Deputy Head (Staff), Head of Digital Learning, Teacher of English

BA, English Language and Literature, Trinity College, Oxford
MA (Open University) English
MA Oxon
MSt Advanced Subject Teaching, Wolfson College, Cambridge
QTS Secondary English Teaching, Canterbury Christ Church University

What makes a good teacher at Bedales?

I think that an infectious enthusiasm for the subject beyond the syllabus is the most important attribute. That said, humour, willingness to wear silly-costumes and a deep enjoyment of the surrounding environment certainly helps.  

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

Most importantly, I want to inspire joy in the reading, discussion and writing about great literature. I want to ensure that the mind of each of my student becomes a ‘mansion for all lovely forms’.   

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

My role as Deputy Head (Staff) takes up most of my time – which relates to timetabling, staff wellbeing and close liaison with HR.

I enjoy teaching English and leading on the Oxbridge and extension courses for the department in the Sixth Form, as well as running the Junior Literary Society –a convivial half-termly conversation about a novel or poetry collection over supper.

I am also heavily involved with boarding as a Resident Tutor on New Boys’ Flat where I enjoy the occasional game of chess, watching the toaster with a beady eye, and helping the boys with their Prep; I also work on 6.2 Flat and Steephurst one evening a week. I am a Sixth Form tutor, mentoring the academic-side of life and university applications process for a small group.

As Head of Digital Learning I am involved with considering the curriculum implications of technology, staff training and the education imperatives of our students. I am also enjoying developing our VLE, ‘Firefly’ to make it more user friendly and as a support to teaching and learning.

Over the past six years I have tried my hand at Outdoor Work (more success with cutting brambles and making broomsticks than with gardening or the sheep), drama (the Parents’ Day production of ‘Elegy for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens), JAW debates, the Harvard Research Group, as well as the less-than-voluntary supervision of the student-led ‘Lord of the Rings Appreciation club’.

In your opinion, what makes Bedales special?

I think that the willingness of staff and students to reflect in a considered, mindful way is a particularly special characteristic. 

What is your best memory of Bedales?

My Bedalian highlight has to be my first Badley weekend: making giant willow-lanterns to illuminate the Ceilidh, learning about bushcraft in the woods, and a storyteller on the Saturday evening who brought alive ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ with an incredible array of accents and outstanding verbal dexterity.

Who or what inspires you?

Wordsworth and Coleridge – at least in their early years… 

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.

I collect old games consoles.