I started my career as a teacher of geography in a comprehensive school in Essex in the UK. As I mentioned to the staff when I first arrived, it was a tough place to begin a career as a teacher, but I learnt a lot, and after three years I moved to a new school in Staffordshire, where I undertook a number of roles including Head of Department, Year Leader, Head of Faculty and Senior Teacher. During this period I was lucky enough to win a Fulbright scholarship to study and teach at New York University for a year. In 1993 I made the decision to move into the international field and took up a post in Kenya as Head of Sixth form and Deputy Head in a new British curriculum school. Two years later, I moved to The Bavarian International School, Munich, as I B coordinator, before moving back to Kenya in 1997 as Head of an international boarding school. I left after seven years to take up the post of Head of School at the British School Manila, where I also enjoyed seven years.
I feel excited and privileged to be part of the BISR community. Every day I work with highly motivated students, a very committed board, enthusiastic and passionate teachers, teaching assistants and admin staff, as well as supportive parents. As an avid football supporter, (though not of Manchester United) I was interested to read Sir Alex Ferguson’s comments recently about the success of his team when he was a manager: He said simply that it is down to hard work at every level of the organisation. That struck a chord with me, and I think that with the superb teachers at BISR, and a lot of hard work, we will be able to continue the drive for excellence in every area of school life.
I believe strongly in a holistic education and that the extra-curricular and co-curricular activities are as important as the formal curriculum. Our boys and girls must develop their natural curiosity and acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research. They must be able to explore concepts, ideas and issues that have global significance, and exercise initiative in applying thinking skills effectively, and to make reasoned, ethical decisions. They must be able to understand and address ideas and information effectively, and act with honesty and integrity, with a strong sense of justice and fairness. They must take responsibility for their own actions. Students of international schools must also try to understand and appreciate their own cultures and be open to the perspectives, values and traditions of others. They should show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They should also give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. If we are able to provide an environment which offers all these, our children will thrive.
I am joined in Riyadh by my wife, Louise, who is a primary teacher, and my two young daughters who keep me in my place, as well as our dog Sammy. As my eldest daughter reminded me recently, ‘You may be the boss at school daddy, but you are not the boss at home’. Don’t I know it!
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