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Summer Edition 2017

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INTERVIEW What or who

INTERVIEW What or who inspired you to teach? Throughout my life I have always got a buzz from helping, supporting and teaching others. It is so rewarding. What was your favourite subject at school? I was best at maths (and became a maths teacher) but my favourite was always history and still is. All-time favourite book? Birdsong, whose author, Sebastian Faulks, is coincidentally an Old Wellingtonian. What is your best-loved piece of music? Jean Sibelius’s Finlandia or There She Goes by The La’s. Favourite Shakespeare play and why? I am always inspired by the monologues in Henry V but I also find Much Ado About Nothing highly amusing. What is your personal motto for life? Anything is possible. Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer? Hunter, definitely! If you could only bring three things with you to a desert island, what would they be? If not my children, then a signalling mirror, a foil HEAD space We chat to Wellington College’s Julian Thomas about what both motivates and inspires him at school and beyond blanket and a water purifier. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Physically, it has to be running the Marathon des Sables. Who would you most like to be for the day? Whoever is currently at Camp 4 on the South Col of Everest, just one day’s climb from the peak. What would your last meal be? Fish and chips with all the trimmings from the Wellington College canteen. What would be your act on Britain’s Got Talent? I was once challenged by some prep school children to learn to hula hoop and juggle when I told them anything is possible. I spent a few weeks practising and returned to show them. What is your biggest achievement? Professionally, running the world’s finest school; personally, trekking to the South Pole. Why, in your opinion, is your school the best? It is, quite simply, the most dynamic and exciting educational environment I have ever encountered. Who is your most infamous alumni? Christopher Lee’s Dracula scared me as a child just as his Saruman scares current generations, but James Hunt has the strongest reputation as an enfant terrible. But a terrific Wellingtonian by all accounts. What three things do you need to be a successful headmaster? Only two things: passion and compassion. What advice do you have for school leavers? Whatever you do, you’ll be doing it for most of your life, so make sure it is a passion and then you will never feel that you have to ‘work’ a day in your life. 50 ★ SUMMER 17

“A school with mind, heart and constant fizz . . . hard to imagine it done better.” The Good Schools Guide, 2016 Inspired | Intellectual | Independent | Individual | Inclusive Discover more about the Wellington Identity at


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