Staff Leavers


Dr Simon Hyde (by Peter Hamilton)

Dr. Simon Hyde leaves Habs for the very best of reasons and under the very best of circumstances: it is to take up his new post as Headmaster of The King's School, Macclesfield after 8 years of outstanding service at Elstree.

He joined us in September 2003 as our new Deputy Head (Development). His remit was wide, deliberately so, and I name but a few areas he influenced most positively: ICT, systems of appraisal and tracking, staff development, line management of Heads of Department. Simon started at Loughborough Grammar School. Before coming to Elstree he had latterly been Head of History and Senior Staff Tutor at Oakham. His academic pedigree spoke for itself. Having studied as a boy at the King's School in Macclesfield, in 1983 he went up to Christ Church, Oxford, to read Modern History. He spent a year at the University of Bonn, then graduated from the House with an M.A. in Modern History, and was later awarded his D.Phil. and a PGSE from Cambridge.

It was clear from his very first days that he would have a tremendous impact on the development of Habs. A great strength is his intellectual rigour; he is highly articulate, not afraid to voice his opinion and single- minded in the pursuit of excellence, qualities that imbued his management and leadership skills. If he is anything though, Simon is a man of vision and immense organisational talent. His mind of the highest calibre and he is one of the brightest and most purposeful educators of his generation. An exceptional teacher of History and Politics, he has also been heavily involved in examining at 'A' level and IB. More than that, he is an outstanding schoolmaster: his forte is debating, something he undertook joyfully, with his coaching and judging esteemed at world level. He would equally be found active on many school trips, concerned about pastoral development of pupils and staff, keen to ensure parental satisfaction.

We shall all remember him in different ways: the boys will remember the lessons from a first-rate Historian; Common Room will have memories of demanding but inherently fair colleague who had the best interests of the school, and therefore their best interests, at heart.

I shall remember his time with me with both admiration and affection. He had a lightening sharp sense of humour; he was dogged and tenacious, but would always let me win the argument (I think!). Above all he was genuine and loyal to a fault.

Simon will always remain a great friend of the school, and not least a personal friend to many of us. And he will always be a most welcome visitor to Elstree.


Su Wijeratna (by John Macguire)

Su Wijeratna joined a very experienced Geography Department having been a Head of Geography and then taking some time to travel, particularly in South America. Her excellent subject knowledge, combined with an outstanding ability within the classroom made her instantly fit into the department. She was caring and contentious to every pupil she taught, and ensured that they all achieved beyond their perceived capabilities, but more importantly grew in confidence. Her sense of humour and jovial attitude made her a valued member to both the staff and the boys alike. Su carved her own position in the department, this culminated in being allowed to drive the minibus on Geography fieldtrips, a position never normally given to new colleagues!

She will be sorely missed, but gaining a promotion and moving back into the heart of London is something she has longed for a while.


Peter Stiff (by Mike Morrish)

For someone who originally applied to HABS in 1983 with the modest aspiration of getting some interview practice, Peter Stiff could hardly have anticipated the major role the school would play in his life over the next three decades. Peter went on to become a mainstay of the Geography department, a housemaster for ten years, the first head of PSHE and an inspirational hockey coach. During his time at Haberdashers, Peter has also achieved widespread professional recognition as a Principal Examiner for OCR, a lecturer at educational conferences and the author of several highly regarded A level textbooks. His two sons, Phil and Tim, were educated at the school in the 1990s, and Phil returned in 2006 to join him on the staff as a PE and Geography teacher.

Peter grew up in Oxford, where he attended Magdalen College School and claims to have been an undistinguished schoolboy. He subsequently spent seven years at Liverpool University gaining his degree, PhD and PGCE. It was here that he met his wife Alison. Peter turned his back on a higher education career to become a schoolmaster because he wanted the direct personal contact and active engagement of classroom teaching. In 1979 Peter was appointed to the Geography department at Stowe School, where he was also an Assistant Housemaster. Alison was busy looking after their two young children, but they both found time to set up and run annual residential holidays at Stowe for twenty physically handicapped teenagers.

When Peter put in his application for the Haberdashers post four years later, he was actually thinking of moving to West Yorkshire for his next teaching job. John Rolfe, the Head of Geography, was far too sharp an operator to let a candidate of Peter's calibre slip through the net.

Peter's strength is as an exceptional classroom practitioner. His empathy with the students is remarkable and he has the ability to sweep them up in his own enthusiasm. His knowledge is wide ranging and unimpeachably sound, in all branches of the discipline, and he possesses that rare gift of explaining difficult concepts in easily understandable language and ideas. Peter has a warmth and charisma that young people respond to in a positive and cooperative fashion. His classes are very loyal to him and appreciative of what he does for them.

He has made good use of his examining experience to provide students with effective techniques for revision, tackling questions and organising their answers. What few people are aware of is the ground breaking nature of his work with OCR, pioneering levels mark schemes and the introduction of online marking. Peter has used his examinations experience to write five A level books for Philip Allan publishers, as well as running workshops and lecturing nationally.

Importantly, Peter understands that learning needs to be fun. An example of this is the impromptu football match that took place each year half way through the long A level residential field course in Dorset. Featuring 'Hayler's Hackers' versus 'Stiffy's Stunners', this traditional fixture on the distinctly non- level playing field of Chesil Beach, was notable for its fierce competition and total lack of rules. As the teams of over two dozen players on each side pursued the ball across a pitch of treacherous pebbles, the result was accurately summarised by the legendary Mike Yeabsley in a single word: carnage.

He has been coach and team manager for the 2nd XI Hockey Team throughout his school career, making no concessions to the advancing years and maintaining an almost bionic level of fitness. A county player himself as a schoolboy, Peter literally focused on hockey because it allowed him to wear his glasses. Apparently his rugby exploits at school, minus his specs, consisted of launching himself violently at the nearest figure wearing a differently coloured shirt, irrespective of the location of the ball. When it comes to soccer, Peter follows the Blues, Birmingham City: on enquiring why he was a fan, he replied: 'I often ask myself that at 5 0'clock on a Saturday afternoon'.

Though geography has been the strongest thread that runs through Peter's time at Habs, he has made major contributions to the pastoral and extra-curricular life of the school. He was a tremendously popular Housemaster of Hendersons, leading the house to significant success in cup competitions and initiating a number of well supported charity ventures, including 24 hour 'cyclathon' and 'musicthon' events.

Peter is a firm believer in moving on to new challenges and, having relinquished his Hendersons post in 1998, he became PSHE Co-ordinator for the next eleven years. This was always going to be a difficult job, one that he describes as 'having responsibility without authority', and dealing with every form tutor in the school certainly required a diplomatic, patient approach in building relationships and changing the culture of pastoral care at Habs. The son of a cleric himself, Peter has been a stalwart of the Chapel Council and has given his time generously to the spiritual work of the school.

Now Peter and Alison are making the move to Sherborne School, close to their beloved West Country. It is typical that Peter has shown the determination to embark on a new phase in the later years of his career, rather than sliding sedately into retirement. Peter's tenacity has been rewarded with a management role at Sherborne, as Dean of Staff. Alison has just retired from her post as a Maths teacher at St. Helens, Northwood, and will join Peter in a range of activities within the boarding environment of Sherborne. We wish both of them every happiness in their new life and thank Peter for everything he has given to the Haberdashers community over the past 28 years. He leaves behind countless present and former pupils and colleagues who hold fond memories of the teacher simply known as 'Doc'.


John Fenn (by Richard Thompson)

Monsieur Fenn has been much loved both by boys and staff since he joined Habs 14 years ago. We were immediately convinced of John's outstanding linguistic abilities. Many will know that he is fluent in French, but fewer of you will be aware that having been brought up in South America he is also a fluent Spanish speaker. John has been a most supportive colleague, always ready to put himself out and come to the rescue. Whenever the plaintive cry went up from someone (not always one of the 'cyber chicks') frustrated by their computer, Monsieur Fenn, notre heros, was there to show us how to sort out the problem. Boys will have fond memories of exchange visits led by John. He pioneered the Obernai exchange to Alsace, and was a stalwart on the Alma exchange to Paris. It was always most reassuring to see Big John up ahead, striding purposefully along the Champs- Elysees or descending bravely into the bowels of the metro. A compassionate and extremely caring man, he was always keen to reassure and care for boys who found themselves challenged and sometimes daunted by a foreign culture.

John Fenn was in the vanguard of the Deputy Housemasters appointed to Meadows House. Unsurprisingly he proved to be a brilliant tutor and a very competitive and able Deputy. John had an ability to empathise with his charges and understood how they thought; the day-to-day and longer term issues were dealt with in a sympathetic but professional manner and his Parents' Evening addresses were as well-crafted as his tutor reports. It was no surprise that he was quickly appointed Calverts Housemaster, where he was equally adept in fostering house spirit and introducing a number of innovations.

An all-rounder, John has always been eager to contribute to the extra-curricular life of the school. A fine exponent of what the French call le fair play, he has devoted hours to the umpiring and coaching of hockey and cricket teams. A true gentleman, he encouraged his teams to give of their best, and instilled in them a life-long love of the games.

John will be missed for his wise council, pastoral wisdom and shrewd judgement. We wish notre ami every happiness and success as he takes up a new challenge at Brentside High School.


Rebecca Muhley (by Claire Cousens)

During her year at Habs, Bex brightened up the Music Department with her bubbly character and endless enthusiasm and energy. As this was the year of the Barbican concert we would not have coped if she had not been as efficient, organised and more importantly calm as she was. She has set a new bench mark for her role in the department and the next music assistant is going to have to work very hard.

She threw herself into everything she was asked to do and was always on hand to help out with whatever needed doing. As well as helping in the organisation of concerts, Bex had an SCS group on a Friday, she sang a solo with the Big Band at the Summer Concert, organised an A-level trip to see the LSO and she also helped out in History and Geography.

Bex left Habs in order to embark on the Teach first programme. This is an educational charity which sends people with very good degrees from the top universities into very challenging schools. In September she started her two year placement at Lea Valley High School in Enfield. We wish her the very best in this. I am sure they will all feel extremely lucky to have her in their school.


Tak-Sang Li (by Ian Wheeler)

Tak-Sang Li was appointed as second in English in 2007 and has spent four years at HABS under two different heads of department.

During my first few months at the school I would have been complete lost without him. I lack the fingers and toes to count the number of times I would stick my head around his door to ask what certain obscure HABS-specific acronyms meant or who I needed to speak to in pursuit of books or classrooms.

A teacher dedicated to his students and committed to ensuring that everyone achieved their very best, Tak would work into the small hours of the night preparing his lessons and marking work in scrupulous detail. He was always thoroughly prepared for work in a very busy department and at least one step ahead in his plans for the future, if not three. Despite this, he always had time for questions from colleagues and would often drop everything and go out of his way to assist someone with a problem.

Tak masterminded both Skylight and Scribe during his time at the school and under his stewardship the latter went from strength to strength, with a much needed injection of cash seeing it transformed into a professional looking publication,

with presentation to match the already superb content. He also threw himself into developing the work of the English department and worked tirelessly behind the scenes to arrange our first writer in residence, when Graham Joyce spent a successful year working with year 9 students on their creative writing.

Tak was the politest man ever to ask anyone to cover lessons for absent colleagues or prompt me to complete jobs that I often hadn't even realised I should be thinking about in the first place. His faultless organisation and cheery determination will be much missed by his colleagues in the department and across the school, not to mention his students.


Sheila Butcher (by Rob Whiteman)

In our recent Classics tour to Greece, Sheila Butcher and the tour party had just trudged down from the peak of the Philopappus hill, where a proud but garish monument stands opposite the magnificent Acropolis with its temples commissioned by Pericles. On the lower slopes we virtually stumbled upon a collection of rugged caves which once included the prison where Socrates was forced to drain the fatal hemlock cup.

Full of vigour and curiosity, Sheila was every bit as fascinated as the boys to discover impromptu, a place where the course of history was shaped by the sad death of one of our great Classical heroes. Naturally her enthusiasm spread very quickly to others. This moment was very typical of Sheila - a delightful combination of erudition and simplicity.

