Head of Bedales

MA (Hons) English Language and Literature, University of Edinburgh
PGCE English and Drama, London (King's College)

What makes a good teacher at Bedales?

What makes a good teacher anywhere is a combination of good subject knowledge, patience, enthusiasm, stamina and an interest in what other people think and do.

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

I'm trying to encourage a love of literature in its broadest sense - contemporary poetry, Shakespeare, crime fiction, Middle English, even areas about which I myself feel less secure, such as the 19th century novel - but instil an awareness and understanding of intellectual rigour. By that I mean ideas, responses, interpretations to a text should be coherent, well thought through, academic and not sentimental, and clearly articulated, whether verbally or on the page.

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

I hope to be involved with everything.

In your opinion, what makes Bedales special?

What makes Bedales special is its difference. Most schools I know have the same approach to learning; they offer a similar curriculum to each other, they encourage and recommend and validate quite a narrow range of destinations for their leavers, they measure achievement and progress and success in similar ways. Bedales has a very different set of values and an innovative curriculum.

Who or what inspires you?

Music inspires me; a well-executed cover drive to the boundary inspires me; Eddy Merckx inspires me; my family inspire me.

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

I spent much of my gap year living in a straw hut on the beach at Goa. It was fun, but not a particularly productive stage of my life.