1 year ago

Inside Scoop 2019

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  • Hampshire
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A current parent perspective on the UK's top schools

Who or what inspired you

Who or what inspired you to teach? I loved my own school days. I had some fantastic teachers who inspired me and opened my mind to all manner of opportunities. What sort of music do you listen to? Favourite piece or song? I have eclectic tastes in music which range from opera (bel canto) through to contemporary folk sounds including Bear’s Den and Mumford and Sons. I’ve been fortunate enough to teach members of both bands! Favourite play or musical? I know this might not be terribly highbrow, but with my background in French and History I would have to say Les Miserables. What’s your personal motto? There are no such things as challenges, only opportunities. If you could only bring three things to a desert island, what would they be? My phone (but only for the music!), a pen and some paper - I’m counting these as one; a Swiss Army knife. If you were invisible for a day, what would you do? I would sneak into the Oval Office to see what’s actually going on in the White House. Paul Vanni, Head of Kensington Park School, talks the Oval Office, grasping all life’s opportunities and teaching famous band members Your top three phone Apps? BBC, as I’m a news junkie, Wordbrain for a bit of mental gymnastics and Star Chart because my son got a new telescope for Christmas! Favourite food? Monkfish wrapped in pancetta, preferably served with a nice white Cotes du Rhone. Your greatest movie of all time? There are so many fantastic ones! Schindler’s List, Dances With Wolves, Interstellar, Forrest Gump... these would all be close to the top of my list. Something you always have on your work desk? A lovely photograph of my children. Why, in your opinion, is your school the best? Kensington Park School offers flexibility and a personalised approach to education through small classes, as well as an exciting and innovative co-curricular provision. Our domestic and international partnerships, our tech-rich approach to education and the proven track record of our teachers (many of whom have taught in leading independent schools) ensures our students are equipped to make the most of opportunities the future offers. What three things do you need to be a successful headmaster? 1. A committed team of people around you whom you get on with and trust 2. Resilience 3. A good sense of humour. Best advice you would give one of your new school joiners? Embrace all the opportunities on offer and enjoy yourself. Work hard but remember that a good education is about so much more than just what goes on in the classroom. If you have any difficulties or concerns, make sure you tell your tutor.

INSIDE SCOOP PHOTOGRAPHY: © SHUTTERSTOCK, PIXABAY, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS Who or what inspired you to teach? At University I joined a scheme to give exam tuition to children who were struggling at their schools in Cowley: this was a formative experience for me. What sort of music do you listen to? French ballades - Édith Piaf, Charles Trenet, Serge Gainsbourg and Barbara. Favourite play or musical? I should say one of Christopher Marlowe’s plays as I am the Head of King’s, but Ben Jonson’s Alchemist is my favourite play. What is your personal motto in life? Know yourself so that you can give to others. If you could only bring three things to a desert island, what would they be? The Essays of Michel de Montaigne, a recording of The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and a photo of my wife and three daughters. If you were invisible for the day what would you do? Go back stage during a production at the Royal Opera House. Greatest all time movie? Robert Hamer’s Kind Hearts and Coronets Peter Roberts, Head of The King’s School, Canterbury, talks tasty tarte tatin, calligraphy, back stage dreams and the ethos of the UK’s oldest school starring Dennis Price and Alec Guinness. One thing you always make sure you have on your desk? As a keen calligrapher I always make sure my favourite pen is within arm’s reach. Your favourite school moment this year? It has to be the achievements of two pupils (one former, and one present). Former pupil Millie Knight (OKS) taking to the slopes of Pyeongchang at the Winter Paralympic Games and returning with three medals. Watching Francis Bushell (6A) perform in the Woodwind Final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year. Both are wonderful examples of the diverse talents of King’s pupils. Favourite food? I make a rather tasty tarte tatin Why, in your opinion, is your school best? The King’s School, Canterbury has the best formal and informal sense of community and pursuit of excellence in a renaissance way of any of the schools I have had the pleasure of serving. What three things do you need to be a successful headmaster? 1. Try to be omnipresent 2. Accept that you are not omniscient 3. Be sure to listen In one sentence, what is The King’s School ethos? Our aim is to anchor a 21st century education within the illustrious history of the oldest school in the country, dating from 597AD. 2019 ★ 97


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