When told that a friend had returned from the Delphic oracle with the message 'No man is wiser than Socrates', Socrates modestly explained that he was wise only in his open acceptance that there is always more to discover. With Socratic wisdom, Sheila never stops learning: many a time she has burst into the Classics Office thrilled to report an exciting observation made by one of her most brilliant students or, equally enthused, a major breakthrough for one of the less gifted boys. She is always quick to share the strategy or even a chance discovery which made the difference.

For Sheila teaching is not a vanity project, not about self-promotion, but about using all her skill and energy to help allow the boys the get the best out of themselves. That is why since 2006 a succession of classes including even the more cynical adolescents have gradually warmed to her gentle but deceptively insistent approach. They are soon worn down by her relentless kindness! With that same relentless kindness Sheila has taken easily to a range of other roles - assisting with the Learning Support department, arranging extra help for boys in the Classics department, teaching Greek, adjudicating the Latin Scrabble with its fast- growing cult status.

In every way she belies her status as a part-timer and I have never known her once to refuse a request for help from anyone in need - colleague or pupil. She is first and foremost a wonderful human being who happens, by sheer good fortune, to devote her time to the noble profession. It is not just what she teaches about Classics that is important, it is the way she teaches it with such grace and dignity - good citizenship taught not by curriculum, but by example.

So back to Socrates: in Plato's dramatic dialogue 'Protagoras', Socrates comes round eventually to the contentious conclusion that good citizenship like any other skill or academic discipline can be taught. What is left implicit but obvious, is the sense that virtue can only be passed on from generation to generation by the right teachers - after all, we are reminded, the great Pericles' sons ended up worthless despite his own brilliance and their social advantages. Sheila is living proof, then, that the great Socrates was right and she has also managed to achieve what Pericles, father of democracy, could not. Not only has she raised in her own family four outstandingly talented citizens - a hospital doctor, a music publisher, a foster mother of remarkable courage and an international musician, she has also done a grand job with Haberdashers' pupils of all ages - nurturing excellence indeed.

So we say a Classical 'hail and farewell' but also a 'bon voyage' as Sheila embarks on a new adventure at St Helen's and St Katherine's School in Abingdon. As a teacher and tutor, she will be sorely missed by the boys; as a superb professional but also as a loyal friend she will be personally missed by the other 'boys' left behind in the Classics office.


Peter Jolley (by Ian Wheeler)

For my first appointment as Head of department, it was only reasonable and logical that I employ a fellow Northerner. For too long, the English department had lacked some much needed common sense, particularly regarding the correct way to pronounce vowels. Alas, Peter Jolley was from Lancashire - home to the ancient enemy of every true Yorkshireman - but at least they lost the War of the Roses, so it's okay to patronise them and apparently it was all a long time ago and time we moved on anyway.

This was Peter's first teaching post and it was a pleasure to see him throw himself into all areas of school life with great gusto and enthusiasm. He joined us from King's College London where he had recently completed sterling work on his MA on the subject of 'Dickens and the Railway'. This thesis combined two of Peter's key interests in life - he had a palpable love of Charles Dickens and a no less tangible enthusiasm for trains.

I shall particularly miss the shade of purple that his face would turn whenever I referred to him as a 'train spotter' and the lecture that would ensue on the manifold differences between a 'spotter' and an 'enthusiast', a distinction designed to obfuscate different degrees of the same obsessive disorder.

Unusually for an English teacher, Peter was extremely fond of his gadgetry and technology, often making notes in meetings on his iPad and sending them to his phone to consult later. He brought this up-to-date approach to his teaching, but was equally adept at impressing his students with his genuine passion for literature in all its forms, especially his beloved Dickens.

A popular teacher and valued colleague, Peter will be much missed by the English department. He leaves us to pursue a new career in technology with Samsung, where I am sure he will be as great an asset as he was to HABS. His warmth and good humour will be missed almost as much as his level headed approach to teaching and his peculiar fascination for watches and fountain pens.


Amy McKenzie (by Dr Stiff)

Those of us who are keen gardeners know that some plants, although possessed of a relatively short growing season, nevertheless make such an impact that a plot is all the better for their presence. Amy McKenzie's two-year stay has been a kaleidoscope of impacts, both parochially within the Geography department and also extending across the wider extent of the school.

Amy's academic engagement with Geography was first fostered through schooling in Qatar, where her engineer father worked, and then in Sussex. At Cambridge, she became fascinated by the wide range of hazards which humankind tries to understand, to predict and to manage. In particular, and perhaps as a counter-point to her time in the heat of the Middle East, Amy saw both intellectual and emotional challenges in trying to fathom the way of life of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic region. These peoples are experiencing great turmoil in their lives as they face profound environmental change with all its implications for their economy and society. It is in this personal and sympathetic response to the needs of others that we begin to understand Amy. For it was soon after her arrival at Elstree straight from her PGCE year, that Amy took on the role of school charity co-ordinator. She speaks in admiration of the impressive multiplicity of initiatives boys come up with to raise both awareness of, and funds for, charities of all sorts.

It is that same sense of concern which has characterised Amy's time as a Joblings Form tutor in the Middle School, where her firm care will be much missed. In equal measure to sympathy is Amy's belief that challenge is important for personal growth and development. Her encouragement of boys to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme exemplifies a practical approach to this belief. Within Geography, Amy has established the GAIA society, an opportunity for Sixth Formers to be introduced to ideas, theories and concepts beyond the realm of the A level specifications. Amy has not neglected personal challenges, as she has learned to sail while a member of the Navy section of the CCF.

And so Amy migrates north to Repton, where she will continue to encounter fresh challenges running their Geography department. With her desire that, through her teaching and co- curricular activities, young people live lives as full as possible by making the most of their talents, Amy has much to contribute within a school. We wish her well in all her endeavours.


Reverend Jane Markby (by Roger Delpech)

The Reverend Jane Markby arrived at Habs five years ago. She was appointed as school chaplain, and also as a part- time teacher in the Biology Department. Her vivacious and cheerful manner and empathetic warmth for others, was matched by a fierce intellect, and a robust sense of adventure.

Amongst her numerous roles as School Chaplain, she was responsible for organising all the major spiritual events of the school calendar. Many staff and pupils will recall her fondness for the theatrical in her Christmas Carol Concerts in St Albans Abbey; her sermons were always engaging, and never predictable! There was often a certain disarming honesty in the way in which she dealt with the moral issues of the moment.

Jane was often sought out by staff and pupils seeking solace and advice, and she took great interest in the welfare of the whole school community. She often was in the vanguard of visitors to staff and pupils who had been hospitalised.

In her teaching of Biology, she brought a razor- sharp intellect and clear sense of purpose into the classroom, which was appreciated by those she taught, as well her teaching colleagues. She was well aware of the ridiculous stance taken by creation "scientists", and was a confirmed neo-Darwinist. She was often amused that some pupils thought that, as member of the clergy, she should subscribe to the nonsense touted by biblical fundamentalists about evolution. Jane was an enthusiastic anatomist, and her demonstration mammal dissections for the Junior Science Society were one of the highlights of the Society calendar. Jane was responsible for proposing, organising and running the first official field-trip for sixth form biologists at Nettlecombe Court in Somerset. This course provides a fantastic opportunity for sixth form biologists to carry out their A2 investigations, saving them a huge amount of time in the classroom later. This course is now a compulsory annual feature for all pupils studying biology in the sixth form.

Jane loves the outdoor life, and is a keen camper, cyclist, sailor and mountaineer. She generously employed these skills in helping to run Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions, and also many Mountaineering Club trips; in fact most of the summit-photographs from expeditions seem to feature a line of Neanderthal males with one diminutive female human nestled amongst them!

Jane has now moved to Berkamstead School as full-time Chaplain, as well as a teaching theology. The biologists shall greatly miss her kindness, intelligence and generous sense of fun, and the Mountaineering Club will miss a staunch supporter.


Melvyn Bardou (by R J Thompson)

It is hard to imagine a more personable, friendly, even tempered and good natured colleague than Melvyn Bardou. During his 5 years with us, these personal qualities helped ensure his popularity with colleagues and pupils alike, and it is this above all - his unflappability, his consistency, his ability to get on with people - that makes me confident that Melvyn will be a success as a Head of Department at Mill Hill.

He has also supported and mentored substantial numbers of staff and most importantly he has devoted himself to Newly Qualified and Beginning Teachers. These are the life-blood of our profession and Habs is rightly proud of its part in fostering new talent and launching careers.

Melvyn will, of course, be missed by his colleagues and friends on the staff, but he is also one of those rare teachers who will be consciously missed by his pupils. Year after year he established excellent constructive relationships with the boys based on mutual respect and enjoyment of the educative process. Melvyn is an outstanding Hispanist as well as a native French speaker. Although this is tremendously valuable to our department, it isn't this that makes him such an effective teacher. Rather, it is his passion, his enthusiasm and his rapport with his pupils. Habs boys have an instinctive sense of which teachers are worthy of elevation to the highest status that they define with a single-word epithet: legend. Melvyn is very firmly one of these chosen few, and we hope that the boys and girls at Mill Hill realise how lucky they are to have him.

Despite a demanding job as Head of Spanish, Melvyn always made an effort to contribute to school life outside the department. This is why so many colleagues from across the Common Room will be sad to see him go. His involvement in the coaching of cricket and rugby has been consistent and committed, and I know that this has been appreciated by boys and staff alike. Similarly, his commitment to the programme of school trips has been significant.

Melvyn has contributed a great deal to the school during his time at Habs, and he has deserved this opportunity to lead his own faculty. We hope that he will look back on his years here fondly, but his departure is a beginning rather than an end: it is appropriate, therefore, to thank him warmly, and to wish him all the very best for an enjoyable, successful and rewarding onward journey.


Duncan Byrne (by Simon Hyde)

Duncan Byrne joined Habs in 2006 to become the school's first Director of Teaching. Strictly entre nous, there were some in those far-off days who wondered why teaching needed directing at Habs. But, as Duncan soon convinced us, those at the front of a race need to take particular care of what is happening in the rest of the field.

Duncan's success in his role stemmed not just from his excellence as a teacher of French and German, but also from his passion for effective pedagogy. Luckily it was not just the boys who benefited from his expertise. Duncan instituted staff 'Learning Lunches' designed to allow colleagues to explore new teaching techniques and share ideas over a sandwich. On one Development Day he encouraged a number of brave volunteers to teach model lessons to their colleagues and, always keen to lead by example, hosted Beginners' Japanese himself. Any good teacher knows the significance of assessment in the learning process. Boys need to know how well they are doing in order to do better and schools are no different. Whilst Disraeli is often credited with promoting a healthy scepticism about statistics, information when used wisely (to ask questions) can substantially enhance the job we do. Duncan's work with MidYis and ALIS, with internal and external exam analysis was impressive not simply for his dextrous use of the spreadsheet, but for its role in helping us reflect.

Duncan has a remarkable ability to keep balls in the air. He is also a man of many talents. He was quick to volunteer himself for the Staff v Student university challenge team (staff win, by the way!), but how many of us would have the confidence to test ourselves under John Humphries's stern questioning by appearing on Mastermind? And, lest you should be thinking that all of our hero's talents are cerebral, let me remind you of Duncan's dedicated service to U13 cricket, his natural authority as football referee, his participation as a Womble in the London Marathon and his penchant for long charity bike rides in the French Alps. If that were not enough, he is also an accomplished musician and singer, forming his own close- harmony group at school. From the sublime performance of Schumann's Dichterliebe to the less precise harmony of the staff Christmas Dinner ensemble, Duncan has entertained and shared in equal measure.

How has this modern-day Prometheus crammed so much into his four years at Habs and why are we letting him escape? The first is easy: acute insomnia! How else can one combine Chairmanship of ISMLA (the Independent School's Modern languages Association), serving as a Governor of his sons' primary school and advising the government on the absurdity of their proposals to vet host families during language exchanges with leading sixth form assemblies and providing outstanding support both as a tutor and a ready helper to Heads of Department?

