the after school activity programme and teach maths and wellbeing as well. I enjoy all aspects of school life and foremost hearing the views of the children too. Having been a Director of Sport and also Head of History, Maths and Geography, I think I just love education!

In your opinion, what makes Dunhurst special?

The freedom which comes with responsibility. The ethos at Dunhurst gives children some freedom but this comes with an expectation of responsibility from them. This works well and I have seen so many acts of consideration and empathy it warms my heart. Underpinning it all we have strong systems of pastoral care and academic rigour. It really is an extraordinary school and it is great to see the children being themselves and comfortable in their own skin. I am very proud to be Head and only wish all children could have this type of education. It is a kind caring and enriching environment to be in; there is no teaching to the test or ‘filling the pail’ here.

What is your best memory of Dunhurst?

The massive amounts of kindness. This has been recorded in our kindness catcher which is only noted by people who see an act and then pop it in the jar on my desk. It is extraordinary how many children (and adults) do things just because it is right. When ‘caught’ it is recorded and shared with the school and parents. We have staff role modelling and children following the way.

Who or what inspires you?

My father, grandfather and my wife - all have had such profound positive influences on my life. More recently at school, we enjoyed a visit from Steve Brown, former 2012 Paralympic rugby wheel chair captain. He was inspirational and sent some clear messages to the children (and me) of persevering, giving your best and looking after others - an amazing man. Also Bear Grylls; he speaks a lot about not being the best sometimes but having a ‘never give up’ attitude - trying your best.

Tell us something that nobody knows about you?

I was born in New Zealand, but spent five years being raised in the remote Pacific Island called Niue. It was a wonderful experience even at a young age and has had a long lasting effect on me as a person and that of my three siblings and parents.

One of my favourite places in the world is sat on my surf board waiting for the next wave.

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