When did you first take up the position at Harrow, and what made you decide to take it? My first day in School was August 10, so I’m still feeling very much the new boy. I was Head Master in Tokyo for several years, so I know of Harrow via the regional British school’s network and very much admire the manner in which it has drawn on the best of both British independent and international schooling. Add to that the ‘to die for’ facilities, a thoroughly professional staff and Thailand’s people and culture as a backdrop and it was an easy decision to make.
Where were you based before moving here? I was the Principal of The Junior & Senior School in Nicosia, Cyprus in the beautiful Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus is a country of friendly people, outstanding climate and wonderful food. However, Nicosia is Europe’s last divided city, due to the ongoing conflict between Turkey and Greek Cyprus, and as a small country, Cyprus has been dragged in to the Greek Eurozone crisis, so my time there was very interesting.
Is working in a school in Thailand very different to working in a school in Cyprus or Japan? Yes and no. Certainly the culture and traditions of the host country come into the School, whatever the country. In Thailand that is characterized by an emphasis on respect, hard work and the cultural programmes offered to the students; plus wonderful food. This contrasts to the southern European approach where people liked to be a little less formal and there was a strong emphasis on family and down time. Bowls of peaches or bottles of olive oil would appear in the staffroom. Japan was different again, with a very strong work ethic and an inner city school that was caught up in the pace of Tokyo cool. One of the benefits of working in British overseas education is the variety of cultural, climatic and recreation experiences available.
How long is your contract at Harrow, and what do you hope to achieve during your tenure? For the first time in my professional life I have a long term contract and plan to be in Harrow for some time. In my tenure the Harrow team will be building on the very strong foundations that are in place to develop a world-class educational programme that will positively shape tomorrow’s leaders. This will involve curriculum initiatives, major facilities projects and further development of Harrow’s famously wide-ranging extra-curricular provision.
Do you have your own teaching philosophy? Yes, every child is different and talented and should be given the opportunity to reach his or her full potential in a caring, challenging and happy environment. It’s hardly original to me, but I hold strong to the principle that, whenever I face a decision, so long as I keep in mind what is best for the children I stand a good chance of making the right call. Other than that, I am adamant that life is not a rehearsal; it’s the real thing. I want to see risk takers in my school, who are throwing themselves into every possible opportunity and so learning life skills such as resilience, independence and social responsibility. Harrow is a good match for me.
We hear you’re an avid cyclist. Can we expect to see you taking part in any competitions here in the kingdom? The Tour of Thailand perhaps with Farley in the Yellow Jersey on the final day? I’m very much looking forward to exploring, as well as racing on my bike. Adventure Racing might also be an attraction in the future. Right now the School is absorbing most of my time and energy so racing plans are on hold.
For more info about the school see: :harrowschool.ac.th