The second question is trickier. Many will regret the loss of such an exceptional teacher; others will bemoan the departure of a talented colleague and, for some, the absence of a good friend. But we should remember that schools are built on departures. As Phillip Parr tells the Upper Sixth each year, whilst we will miss them, it is right for them to go and, like the departing upper sixth, Duncan is ready for his next challenge. He has packed a career's worth of activity into his four years at Habs and we are profoundly grateful. It is now up to us to continue to build on what he has achieved and for the baton to be passed to his successors.

Duncan leaves with our very best wishes to become Academic Deputy Head at Cheltenham College.


Simona Dexter, Hannah Philip and Nicholas Reynard

We say goodbye to three colleagues in the Languages Department. Simona Dexter returns to Italy having helped boys attain excellent standards in Italian over the last six years, inspiring many to go on to study the language at University. Hannah Philip has been a student teacher in the Department since February and she has thoroughly involved herself in the life of the school; she is sure to make an excellent teacher as she goes to the States to join her husband. Nicholas Reynard also leaves for Paris where he will continue his academic studies; Nicholas has worked extremely hard in the Department, redefining the role of Foreign Languages Assistant.


Kevin Long (by Al Metcalfe)

Kevin Long was appointed Head of Hockey and a member of the PE Department in September 1998. With his youthful good looks, wide ranging technical knowledge and organisational expertise, Kevin soon created a sound impression. As new teaching colleagues together at Haberdashers’, I was soon to discover that socialising with Kevin had its advantages. On the social scene he was regularly mistaken for Michael Owen – a useful tag to have ten years ago when Owen was scoring hat-tricks against Germany in Berlin. Acting as his ‘agent’ in those halcyon days was not a chore.

Kevin transformed the Hockey Club from a mob of long ball specialists supported by questionable umpiring into intricate, skilful sides supported by questionable umpiring. His final season as Head of Hockey yielded a 75% win ratio across the school – the most successful on record. In recent years, Kevin had acted as Head of Department and Director of Sport, most noticeably for a term before Mr McIntosh arrived. His professionalism during this time allowed RJM to slide behind the wheel of a well-oiled machine. (We were just drinking to get by.)

Kevin’s administrative and IT skills are of the highest quality, and I pity anyone at Ryde School who hasn’t obtained their ECDL passport. In fact, in his absence, I stumble through my computer programs like a drunken sailor. He will be missed by others too. Most importantly, the boys will miss him, for Kevin had the ability to relate to the boys whilst maintaining the highest professional standards. They respected him for that. He will be missed in the school holidays when he gave countless hours to the running of tours and trips, most notably the Junior Ski Trip. He will be missed by his colleagues in the Common Room, who all knew that Kevin was a man of integrity. Kevin’s legacy will be seen for years to come in the Kukri sport kit that he designed, ordered and distributed – a thankless task. May I wish him, Sarah, and his two boy’s good fortune in their new life on the South Coast.


Kay Francis (by C Grimes)

Everybody at HABS knows Kay. To many a Main School boy, she is the teacher they associate with their first year in the Prep School, and, when walking around the campus with her, you will be frequently accosted by the gruff tones of an enormous Sixth Former: “Hello Miss!” Kay always remembers their names and some interesting snippet about them. (“He once fell asleep in a lesson,” or, “He wore his swimming trunks over his trousers”.) They always remember her. To the non-teaching staff she is “That one who looks like Lady Di”. Again, every knows her even if they do not know her name, as she is always the one who calmly organises so many things and takes charge when disasters strike. Where to put the microphone for Commendation Day? Ask Mrs Francis. Where do I get more Blu-Tack? Ask Mrs Francis. Kay (wisely) maintains good relationships with all members of the school community.

To Prep boys Kay is many things. Of course, she is a caring and efficient form teacher, yet she is also the driving force behind many initiatives, such as the sponsored read, “Mr. Men” books, interviewing new 7+ candidates, and the organising the practicalities of the Summer Concert and the Christmas “Words and Music” (including liaising with the Music School – not a job for the faint-hearted). The boys are immensely fond of Kay, but she is the kind of teacher who has the miraculous effect of making Prep boys tuck in their shirts and slow down to a walk when she comes round the corner, without telling them to do so. The fact that Kay is still in touch with many of her ex-pupils says much about the esteem in which they hold her. Parents, too, view Kay with great respect. Her wealth of experience makes her a knowledgeable and skilled teacher, and many an anxious mum will have soon been reassured by Kay’s kind, firm manner with the new Year 3 boys.

To the Prep staff Kay is a rock. She is always in the middle of everything, usually organising it and taking it seriously. Sometimes she may throw her hands up in despair, but she is always there, right to the end. Whether it is social events (“Do you think this dress is alright?), Common Room parties (“I’ll just show my face for five minutes.”), Prep functions (“I thought I’d better get here a bit early just in case.”), and even braving the Staff dining room and Headmaster’s notices (“It’s nice to keep in touch with what’s happening in the Main School.”), you can rely on Kay to appear sooner or later.

Kay provided me with a list of highlighters of her career at HABS, but it was so daunting that I shall restrict myself to the salient points. Suffice it to say that her contribution to the wider life of the school is unsurpassed. Twenty-five year’s unstinting service under five head teachers, Geography Co-ordinator, Year Group Co-ordinator, Acting Deputy Headship, service on the Common Room Committee, many residential trips, singing in the choir, playing the saxophone in the Wind Band – all these are facets of her career which Kay remembers with affection.

And it is with great affection that we shall remember her. Kay is heading off to a new life in Dorset with husband Alan and Daisy the dog, but she intends to keep busy with jewellery-making and perhaps even a little supply teaching. I can do no better than to quote one of my colleagues, who, when she heard that Kay was leaving, expressed her sadness with the words “She’s a real lady… everything a teacher should be”. As a friend, as a teacher, as a colleague, Kay Francis truly is “everything a teacher should be”, and so, so much more. She leaves with our very best wishes for the future, and our hope that her e-mailed accounts of an idyllic life in Dorset will not turn us too green with envy!



Michael Yeabsley (by Mike Morrish)

The Yeabsley’s are one of Haberdashers' most celebrated dynasties and it is hard to conceive of a time when they are not represented on the school staff. Certainly Mike's father Doug has found it impossible to retire and continues to do sterling work long after his chemistry teaching career came to an end.

However, now we have to come to terms with the fact that, after eleven years of distinguished service, Mike Yeabsley is leaving to become Head of Geography and Master i/c Cricket at Aldenham School. During his time with us Mike has carried on the Yeabsley tradition in fine style, sharing many of his father's admirable qualities. He is truly a chip off the old block: a much loved teacher, an outstanding sportsman, a talented organiser and a great character.

Mike was a pupil at Habs between 1984 and 1991, going straight on to gain a very good degree in Geography at Durham University in 1994. He then moved to Cambridge University to study for his PGCE, training under the inspirational guidance of Rex Walford, a key figure in geographical education over the past forty years. His first job took him to another great seat of learning, Oxford, where he taught at St. Edward's alongside the well known author Garrett Nagle and contributed to an OUP textbook. However, when Habs advertised for a geographer in 1997 the lure of his "alma mater" proved too strong and Mike rejoined the school as a fully fledged member of staff.

Throughout his time at Habs Mike has taught geography classes at all levels with real distinction and his sets have consistently achieved strong results in public examinations. By nature and training a physical geographer, he has specialised in this branch of the discipline for much of his sixth form teaching, though in recent years he has also delivered the human elements of the A level course with typical efficiency. Mike has made a significant contribution to curriculum development in the department, co-ordinating the GCSE course as well as producing useful guidance booklets for practical work at A level. He is a strong advocate of the essential role fieldwork plays in geographical education and has participated energetically in every aspect of the department's annual programme. However, the area in which his influence has been most profound has been the application of ICT to regular geography teaching. Mike has devised countless IT based presentations and exercises which have been incorporated into the department's work. He has patiently assisted and encouraged colleagues to expand their own capabilities when using the computer and interactive whiteboard in lessons.

Mike's impact on the games field has been fully the measure of his contribution in the classroom. He has coached rugby, hockey and cricket, bringing to each sport a potent mix of expertise and commitment. Rugby was most important initially and Mike has guided teams at all levels, including the school third XV. In hockey he has taken responsibility for training the under 15 A team throughout his career here. The same is true of cricket, for which he has been coach of the U15 A team and the First Eleven.

Along with his father, Mike has led two sports tours to the Far East as well as the annual Devon cricket tour. He also thoroughly enjoyed organising a hockey tour to Barcelona in 2006. Another longstanding aspect of Mike's extra-curricular involvement has been his work with the army section of the CCF, in which he remains a commissioned officer. Although clashes with other responsibilities prevented him attending CCF camps, he has been a regular participant in field day expeditions. Mike has been a member of Hendersons as a boy and man, co-ordinating charity efforts and raising considerable sums for Tommy's, a charity focusing on research into natal medical conditions. A dedicated form tutor in Year 8 and, latterly, Years 10 and 11, Mike has inspired a fierce loyalty from pupils in his care and will be greatly missed by both them and his colleagues.


David Nolland and Rob Percival

The Mathematics department bids farewell to two of its “young guns” in David Nolland and Rob Percival. David ends his three years of scholarly teaching at the school to teach part-time at St Albans High School, enabling him to devote more time to his academic studies. After two years, Rob relinquishes his role as Assistant Head of Mathematics, in which capacity he has introduced many exciting innovations and curriculum developments, in order to work for the VSO in Namibia.


Adrian Jackson

Adrian Jackson is leaving the Physics department to become Director of Physics at Wallington County Grammar School. In just two years at HABS he has managed to raise the profile of astronomy considerably, initiate exciting new Physics trips and lend his support to the school’s successful Chess Club. We wish him a happy and rewarding career in Surrey


Jo Kingston

Jo Kingston has brought some varied and innovative teaching methods to the classroom in her time as an R.S. Teacher at HABS. She is leaving to pursue a career in the Civil Service after two years of fine work as a teacher, 7S tutor and a committed organiser for J-Soc. She has also broken new ground in her role as Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator. We are sorry to see her go but delighted that she has also announced her engagement to Mark Israel with the wedding planned for November.


Louise Clayton

With the departure of Dr Louise Clayton from the Biology department, the school is losing another major contributor. Louise has excelled as a classroom teacher, a life-saving instructor, an officer in the CCF Royal Navy section and not least as a caring, devoted Deputy Housemaster (and temporary Housemaster) for Strouts. The school is sad to say goodbye but wishes her well in her new post as Head of Biology at the John Lyons School.


Richard West

The music department will lose a fine teacher and a conspicuous personality in the form of Richard West. His rapport with pupils is legendary. After eight years at Haberdashers’, he will be transferring his talents to Christ College, Brecon where he will be Director of Music. His versatility as a performer, writer and conductor for the Concert Band and Wind Sinfonia, as well as his infectious humour and enthusiasm will be Brecon’s gain and Elstree’s loss.


Adrian Herzmark

Adrian Herzmark first joined the English department in 1996 and has taught throughout that period, except in 2004 during which he experienced major surgery and convalescence. He bravely returned to teaching in January 2005. Throughout his time at the school he has given up his time wholeheartedly to Sport and extra-curricular pursuits, most notably in Badminton, coaching teams to national successes and in Mencap Funday, which he organised for several years. He has also raised large sums of money for various charities by running in several long-distance races, including the London Marathon. We all wish him well as he takes a break from teaching.


Philip Morris

Philip Morris, who joined the Modern Languages department in 1986, left the school in May after 22 years of dedication to languages (French and German) and philosophy teaching. We thank him for his service to the school and wish him well for the future.


Stephanie Clifford

Stephanie leaves to take on the role of Head of Geography at St Martin’s School, Northwood.




Fred Chaveneau




Marcus Tillotson




Matthew Wright

2006 Diane Williams (by S Wilson)

Diane joined the Religious Studies Department - initially on a part-time basis - in 1992. Subsequently she became full-time (which enabled her to work as a Tutor) and then she took over the leadership of the department. Diane smiles with her eyes and teaches with her whole being. She is a fully integrated person for whom faith and practice are one. Professionally she teaches a subject which requires students to respect other people's beliefs; privately she offers everyone reverence and esteem.

