Tell us about yourself.
I’m from near London in the UK and have been in Beijing one year. I have three children – ages 25, 23 and 19 – who were educated in the Southeast of England.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Who was your childhood hero?
I wanted to play cricket for England when I was a young teenager. My hero was a combination of Ina Botham, Viv Richards, and Barry Richards.
What kind of student were you as a child?
Reasonably good all-rounder – sportsman, actor, and academic.
What was your image of the school headmaster when you were a student? How do you describe your image now?
The headmaster at my school was a slightly eccentric, rather distant man. I’m working on it! But I hope I come across as friendly, knowledgeable with high expectations for the students.
Did you ever get sent to the headmaster’s office?
Yes – caned for asking my housemaster if he’d had his hair cut! I still feel the injustice of it!
What kind of jobs did you have before becoming a headmaster? I was courier on a French campsite, a driver, and a worker on a building site but best was a cleaner of aircraft. I once nearly passed out cleaning the wing of a jumbo jet with a fluid that made me feel rather light-headed!
What is a typical day like in the life of a headmaster?
Very varied – meeting parents, seeing students, talking to teachers, planning school strategy, checking standards, attending concerts, watching sports, and laughing with colleagues. All in a day’s work!
How do most people respond when they find out you are a school headmaster? How do your kids or your spouse introduce you to their friends?
They are now used to it – I’ve been a head for 12 years. They used to say, “It’s not possible, you’re far too young to be a head!”
What job would you want to do if you were not a headmaster? Why?
A lawyer, journalist, diplomat, academic, naturalist, or a professional golfer.
In all your time as an educator, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned?
Never think you know enough to stop learning more. Always listen. I regularly am tempted to think I’ve grasped someone’s point of view and to try to quickly ink in the gaps without processing the full detail in front of me.
Meet the Principal/Headmaster is a new beijingkids blog series designed to give the Beijing community a better understanding of who our education leaders are in our city. If your school is interested in being featured in our Meet the Principal/Headmaster blog series, please contact the School Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.