Her lessons are interesting, well-resourced and organised. She creates an atmosphere in which all boys have both the platform to contribute and the opportunity to learn from one another, and her quietly achieved standards ensure that mutual respect is the order of the day. The younger boys learn so much from one another, and the older boys have a unique experience of discussing real life-and-death topics. Challenging, even painful issues are sensitively addressed in the climate of hope and security which characterises her classroom. The enormous popularity of R.S. in the school is a testimony to both the personal and the professional qualities of Diane and her team.

Diane has been a Strouts Tutor for nine years: latterly in Year 9 but for seven years in Year 7 where she welcomed and nurtured generations of the youngest boys in the Main School. She could smooth away the trepidation of the new boy and help him to develop a secure sense of his worth, and she stayed in touch with them as they progressed through Habs. So many former tutees and other boys who have met Diane in the classroom find themselves popping in to see her, and whether it's to share good news or to seek help in a crisis, they find a ready listener, warm and generous. Former pupils of the school - including some with considerable difficulties - contact her and visit her to continue their association with the most compassionate and perceptive supporter they have ever known. Her kindness to colleagues is legendary in the Common Room, and so many of us have reason to be grateful to her for her concern and beneficial influence in our times of trouble.

Well-intentioned teacher trainers used to commend "unconditional positive regard" as an ideal in relationships (between parents and children and - pastorally - between teachers and pupils). That phrase contains ten syllables. I prefer the monosyllable "love": that is what Diane has given us and what we feel for her. May she and her family prosper in their new home in Cardiff, we shall never forget her.


Tim Walker

Tim leaves the Maths department to take up a teaching post at Kings Bruton School in Dorset. A tremendously talented and popular mathematics teacher, he has coached the U12 rugby teams and has been the school’s Examinations Officer.


Kate Hammond

Kate leaves to become Head of History at Bottisham Village College, Cambridgeshire. Kate has made an enormous impact since she arrived here in 2003.


Vaughan Connolly

Vaughan leaves the IT department to take up the post of Deputy Head of Mander Portman Woodward. During his four years at Habs Vaughan has presided over an exciting period of technological change at the school.


Shane Davey, Ben Mahoney and Emma Jackman are all moving on from the PE Department.

As Director of Sport and Physical Education for the past two years, Shane has worked tirelessly in what is one of the most wide-ranging and demanding positions in the school. He returns to his previous school, the Salvatorian College in Harrow.

Ben Mahoney has been Director of Cricket Coaching since he arrived here in 2003. He has been in charge of swimming, as well as running rugby and hockey teams with great expertise. He goes onto a new post at Berkhamsted Collegiate School.

Emma Jackman is going onto complete a graduate training programme at Parmiter’s School in Watford.


Matthew Judd (by Paul Hayler)

Matthew Judd first visited HABS as a student teacher in November 1992. I was sent to meet him from the train at Radlett station, so his first journey to school was in my rapidly decaying Austin Allegro sitting on a passenger seat held in place by nine unwanted copies of "The Geography of Telford" rammed under the seat to stop it collapsing. One term as a student was enough to convince us all that we had a gem in our midst and John Rolfe appointed Matthew to a full time post in the Geography Department in September 1993. Matthew thought he would only stay for a year or two but we have been lucky enough to hold on to him for twelve years until the post of deputy head of MPW in central London tempted him away.

Within the geography department Matthew has been a pioneer. Driving forward the new dartcom satellite weather receiving system in the early days of such sophisticated tech­nology, filling our heads with new plans and filling the library with new books (something which became essential when he began the process by throwing away all the old ones). Matthew works on the principle that if anything is gathering dust it should be thrown away, and this goes for ideas as well as objects.

Soon after joining the school Matthew was making his mark far beyond the confines of Geography. His SCS group ran a highly successful "after school club" at a local primary school and this was followed by an enjoyable, and fairly wild by all accounts, stint in the SCS "costumes" department preparing the stage costumes for our drama productions. Indeed, Matthew was stage manager for five Main school plays. More recently his SCS afternoon has been spent in the school archives, which he describes as a treasure trove resource for the school.

Matthew's sport is fencing. He appointed a top class coach that allowed the school to compete successfully in the Public Schools' Fencing championships and he introduced Inter House Fencing to the list of House competitions. However it was the equally cut and thrust world of debating that probably gave him a greater sense of achievement. With Jill Gleeson, Matthew took us from runners up in the Observer Mace in 2000 to winners the following year, and when we also won both the Cambridge and Durham Unions' Schools' Debating Competitions, the ESU (English Speaking Union) described HABS as the most successful school debating team ever. A visit to Buckingham Palace was just reward and the honours board in Aldenham House will, fittingly, forever bear the names of Judd and Gleeson alongside the boys they so successfully coached.

Whilst enjoying the action of debating and fencing Matthew was equally attracted to the peace of the school chapel, and the visits to Hillside Friary He described his visits to the Franciscan Friary as the "warm weather training of his spiritual life" in comparison to the warm weather training our athletes do in Lanzarote The Christian com­munity at HABS has been blessed by Matthew's energy and faith, just as he has been by theirs.

With his participation and enjoy­ment across such a wide front it was no surprise when Matthew was given three posts of responsibility in short succession. As Head of General Studies, which he looks back on as "a huge responsibility for whoever is in charge", Matthew introduced a wide ranging new programme including the first ever General Studies Prospectus and a "Launch into Learning" 6th form studies day. He improved existing links with the Girls' school and, jointly with Jill Gleeson, ran a highly acclaimed public speaking general studies course.

Chosen to be the Inset Coord­inator for staff training Matthew introduced the twilight sessions to keep us up to date with the latest views on special needs and special gifts. We may have been tired at the end of the teaching day but the teas he laid on encouraged dozens of us along, and some of the talks were quite interesting too! It was Matthew who kept the inset notice board up to date with the latest courses such as the opportunely named "Stress management: an intensive one day course".

Being chosen as Housemaster of Strouts brought yet new challenges and new rewards. Matthew regarded it as the greatest honour in his school life to have been entrusted with the opportunity to bring out the best of those in his care. Happy to chat to anyone and to support those who needed it most he has inspired his Strouts team to make the most of their school lives, just as he has himself. We shall miss his sense of fun, happy laugh, twinkling eyes and pioneering spirit as well as his outstanding teaching that has led so many boys to top grades and to the enjoyment of study. Mander, Portman, Woodward have been fortunate to gain such a dynamic and progressive Vice Principal.


Katherine Hedges (by Richard Norton)

Katherine’s arrival at Haberdashers in 1982 was heralded by Jon CorraII, then Head of German, as "a very exciting appointment". Prophetic words indeed. She came with impeccable academic credentials (a starred 1st class degree from Cambridge. Grade A in every 'A' and '0' I level) to teach French and German, and brought outstanding expertise in French literature, tier specialist field had been 17th century French drama, and in particular the work of Jean Racine. The appeal was twofold. She admired on the one hand the perfect symmetry of his classical verse, on the other she loved the intensity of emotion that simmered through the plays building to explosive and catastrophic effect. Order and passion - two forces with which Katherine very much identified.

Her knowledge was not restricted, however, to classical texts. An early conversation comes to mind. Katherine was talking about the prose-poetry of the 20th century French writen Francis Ponge. Jack Hurst, Head of Languages, was also present but unfamiliar with his work, so Katherine enlightened him. The words and the moment are burnt into the memory. "Oh, it's all insinuation, suggestion. It oozes sensuality and sex. Yes, it's all just sex really." When Jack had recovered his composure sufficiently to speak, you could tell from the tremor in his voice that he was seeing his new young female recruit in an entirely new light. Shortly after that he started calling her Kate, but it wouldn't last: "My name is Katherine, not Kate."

Her lessons were animated. Junior classes responded to her energy and ebullience. Language learning with Katherine was fun. Pupils were actively engaged and warmly en­couraged, whilst the recalcitrant few were wry firmly rebuked. Katherine took it as a personal affront if pupils refused to share the exciting language experience she was offering, and rightly so. She put so much of herself into her teaching. The 6th Form was her natural forum, however. Her intellectual command and knowledge came into their own here and her students respected her academic excellence. Whilst she shared with them her love of literature, her grasp of grammatical detail and clarity of explanation ensured they learnt the language properly with that solid foundation that later methodologies have shunned. They benefited equally from the fact that there was never a more hard-working nor better organised teacher than Katherine. Her lessons were very thoroughly prepared. She never sold her pupils short.

Mention Katherine to her ex- students and they will soon recall her wicker shopping basket. Where others carried a briefcase Katherine carried a basket and she became synonymous with it. All her books, lesson materials and marking were transported in it, to every lesson - in fact it seemed she and it were inseparable. It gave the impression, together with that hurried step of hers, of a housewife popping down to the shops. This, of course, was in marked contrast to that other image of the sophisticated woman, always simply but smartly dressed. Yes, she was elegant, but being Katherine she would tend to include in her attire an element of provocation, examples of which are her skirt with the hip- length slit, or more outrageously her scarlet boots. Frank Hanbidge, in his valedictory speech to Katherine, recalled them as thigh length. Katherine interrupted to insist they were only knee length, but Frank's error of memory makes the point. If the intention was to catch the eye, to tease, to challenge the imagination, then clearly she succeeded.

It was certainly this combination of the homely and the flirtatious that beguiled her 6th formers, and gave rise one St Valentine's Day to an extraordinary event. Other staff were returning to the languages block from the usual morning Common Room coffee break when our way was barred by a large crowd of boys in the corridor with Katherine waylaid in the middle. Three sixth formers were before her on bended knee, one playing the guitar, delivering a mid­-morning serenade to her - their own "Ballad to Mrs Hedges". She was watery eyed. They adored her.

Her career at Haberdashers' was split. She left in 1986 to have her family, returning 4 years later, part- time to begin with, then full-time again by the mid-nineties. Her career began to develop as her timetable now included Latin teaching, and she soon became a member of the Careers Department. She proved an out­standing advisor on university and career choices, and in 1996 she became Head of Careers. Despite the massive work-load of the job, she continued to treat every boy individually, giving her time readily, Even to those unscheduled visits that seemed to happen every day, and alwayshaving the relevant infor­mation at her fingertips, encouraging ambition but tempering whim with realism. At UCAS advisory meetings  with boys and parents, her performance was brilliant. The Headmaster would introduce her, then the stage was hers. She would stand there alone before a packed hall, one hand resting on the table beside her, and apparently note free, she would speak for an hour, delivering fact and advice with good humour, but leaving parents and boys in absolutely no doubt of the importance of following procedures properly. Questions  were answered with ease, so complete was her command of her subject and the very great responsibility it carried.

Also, of course we were seeing here Katherine the entertainer. She enjoyed an audience, and indeed acted with distinction in a number of staff plays, in roles ranging from Moliere to Tom Stoppard. The same facility to entertain and amuse were equally evident on school languages trips abroad. Apart from organising her own trip to a school in Lyon, she was a regular member of the staff team on the Junior Alsace Trip, where she loved to regale the boys with wit and anecdote over the coach microphone. We called her Madame Micro. At the same time, any sickness or anxiety and she became Katherine the mum, tending and reassuring.

More recently Katherine has become unsettled. She has regretted the relegation of literature in the Modem Languages 'A' level specifications. She can teach the new style of syllabus perfectly well of course, but to het to sideline the study of literature was to take the heart out of the subject. It is for Katherine an intrinsic part of learning a language, as well as a pleasure to draw her students into for its own sake.

It was Katherine's daily habit to bring back an apple after lunch, and leave it on her desk for eating later. One day it disappeared. Sorry Katherine, the temptation was too great. Your apple was just too enticing.


Charles Netto (by Phillip Morris)

I first set eyes on Charles in April 1988 as he marched purposefully across the car park towards the old Modern Languages office on the day of his interview. He struck me as bearing a faint resemblance to some Spanish monarch or other I vaguely remembered having seen - a portrait of Charles V perhaps by Titian or Rubens or some such chap. The rather regal impression was reinforced when I held a door open for him later the same day: he sailed through it, beard pointing imperi­ously ahead, without giving the slightest indication that he was aware of my existence. I felt like an anonymous flunkey at some state occasion. I did not know it then, though I soon found out that that rather magisterial exterior concealed a warm, sensitive and considerate personality, a complex and infectious sense of humour, a wide-ranging culture, a keen intellect and a set of deeply held, one might say, spiritual values.

Charles impressed his inter­viewers on that spring day and duly joined the department in September of the same year. Saint Benedict's loss was our gain. It rapidly became obvious that he was a first-rate teacher of Spanish and French. A little later he added Italian to his timetable with similar results. He was, it goes without saying, supremely well equipped for this task. Born in Gibraltar he grew up bi­lingual, speaking both Spanish and English with equal facility; but these advantages simply enhanced his outstandingly gifts as a linguist. He obtained a first degree in Philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; and during that time he not only perfected his Italian, but also developed a profound love of the city itself and with it an encyclopaedic knowledge of Italian art and culture. He then moved to Cambridge and within two years had acquired a degree in Modern Languages from Gonville and Caius College, adding German to his repertoire in the process. A Certificate in Education from Oxford then rounded off his studies.

On becoming Head of Spanish in 1993 Charles set about reinvigorating the subject; and the department then embarked upon a course of steady expansion that continues up to the present day. He was one of the first to detect a swing in Britain away from German towards Spanish as the preferred second language and organised himself accordingly. He sensed the new enthusiasm for things Hispanic and used all his flair and dedication to ensure that it was exploited to the full. The foreign language most frequently and most vociferously spoken in the polyglot departmental office (first between Charles and his loyal assistant, Mari-Carmen Griffiths and later among the four native Spanish speakers who constituted the core of the department) became Spanish without the slightest doubt. It became commonplace for boys coming into the department to use the language when talking to staff; and they could even be heard at it in the corridor. There was something extremely attractive and infectious about the lively Iatin din that emanated from the Spanish corner and the boys responded increasingly to its authenticity and no doubt to the irresistible atmosphere of fiesta that it seemed to evoke. Al all events, classes grew larger and numbers signing up for the subject increased year on year. Charles ensured that the materials used in the department reflected his belief in the need for authenticity and insisted that his pupils be able to speak fluently. Yet he in no way yielded to faddish techniques. He retained firm convictions concerning the need for grammatical accuracy and solid learning. He made very considerable demands and they complied. They actually wanted to please him! He was able to encourage his colleagues to produce similar results by inspiring intense personal loyalty. He accomplished this with the minimum of fuss, with the minimum of prescription, without breathing down necks and without any of the censorious control-freakery or educational gobbledygook that can too often creep in when teachers turn into managers. Charles had - and still has - little time for the accretions of theoretical and administrative nonsense that can make many a tough-minded pedagogue feel like throwing in the towel. He managed with a steady but light hand, valuing the unique contribution above everything else and carefully avoiding the stifling of originality, innovation and good will that would have resulted from a less sensitive, more overbearing style.

Charles' contribution to the school went far beyond his management and classroom duties, however. Soon after becoming Head of Spanish, he introduced the now well-established exchange with a prominent school in Milan. A few years later he added a trip to Rome to his commitment and for a considerable number of years gave up significant time in his vacations accompanying both visits. Regular outings to the West End of London to see Spanish films and plays became a feature of the departments programme. Charles' expert knowledge of the cinema is simply without equal in my experience; and the boys benefited both from his vast knowledge of the subject and from his mischievous sense of fun in the General Studies course on film that he offered for many years. As the appetite for Spanish grew, Charles laid on Hispanic evenings for pupils, parents and staff in which the audience was treated to a banquet of Spanish culture, including poetry reading, guitar playing, food and wine tasting and, most memorably, a production of extracts from Lorca's Sodas de Sangre. The atmosphere of Mediterranean gaiety that bathes the sunny south-western corner of the Languages office looks set to continue to inspire boys to study Spanish after Charles' departure; but if that is so, then it will be his dedication and understated ability that the school has to thank for this.

So how will Charles be remembered? The most significant memories will be in the minds of those for whom contact with him was a major formative experience: his pupils. The younger ones were in awe of him from the start, and his reputation for strictness preceded him. Aghast at their own daring, they furtively imitated his voice and his mannerisms as if they were caricaturing traits of an omnipotent tyrant. They mimicked his acerbic comments and reproduced his habit of flicking his tie upwards (no doubt the one with the pictures of Spanish monarchs on it). This latter gesture they perceived as a danger signal, analogous to the flash of an angry bull's tail in a corrida. Nevertheless, all of his pupils discovered within the first five minutes of their association with him that there was far more to Charles than the disciplinarian. They not only found out that he had a remarkable ability to seek and to obtain a very high standard of work from them; they also often surprised themselves by eagerly producing it. They found him intensely demanding, but always fair; and such was his presence, that they willingly rose to the challenge of his lessons. With consummate dramatic skill, he would mischievously let the stern mask slip on occasion and the new insight would come as a revelation to the younger boys. I remember once sharing a joke with Charles whose highly developed sense of the ridiculous was tickled by the story. As he rocked on his heels, characteristically helpless with laughter, a small boy came cautiously into the office. When he spotted Charles, whom he had come to see, he stopped dead in his tracks in the doorway, transfixed, as if receiving a divine sign. He instantly forgot what he was there for and withdrew in confusion, a bemused smile breaking over his face. The same boy later confessed to me in an incredulous voice, as if he had witnessed the queen or the pope in an intimate moment, "Sir, I saw Mr Netto laughing!".

The laughter became a more permanent feature of Charles' lessons as the age of the pupils increased. The sixth formers - if they had been slow in catching on earlier - soon learned to savour his sense of humour; and for many the discovery of the engaging, cultured, funny man behind the persona of the beetle- browed disciplinarian corresponded with the beginning of a genuine affection that they never lost. A former pupil, Richard Binstock, who left Haberdashers' in 1997, recently wrote to me about Charles. He remembered that the man could on occasion be as scary as the Grand Inquisitor, turning the classroom into a court and trying a poor miscreant before his peers. But Richard's overriding memories are of a person he grew to admire, "a highly intelligent, worldly, humorous man who always put his students first", who persuaded him to sign up to three Spanish exchanges, and influenced him profoundly both in his choice of studies and later choice of profession. There have, I know, been many boys at Haberdashers' over the past seventeen years who would echo Richard's grateful and affectionate comments.

Charles' colleagues will preserve slightly different sorts of memories no doubt; but for those who knew him, they will be no less grateful and affectionate. We will remember the qualities already enumerated, but we will also remember a man impatient with woolly thinking, cant, hypocrisy and unimaginative obsession with procedure, a man with a keen sense of justice, totally reliable and scrupulously honest. He did not leave Haberdashers because he had come to the end of his teaching career. He resigned. Moreover, the fact that we were unable to retain him is a matter of profound regret to all of us in the Modern Languages department who enjoyed his company. He is a unique character, an individual, who did his job supremely well from conviction. He taught languages and literature brilliantly; but he did it on his own terms, drawing on the accumulated wealth of his own wisdom, erudition and experience. He will leave a gaping hole in the department, for colleagues of his calibre are not simply replaceable operatives. We wish him well in all his projects. Retirement is not one of them.


Ron Elliott (by Michael Lempriere)

It is a rare teacher who in so short a space of time makes such a wide- ranging impact on the whole school. Ron Elliott, who leaves us to take up a well-deserved promotion as Second in Department at South Hampstead High School, is just such a rarity. How we shall all miss him!

Ron first arrived at Haberdashers' in February 2000 as a student teacher, having previously worked in a variety of business and then academic environments. His move into teaching, via the institute of Education, was enormously to the benefit of the profession and, of course, to us. Even as a student teacher, Ron immediately impressed us all with his exceptional talent and whole hearted commitment. From the outset, he threw himself into teaching a subject he holds dear and one in which he is very highly qualified. He also immersed himself in the pastoral and extra-curricular life of HABS: in those first few months, he accompanied the Junior Alsace trip, helped with swimming sports and trod the dramatic boards in the staff play, Travels with my Aunt!

Following this most successful introduction, Ron joined the English department as a permanent member of staff in September 2000. A tremendously talented and successful teacher of both English and Drama, he provided his pupils with many opportunities for committed and focused learning as well as a good deal of fun. He cares deeply about his subject, but he cared equally deeply about his pupils and their welfare. Ron was an exemplary Russells form tutor. He offered his charges a fine role model: a caring and organized individual, happy in himself and around others.

Ron developed his active interest in Drama and his histrionic talent by throwing himself into Junior and Middle school plays and helping - in any capacity – with senior plays. For a while, he was also involved in junior debating; he ran the Film Society and taught the most popular GS course on Film Studies. Ron's contribution to the cultural life of the school was immense.

In his last couple of years with us, Ron was Head of General Studies, introducing several innovations including peer mentoring and a sequence of lectures for post-AS level students in the summer.

What is clear is how dynamic, thoughtful and committed a teacher and person Ron Elliott is. The English department will miss his championing of Canadian literary luminaries (not least, the blessed Margaret Atwood)! Even more, we shall miss his sense of the fun life can offer.


Tracey Martin

Head of Chemistry, Kimbolton School


Andrea Adlem

Head of Physics, Francis Holland School


Len Cole

St John’s Northwood


Matthew Cocks

Birmingham University


Melanie Berenblut

Moving to Israel


Danny Jewel

Moving to New Zealand


Mike Davies

Director of Sport, Glenalmond College, Scotland


David Turner

Deputy Stage Manager, Cambridge Arts Theatre


Danelda van Graan

Heathfields School, Pinner


Steve Marsh

Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Otago, Dunedin


Rebecca Hunter


Graeme Hunter

Head of Physics, Whitgift School, Croydon


Ben Evans

Head of Chemistry, Shrewsbury School


Liam Canny

Economics and Politics at the American School, Egham

Liam Canny joined the Economics and Politics department in September 1999. With degrees from three universities, four years' service in the U.S. Navy, a period as research officer to the Eire Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, and work in the City of London, he seemed to have had several successful careers already.

It did not take long, however, for staff and pupils to realise that he was also an exceptionally gifted individual and teacher. He worked hard to make his lessons a success and led his pupils to high standards. Liam also made a fine contribution to extra-curricular activities. He took a full part in School and Community Service and was a valued member of the Main School Ski Trip. He quickly increased the scale of Young Enterprise so that its companies regularly won district and county competitions.

However, his main commitment was to school basketball. He had coached the Cambridge University men's Blues team and brought all his formidable expertise and will-to-win to bear on Habs. teams. His slogan "there's no 'I' in team" taught them a lot about themselves and gave them not only mutual loyalty and esteem but also many well-deserved victories.

Liam leaves us to teach Economics and Politics at the American School in Egham, South London.


Simon Kinder

Gresham's School, Norfolk

Simon Kinder leaves us to take up a post at Greshams' School in Norfolk. Having joined the School on a temporary one term appointment in 1994, Simon returned a year later to a full time post, having completed his P.G.C.E. at the University of East Anglia.

Simon has that undeniable ability to inspire and enthuse boys in his subject and to draw the very best out of each and everyone of them. He is always looking for new ways to develop his teaching style and he was instrumental in introducing I.C.T. to the teaching of History at Habs. In addition, he became involved in cross-country running and he ran the box office for many school plays and concerts.

He accompanied numerous History trips, both in this country and abroad, and he established the School Rambling Club, leading boys and parents on many a marvellous weekend excursion. He was a dedicated and hugely effective First Form tutor for a number of years before being appointed Housemaster of Russells in 2001, a post to which he brought seemingly endless energy and terrific dedication.

We will miss him for all these qualities and for his warm humour and great heart.


Joann Letts

North London Collegiate School

Joann Letts joined the Physics Department in September 1997 and leaves us after six years. We quickly came to learn of Mrs. Letts' quality; she was a Head of Physics whilst still in her twenties, before taking a career break to have her family.

An outstanding classroom teacher, she has contributed to life at Haberdashers' in many ways. Thoroughly professional, she has spent far more time here than is strictly in her contract, helping behind the scenes with activities like Bridge, attending In-Service training courses or acting as a Sixth Form Tutor.

She is to take up another part-time teaching post, at the North London Collegiate School.


Ian Rice

When Ian Rice joined the staff here in 1986 he came to teach Mathematics in the Prep. School and to make a contribution to main school games. Arriving from a Yorkshire prep school, Ian was keen for a change and the opportunity to work with older pupils if possible. I had known Ian and his parents for many years but his appointment admirably fulfilled the School's particular needs and happily coincided with his own desire to develop his career. 

An impressive figure of a man, Ian is in fact a gentle giant who has always had the best interests of his pupils at heart. A county rugby player, fine swimmer and powerful club cricketer (representing Langleybury), he continued to play to a good standard after joining Haberdashers', taking part (for instance) in the Village Cricket final at Lord's one memorable year.

Ian was soon assisting Greg Davies with the rugby 1st XV and carried on this role when Clive Rees became master i/c rugby in 1990. At this time he also took charge of swimming for the main and prep schools and raised the sport to a very high level. Talented and hard working, Ian made an invaluable contribution to the sporting life of the school quite apart from his teaching role in the Prep.

Reliable, energetic, conscientious, Ian nevertheless has a streak of the unconventional about him: his wedding-held on a boat on the Thames-was notable for the fact that the groom had a best woman instead of the rather more usual best man...

Update 2012 – Ian is now Deputy Head at Northwood Prep and has Rishi Sachdev (ex pupil of HABS) as a parent.


Anthony Hardwicke

Anthony joined Haberdashers' in 1998 after three years at the Haberdashers' School in Monmouth. Anthony is a great enthusiast for his subject and holds a passionate brief in the importance of display and demonstration as the best means of capturing and retaining the interest of his pupils. 

His laboratory was transformed on his arrival by an impressive array of large-scale molecular models suspended from the ceiling to add to the more conventional charts and posters; the usual periodic table was replaced by a chart of positively gargantuan proportions. Anthony's zeal to promote Chemistry and science extended well outside his teaching: he took over the direction of the School Science Society and, each year he was at Haberdashers', he organised and delivered an annual Royal Society of Chemistry lecture to pupils from local schools. 

Anthony is a keen musician; a pianist and a singer. He joined wholeheartedly in the musical life at Haberdashers', spending much of his free time practising and playing.

He bravely volunteered to act as Common Room Secretary, completing his duties over a two year term with characteristic punctiliousness.


Damian Jones

Head of Chemistry, Caterham School

Damian joined Haberdashers' in 1997 direct from the P.G.C.E. course in Oxford, and having completed his first degree and doctorate at Reading University. Damian quickly established his reputation as a Chemistry teacher and as a conscientious and hard-working colleague with a great willingness to take on work above and beyond the call of duty.

After just a year in the job, he began to seek out other areas of responsibility. Within the department Damian volunteered for the all-important task of co-ordinating the G.C.S.E. coursework programme, a role he completed with characteristic thoroughness. While in the School at large, he became an assistant examinations officer and completed a statutory two-year stint as Common Room Treasurer. These jobs require meticulous attention to detail and are vital, each in its own way, to the smooth running of the School.

Perhaps Damian's most enduring achievement will be the establishment of a St. John's Ambulance Group under the aegis of the School and Community Service programme. The appearance of Damian and his team, resplendent in their uniforms, has brought added colour as well as safety to a number of recent school events.

Damian leaves to become Head of Chemistry at Caterham School and we wish him, his wife Nicole and their baby son every success and happiness.


Karen Wilson

Berkhamstead School

Karen has taught Physics here for fourteen years and is moving to Berkhamsted Collegiate School.

In addition to her excellent work in Physics, she has taught junior Biology and contributed significantly to the work of the Careers department.

She has been officer-commanding the R.A.F. section of the School for many years and has been a stalwart supporter of school sport, most notably rugby, where she has made a major contribution to the fund raising for overseas tours.


Felix Posner

Head of Biology at St Columba's College in St. Albans

We also bid farewell this term to Felix Posner of the Biology Department. He moves to become Head of Biology at St Columba's College in St. Albans.


Geoff Hollaway

Head of Design Technology at Doha College

Geoff Holloway joined the Design Technology department last September having come from Giggleswick School in Yorkshire, where he had been Head of Design Technology for ten years.

During his short time with us he fully involved himself in the life of the School, particularly with his involvement in S.C.S. activities and set design and construction for various school plays.

He is moving to Qatar in the Middle East to take up the post of Head of Design Technology at Doha College.


Jeremy Goulding

Head, Shrewsbury School 

A large, confident and successful school is like a great ocean liner - very slow to turn. A headmaster is in the exposed and risky position of its captain; accountable to the owners, responsible for the passengers, and in command of the crew. They, in particular, are anxious to know if he is in the mould of captain Ahab, Bligh or Cook: will his obsession destroy the vessel, will his discipline provoke a mutiny, or will he meet his death as he does his duty?

Mr Goulding set several “firsts” at Haberdashers': the first Roman Catholic headmaster since the School's foundation in 1690, the first from Magdalen College, Oxford, for two centuries, the first since 1919 to leave to become headmaster of another school, the first ever whose wife has taught in the School, and the first since Dr. Taylor to have children of school age, one of whom has been a pupil at Haberdashers'.

Like his predecessors, Mr. Goulding was well prepared for the post. Educated in Classics at the Becket School, Nottingham, he had read Philosophy and Theology at Oxford, where he rowed for Magdalen, and in 1974 began his teaching career at Abingdon School. In 1978 he moved to Shrewsbury School, where he was Head of Divinity and a boarding-house master, and in 1989 became head of Prior Park College, Bath. The School's first lay head, he further improved its reputation, raised its pupil numbers, and guided it through the aftermath of a near-disastrous fire.

His appointment as headmaster of Haberdashers' aroused the mixture of apprehension and curiosity common to such events, Some parents murmured about Pius XII and the Vatican, ignoring the fact that for four hundred years Catholics had been a persecuted minority in Britain itself. Some members of staff muttered about the School's Anglican origins, although most of them never attended church, let alone knew a ciborium from a monstrance. Kinder souls quoted from the speech which Montgomery made when he took command of the Eighth Army in 1942: "I want first of all to introduce myself to you, you do not know me, I do not know you. But we have got to work together."

Between Mr. Goulding's appointment in 1995 and arrival at Haberdashers' in September 1996 he visited the School many times and was watched for signs of his ideas, personality and policies. He was watchful too, for although he had emerged triumphant from three interviews with the governors, he had met neither pupils nor staff. As a Classicist he might have recalled Aeschylus's words, "I took pains to determine the flight of the crook-taloned birds, which were to the right by nature and which to the left, and which were their ways of living, each after his kind, and the enmities and affections that were between them, and how they consorted together," (Prometheus Vinctus, 486-492).

At the end of his first year he gave Skylark his impressions of the School; its "sheer size", its "speed and pace", its "powerful sense of community" and its "sense of friendliness and generosity". He declared that "My aim is to sustain this as a thriving school, balancing the academic results, which are so important, with the vast array of activities and opportunities available here."

Little by little he built up his team, from September 1996 working with the new Bursar, Malcolm Gilbertson, and from September 1998 with Simon Boyes as second Master and Jon Corrall as Senior Master. Men whose contrasting abilities and qualities so well complemented his own. But however much he relied on their experience and expertise to provide him with wise advice and detailed information, he knew that it was his role to take the lead; to solve immediate problems and to seize fleeting opportunities, besides being the School's ambassador and long-term strategist.

Early in 1996 the previous headmaster had produced a Development Plan, intended in part to explore the probable end of the Assisted Places Scheme. When the Labour government, elected in 1997, abolished the A.P.S. in 1998 the governors immediately replaced it with a system of Bursaries linked to financial need and academic potential, and by 1999 Mr. Goulding had achieved almost all the 1996 Plan's objectives. Indeed, in 1997 he had initiated a Pastoral Review of P.S.R.E. (Personal, Social and Religious Education) and of pupil and staff welfare and the governors had approved a five year Building Development Plan to provide new changing facilities, a new science block, and an extension to the preparatory school (the latter of which was completed at Easter 2001). Thus by 1999 the way was clear for Mr Goulding to produce his own Development Plan and to enlist staff support for its implementation. Some seventy-three members of staff operating in twelve working groups gathered evidence and took soundings on almost all aspects of the school curricular and community life and reported in June 2000.

Their work coincided with the first full-scale inspection of Haberdashers' held in living memory; during October 1999. Mr. Goulding's preparation was meticulous, calming the nervous, drawing on his own experience as an H.M.C. Inspector, and explaining that he hoped for "business as usual" during inspection week, an aspiration which some departments honoured as much in the breach as in the observance. The Lead Inspector, Mr. Brian P. Fitzgerald, was both an old pupil and a former teacher of the School so he knew its ways and wiles, and his report was entirely objective. “This is a very good school with many strengths and the headmaster is vigorous and enthusiastic and leads in a refreshingly purposeful style.”

Pastoral Review, Development Plan and Inspection Report all helped to crystallize Mr. Goulding's ideas and policies. He noted Haberdashers' aims as published in the prospectus: “To challenge bright boys to achieve the highest standards; to develop a sense of community and shared values; to support parents in preparing their sons for a fulfilled life”. He concluded that "We must offer the best possible school curriculum and foster a sense of community." Neither would be easy to achieve. The Middle School curriculum was a notorious minefield, as a complex options system, designed to give pupils a broad education and to avoid premature specialisation, and was in conflict with some departments' covert plans to attract more pupils. The School's ever-widening catchment area and its increasing ethnic diversity, perhaps even its increasing ethnic self-awareness and identity, posed a conundrum for advocates of community.

In August 1996 Haberdashers' had topped the Advanced Level League Table in The Times. Like share prices, examination results normally go up and down but in this case they could not possibly go up so the School has struggled to maintain its lead. Many teachers have argued that G.C.S.E. work, with its emphasis on technique rather than content, allowed quick-witted pupils to make a last minute effort and still gain high grades, an experience which unfitted them for "A" Level work. Other teachers suspected that the recession of the early 1990s had reduced applications and thus the quality of their pupils. Mr. Goulding gave his full support to departments which found it a challenge to secure the very best results, monitoring pupils' progress and requesting their parents full cooperation. As a result some pupils were awarded better results than they perhaps had a right to expect.

To some extent the government took responsibility for the curriculum out of Mr. Goulding's hands by introducing the A/S plus A2 system at 16+, according to which A/S is a transition from G.C.S.E. to "A" Level standard at A2. Since September 2000 most Haberdashers' pupils have taken four A/S courses in the Lower Sixth and from September 2001 most will take three A2 courses in the Upper Sixth, many sitting some twelve papers at the end of each academic year. That is a welcome simplification of the previous system of modular exams scattered throughout the year but it may place pupils under pressure, especially since the standard required is by no means clear. We await the results.

The 1997 Pastoral Review had wondered if the interaction of Form Tutor, Housemaster and Head of Section was always as pastorally effective as it might be, and the Inspection Report recommended a further review of the School's pastoral arrangements. Thus Mr. Goulding proposed and secured support for a new Middle School Pastoral Structure. Historically, the composition of Forms in the Middle School had been determined by academic setting, which had placed pupils in a large form located on an all-too-obvious ladder of esteem, and which obscured the easy link between Form Tutors and Housemasters which existed in the Junior School. From September 2001 there will be no direct connection between new Tutor Groups and academic setting in the Middle School. Each third year house group will be split into two Tutor Groups, each of about fourteen pupils. The fifty or so fourth and fifth year pupils in each house will be split into three mixed fourth-and-fifth year Tutor Groups, each of about eighteen pupils, Thus Tutors will form a house team, and fourth / fifth year Tutors in particular will have the opportunity to provide advice on career planning, subject choice and work-experience.

Throughout these changes and preparations, the School's every day activities had flourished like the Mississippi, they kept on “rollin' along”. As Skylark put it in 1997 "life continues in a certain timeless fashion around us", art, drama, music and sport, exchanges, mountaineering, ski-trips and C.C.F., carol service, Mencap Funday, Old Folks' Xmas Party and staff concert, assemblies, Houses, societies and arrivals and departures. Pam Bryant, Michael Levin and Michael McLughlin retired in 1997, John Carleton and Derrick Swann in 1998, and Douglas Whittaker and Stephen Wilkins in 2000; every one after more than twenty years service at the School, with John and Douglas after a remarkable thirty-eight and thirty-six years respectively.

Mr. Goulding has accepted an invitation to return to Shrewsbury as headmaster, and so has served Haberdashers' for only five years, but he has certainly made his mark.

At first, seemingly pre-occupied in manner and tentative in approach, he quickly warmed to accomplished and confident individuals who readily accepted and welcomed him, and soon understood the merits of those who concentrated on bearing the burden and the heat of the day. One suspects that he reserved judgement on some.

A family man, he knew the problems which pupils and parents can cause for teachers. When dealing with pupils, parents and teachers alike he valued the facts, sought the truth, and strove for just solutions. He did not take the easy option.

That the pupils who knew him best appreciated his efforts was apparent from his welcome to the Prefects' Dinner at the start of the Summer Term and from the generous presentation made to him. The staff appreciated his attention to detail, his diligent hard work, his diplomacy and his vision for the School - curriculum and community. The new Pastoral Structure, which will begin to operate as he arrives at Shrewsbury, will be his principal legacy to Haberdashers', and is perhaps the most significant change made to the School since its move to Elstree in 1961.

The new structure reflects his dedication to high academic and personal standard and a certain inner firmness and toughness which has won the respect of many pupils and staff. One suspects that he rejects the analogy between crime and illness drawn by a Shrewsbury old boy, Samuel Butler in the now little-known Erewhon (1872) and believes that behaviour is ultimately the individual's own responsibility, so deserves reproof and punishment. Without that belief an effective curriculum and an effective community cannot exist, for there is no distinction between right and wrong, good or bad.

Many of us will remember Mr. Goulding in the Spring Term Concert: a man at ease with himself, playing the cello, supported by his wife and younger son as fellow musicians, supporting the School extra-curricular life, contributing to its sense of community with an apposite and fluent speech, and then helping to entertain the throng with his customary mixture of gentlemanly courtesy, humour and tact.

There lies an example which Haberdashers' would do well to emulate. Our loss certainly is Shrewsbury's gain. We wish him, his wife, and their family, every happiness and success in their new life.



Antony Facchinello

Head of English at The Royal Grammar School, Guildford

Antony Facchinello leaves the English department after six years' sterling service to become Head of English at The Royal Grammar School, Guildford.

Joining us in 1994 from the boarding environment of Cheltenham College, he coped well with the shell shock of moving to a north London day school! A talented and keen rower at Oxford and Cheltenham, he also adapted on the sports field, becoming master-in-charge of Cross Country and then Tennis. For a frantic while, he ran both!

Antony was also an active force behind the Theatre Society, co-directed the occasional Middle School play and acted in the 1998 Staff Play, Blue Remembered Hills. He accompanied boys on ski trips and to Alsace and made the epic walk from Sienna to Rome. As all these details make clear, Antony is someone who has always been ready to expend considerable energy beyond the confines of the classroom. His commitment to the general life of the School has been exemplary.

However, we must not forget his strengths and achievements within the classroom and department. A shrewd literary critic, his judgement is second to none. Teaching at all levels and a pastoral tutor to the 2nd and 6th form age groups, he is an utterly committed practitioner who clearly relishes his subject. This commitment is demonstrated not least in the way he extends the range of students' reading (and the department's stock). Moreover, his General Studies course on film regularly proved to be one of the most over-subscribed on offer.

Within the department, Antony carried responsibility at G.C.S.E., ran our S.C.S. group and offered the necessary encouragement to the 6th form editors on the ground-breaking Scribe.

This all too brief pen portrait of an exceptionally large-hearted and gentle man would not be complete without mentioning the most recent change in his life: Antony and his partner, Liz, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Livia, in early April. Whilst we congratulate Antony on his appointment to R.G.S., we shall certainly miss his dry wit and companionable good humour. We wish Antony and his family every happiness and success in Surrey.


David Cooper

Head of History, Tonbridge School

Entering a classroom immediately after a David Cooper lesson is like moving into a slightly different universe from the one that most of us inhabit. The furniture is cleared out of the centre of the room to create a large space in which an enormous creature can move safely without damaging more fragile beings. There is often a strange smell, resembling a mixture of sweat, bananas and satsumas. Pieces of paper and occasionally an exhausted boy or two lie strewn around the room. A mighty force, perhaps a hurricane (or something slower-moving but equally devastating), has clearly struck the room and laid waste to every person and thing therein. David Cooper has made an enormous impression at this school since his arrival from R.G.S. Newcastle in 1988.
He has commanded respect from colleagues and pupils alike for his intellectual qualities and his commitment and diligence. Boys who found him an exacting taskmaster always knew they were being stretched and developed and introduced to higher standards than they could ever have envisaged. David gave boys a clear appreciation of what is involved in genuine scholarship. All of this without losing sight of the more mundane requirements of teaching: rarely has a teacher combined such academic breadth and curiosity with the discipline and focus needed to deliver an examination subject.

Teaching History was David's principal function and interest - he even found the time to write two books about the 19th Century - but his role as a schoolmaster extended far beyond his subject. He was the most caring and assiduous of form-teachers, Head of General Studies from 1994, and master in charge of chess for more than a decade.

But it is David Cooper the personality who will be most sadly missed. His self-deprecating sense of humour, gave colleagues and boys seemingly endless enjoyment. It has been enormous fun to be around him. His departure diminishes the History department, in particular, even if it also makes the History office seem larger!

Those of us who have seen David teach know what we have lost. His Oxbridge lessons were almost literally stunning, so great is his intellectual range and ability to bring bright boys with him on an exciting voyage of discovery. Tonbridge School, to which David goes as Head of History, is gaining a marvellous teacher and unforgettable character.


David King

Church of England, training for ordination at Cambridge

David King returned to Haberdashers' in 1996 following his earlier association with the School as a pupil (1986-1991). In just four years his impact, on boys and staff alike, has been immense. In the classroom his enthusiasm for History knows no bounds; his love of the medieval period and expert (and often gruesome) knowledge of battles, castles and the weaponry of war (exploding heads and gore are a regular feature of lower school lessons) are infectious.

David quickly established himself as the History Department's acknowledged guru of G.C.S.E., the wizard of substantiated judgements and the contortions of source technique, and pupils will surely miss his academic integrity, clarity of explanation, love of the subject and his sheer common sense in his approach to the business of learning.

Outside the classroom, David's contribution has been considerable. He served as a conscientious and caring form master. He has made an enormous contribution to school rugby, serving as inspirational coach to first the U14B team and more recently to the U14As. He played an important role in Crosstalk and has been an invaluable stalwart of the School Box Office.

The greatest loss at David's departure will be felt amongst his colleagues in the History Department. Almost single-handedly David has trail-blazed the merits of I.C.T. and dragged his colleagues into the modern age. He is irreplaceable: who else could expose the pretensions of Dr. Sloan to I.C.T. proficiency with such effortless grace, espouse the merits of Durham and Wasps with such conviction, talk so candidly about what it is really like to be a Sixth Form pupil of Mr. Cooper or engage in such memorable sparring with the likes of Saddington and Simm?

Our loss is the Church of England's gain and we wish David every success as he trains for ordination at Cambridge.


Derek Ward

South Hampstead High School

Derek Ward, who joined the staff in September 1994, left at the end of the Autumn Term. Derek quickly established himself as a fully committed and effective teacher of Physics.

Outside the classroom Derek's numerous abilities and talents (he played soccer for Sheffield Wednesday) were fully utilised in coaching soccer, running a first year cricket team and above all spending countless hours with the life saving club. He will be greatly missed and we wish him well at South Hampstead.


Jason Holdaway

Head of Design and Technology at Blue Coat School in Berkshire

Jason Holdaway joined the Design Technology department four years ago. During his time at Haberdashers', he has played a leading role in developing both the electronics and computer aided manufacturing within the department.

We wish him and his family every success as he takes up his appointment as Head of Design and Technology at Blue Coat School in Berkshire.


Robin Edmondson

Head of Spanish at City of London Boys' School

Robin came to us from Mill Hill School in September 1994. A fine linguist and an equally fine teacher of languages, he has taught both Spanish and French from the 1st year to 'A' Level. His innovative and imaginative lessons ensured that he very soon became a favourite with the boys.

His involvement in the life of the School has been wide-ranging. He has coached cricket, helping run the U13 and U14 cricket teams. The Middle School plays have benefited from Robin's hard work behind the scenes, as indeed did the production of the 6th Form French play Topaze last year, where Robin's very active support contributed so importantly to its success. He has also, of course, taken to the stage himself in staff plays, most notably in the recent production of Travels with my Aunt, during which, amongst the other roles he played so ably in that performance for three unforgettable minutes he transformed himself into an utterly convincing 14 year old Paraguayan vamp, authentic accent and all, and seduced Stephen Wilkins.

And he has travelled, not only on the Junior Spanish trip which he organised in his first year here, but on the Junior Alsace trip, and with Tim Watson on his walk from Siena to Rome. And then again, during the academic year 1997/8, he travelled around the world with his future wife, Sarah. Yes, we held his job for him. We valued Robin that highly. Add to all this his responsibility for J-Soc and Jewish Assemblies, and his contribution as a member of the Common Room Committee and it must be clear that Robin's departure will leave us much bereft.

He has of course been a delightful colleague. His wry observations about Haberdashers' and the idiosyncrasies of colleagues have enlivened many a dull day down in the Languages Department. He is essentially modest, apparently unassuming man, yet he has wit, great humour and strong convictions, and when he speaks, people listen.

Robin is moving to become Head of Spanish at City of London Boys' School. It is they who are to benefit now from the talents of this very able, so very likable all rounder. They do not know yet how lucky they are. We are so sorry to lose him, we will miss him sorely indeed, but wish him success and happiness in his new life.


Judith Graham

Immanuel College in Bushey

Judith Graham leaves us to take up a post at Immanuel College in Bushey. Judith came to Haberdashers' in 1991 and quickly established herself as a fully committed and effective teacher of history. She has shown all the qualities - judgement and empathy as well as scholarship - of the accomplished teacher.

Outside the classroom, pupils and colleagues alike have appreciated her warm and kindly manner. It is possible only to guess how many people, near and far, have benefited from her industry and enthusiasm in the role of charities co-ordinator. The bright ideas of youthful zealots became successful enterprises as a result of her practical good sense.

She will be greatly missed in the history department and by many other members of the school.


Mark Wallace

Head, Economics Department at Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith

After teaching for nine years in Birmingham, Mark Wallace joined the Economics Department in 1996 and quickly impressed us with his enthusiastic teaching. He took joint charge of Open Day, cajoled and guided Young Enterprise, founded the Modern Jazz Group and made innumerable contributions to school music.

Mark moves to take over the Economics Department at Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith, from where he will be able to reach the musical riches of central London without using one of his splendid cars.


Michael Egan

School-Business Liaison at Queen Elizabeth College, Guernsey

Michael Egan joined the Economics Department from university in September 1993 and soon established himself as an authoritative classroom teacher. He became joint master-in-charge of the Soccer 1st XI, master-in-charge of the Cricket 2nd XI and assistant master-in-charge of examinations. He was a stalwart of the main school ski trip.

Michael leaves us to assume responsibility for School-Business Liaison at Queen Elizabeth College, Guernsey, where he will enjoy the delights of a good climate without the disadvantages of a foreign language.


Andrea Fielden

Deputy Head at Radlett Nursery and Infants School

Andrea left for a new post as Deputy Head at Radlett Nursery and Infants School. Her contribution during her almost eleven years here has been outstanding both within the classroom and in the wider life of the School.

Many cricketers now in senior sides have benefited from her coaching and running of the senior prep cricket XI's.


Antonia Howatson (nee Foster)

Retiring temporarily from teaching

Antonia joined the English Department in September 1993. From the outset Antonia was quick to seize opportunities and in her second term, for example, took over from Andrew Rattue the responsibility of School Press Officer. Antonia became involved with drama directing two Middle School plays with Antony Facchinello and also organised with him the still thriving Theatre Society.

We wish Antonia continued pleasure with her growing daughter and hope that her retirement from teaching is only a temporary one.


Carol Green

Perhaps Carol Green was trying to balance her energies when she choose to come and teach our 7-8 year old boys at Haberdashers' - she has a husband and three daughters at home. Certainly any visitor to her classroom would not fail to notice her joy and enthusiasm in her work with her pupils. After they had met Carol, parents felt confident that their sons were in excellent hands.

She is a mature, well-organised teacher with a mischievous sense of humour - an asset in any school. She is quietly observant of each child's special needs, enabling her to bring out the very best in each one of her pupils, and stretching them well beyond their own expectations. With Carol, boys knew their boundaries, whilst given the freedom to develop as individuals within the secure and caring environment of P1 classroom. This gave young boys the very start they needed at Haberdashers'.

Carol came to the School in 1990. She worked long hours in school, often here preparing or marking long after others had gone home. Carol was a School Inspector's delight because on her desk was her mammoth book containing her plans of every single day's lessons and forecasts - all meticulously kept. Whilst successfully balancing the demands of a teacher with those of homelife, Carol was able to expend herself totally wherever she was needed. Parents and pupils respected this, as they did her knowledge of young people, and they also enjoyed her company. She will be greatly missed, and we wish her well for the future.


Heather Silby

Teaching post in Mombassa, Kenya


Heather Silby leaves us after one year in the Chemistry Department. Heather departs in July for Kenya, marriage and a post in Mombassa.


Jonathan Hutchings

The King's School, Canterbury

Jonathan Hutchings arrived at Haberdashers' in September 1993 having graduated from Oxford University. He made an impressive start to his teaching career, demonstrating an exceptional flair for communicating his enthusiasm to his pupils, and an eager eye for novel ways of presenting his lessons. His organisational skills have been the envy of other Biologists.

Jonathan has also made full use of his sporting skills, and in particular has been the coach of Under 15 Hockey from the time of his arrival until now. He has also been a great asset to the C.C.F., as an officer in the Navy Section where he has been involved in a vast range of camps and courses with cadets - including a survival course with the Army during the last year.

During the past three years, he has been responsible for the running of the Science Society, steering it through a fresh period of growth to outstanding success; and also getting teams of pupils to enter (and win) a number of national science competitions. Jonathan has taken up a wide range of other sports in his own time, including skiing and aqualung diving - so that he is often more tanned than many pupils at the start of each school term!

Jonathan is moving on to a post at The King's School, Canterbury, where we are sure he will be able to pursue his diverse range of interests.


Ian Webber

Head of Physics, Culford School

Ian is a physicist of quite exceptional quality and all who have been taught by him will bear testament to this. Outside physics he has taught chemistry, general studies and helped with games, in particular water polo. He is a qualified lifesaver and achieved the Reserve Test for Teachers of Swimming.

He moves on to Culford School as Head of Physics and we wish him and his family every success and happiness.


Irfan Latif

Whitgift School, Croydon

Irfan joined Haberdashers' in 1994 as a newly qualified Chemistry teacher. He has become a fine teacher in the classroom but in addition he has thrown himself energetically into a range of extra-curricular activities: Under 12 rugby, Junior School discos and more recently, a superbly organised Mencap Funday.

He leaves us to teach at Whitgift School in Croydon.


Jeremy Burrows

Head of Chemistry, Perse School, Cambridge

Jeremy became a permanent member of staff in the Spring of 1993 but his connection with the School stretches back to 1980 when he joined as a Common Entrance Candidate. Jeremy is a talented all-rounder, a fine chemist and games player. He is also a gifted singer who spent the years immediately after leaving Oxford as a professional singer,

He coached the U14 rugby team for four years and has also helped greatly with hockey and cricket. Recently he had joined the Careers Department team and the C.C.F.

He departs to become Head of Chemistry at the Perse School in Cambridge.


Richard Dunster-Sigtermans

Returning to Bath


Stephen Lane

Head of Geography, Spalding Grammar School

Stephen has been here since 1987 and moves on to Spalding Grammar School as Head of Geography. Stephen is an outstanding teacher with a wide range of skills and interests. He has developed much of the department's current fieldwork programme which includes the co-ordination of the new 6B residential course in Dorset.

His passion for sport has led him to devote countless hours to school rugby and athletics. He has accompanied a number of junior rugby tours and helped to organise the warm weather training for athletes in Lanzarote. He is also a keen skier and has regularly supervised school ski parties.

We wish him and his family every success and happiness in the future.


Stuart Sherwood

Was Director of Music, St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School. Currently Director of Music, King's College, Auckland, New Zealand

Stuart has been here since 1990 and moves on to be Director of Music at St Paul's Cathedral Choir School. Stuart's most ambitious contribution to life here was to plan and lead the Senior Brass tour to Australia. The group of 17 enjoyed the trip of a lifetime and gave great pleasure to their audiences.

Apart from his teaching ability and own musical accomplishments, he has been Master i/c Chess in the Prep School, an effective School Press Officer and excellent Common Room Secretary.

His many and varied talents will be sorely missed and we wish him every happiness at St Paul's.


Tim Watson

Emanuel School

Tim joined the Modern Languages Department in 1992. He is the best kind of teacher - the one who works from his own resources, his own enthusiasm rather than from the textbook or the narrowly interpreted curriculum, believing that language learning should involve an exploration of the literature, the music and the history of the people who speak and write it.

Outside the classroom he took on the mantle of Middle School play director and was responsible for two splendidly entertaining productions. We wish him every success in his new post at Emanuel School.


Carol Lipman


Clive Rees Returning to Wales


Ian Rossotti

Head of Lower School, Perse School, Cambridge

Ian Rossotti leaves us after 10 years here to become Head of the Lower School at the Perse School, Cambridge.

Ian is a dedicated teacher of English, has directed school plays and has taken a particularly active part in the School's sports programme. He has organised the complex S.C.S. programme, been Common Room Secretary and was acting Housemaster of Hendersons during Dr Stiff's sabbatical term.

We wish him every success and happiness.


Helen Hoyle

Head of Geography, Forest School, North London


Richard Farmer

Head of English, Giggleswick School, Yorkshire

Richard Farmer is leaving to go north - to become Head of English at Giggleswick School. He will be sorely missed.

A sympathetic and warm-hearted man, Richard is an outstanding teacher. He knows his subject, and how to bring the best out of his pupils.

He has involved himself widely in extra-curricular activities. For example, he has energised debating and public speaking through his supportive and unstinting coaching. He has organised numerous competitions, including House, English Speaking Union and Observer Mace events. He runs the U13 cricket team, has overseen the 6A Year Book and worked as a member of the Tutorial Board. Richard is painstaking and sensitive in a crisis, offering wise counsel to pupils and colleagues. 

Many Haberdashers' will be sad to see him leave, but we all join in wishing him and his wife Jane, and their two daughters, Alice and Grace, great happiness in Yorkshire. I suspect that many of us will discover that Settle is on our routes to the North.


Doris Hugh

Head of Modern Languages, South Hampstead High School

Sadly, Doris leaves us this term after 17 years of outstanding service to the School, during which time she has won the admiration and respect of boys and colleagues alike for the energy, efficiency and concern which she brought to all aspects of her professional life.

When Doris first joined the Modern Languages Department to 1977 we acquired an exceptional linguist: her cosmopolitan French-speaking Cairene background and Firsts in French, Italian and Spanish, with some excellent German, were guarantees of that. We were soon to discover in her a loyal and phenomenally hardworking colleague, a charmingly unassuming personality, but one who would stand firm on principle when the occasion demanded. We also discovered her organisational skills which have served the School and Department well. She ran the Modern Languages Society for 13 years, arranging cinema and theatre excursions, lectures, quizzes, elegant dinners and of course the renowned French Cafe which has earned so much for charity over the years as part of Open Day activities. Latterly, 3 highly successful Spanish trips and her involvement in the Fontenay-aux-Roses work experience complete an impressive record. We gather that she is equally adept at organising the family whenever she has an immediate objective in view. It is rumoured that once after a teaching day and marking evening, she began painting a ceiling at midnight, waking husband Terry at 3 am to complete the decoration before leaving for work.

Doris' contribution to the life of the School has of course extended far beyond her teaching, the ability to cope with pressure from many directions being her greatest strength. Since 1982 she has been a pillar of the Careers Department with special responsibility for law and languages, but with many other activities, both general and specific, of which boys and their parents are perhaps more aware than the Staff as a whole. In recent years her annual Interview Skills Conference, which enables Sixth Formers to meet and consult potential interviewers from academic and professional life, has proved highly popular and successful -success achieved as always by many hours of careful planning.

Some few years ago, Doris gained a well-earned promotion as Head of the General Studies Department to which she has given a higher profile and a more coherent structure than it previously enjoyed. The Department could not have had a better champion each year when timetabling begins for the following September, when colleagues' services have sometimes to be argued for. Doris is extremely good at winning arguments. The achievement, however, which gave her particular pleasure and pride in the confidence of colleagues placed in her was to be elected Chairman of the Common Room in 1987. In addition to the usual quite onerous responsibilities, she presented to the Governors a number of papers on staff matters, particularly on the burning question of staff representation at the Governors' meetings...

It grieves your correspondent to report that among her strengths and virtues, Doris has an Achilles heel - the motor vehicle. The rumour that she once wrecked her Volvo in order to obtain a new one was firmly denied. During recent work experience visits in central London she dealt with an overheated engine by pouring a gallon of cold water into the oil sump, thereby creating, so it is said, a froth that would not have shamed a barrel of Guinness. Perhaps her most memorable achievement however was to wedge a minibus full of Sixth Formers firmly under the unyielding concrete lintel of the National Theatre car park entrance, much to the delight of the boys, who pronounced the resulting mayhem a better spectacle than the play itself. Despite her countless hours of School involvement during her years here, Doris has always managed to stay firmly within the 'real' world. She has found time to run a house, keep fit, raise 4 children - Haberdashers' all - of whom she is justly proud, maintain a wide circle of friends and range of interests, travel extensively and, more recently, complete a 2 year MBA Course, naturally with Distinction.

We wish a remarkable lady success and happiness in her new post as Head of Modern Languages at South Hampstead High School. She will be much missed here, but perhaps she and Terry will keep in contact by remaining as supportive of our evening musical and dramatic events as they have always been.


Simon Chapman

Head of Geography, Warwick School


Lesley Davies


Neil Folland

Head of Economics, Cheltenham College


Cynthia Frankelstein

Teaching in Israel


Rachel Johnson

Not returning after maternity leave


Andrew Khabaza

Head of Electronics, City of London Freemen's School


Mo Murphy


James Penny Head of Biology, Monkton Combe School


Andrew Rattue

Head of English at Highgate School

Andrew Rattue left us at Christmas to become Head of English at Highgate School. Throughout his five and a half years with us (one of which was spent on an exchange in Texas), Andrew dedicated himself most energetically to all aspects of the school. A lively enthusiast for his subject at all Ievels and across a wide range of literary interests, he was particularly active in the field of Drama. Many of us who saw his Middle School production of "Cider with Rosie" and his junior "Evacuees" will recall their fine atmospheric playing and poignant moods. As a director, he brought to both his complete sense of commitment. He also, of course, acted in two staff plays.

Whatever Andrew does, he does wholeheartedly. He helped run Tennis, served for two years as the Common Room Secretary and was the school's first Press Officer. At the same time he enrolled for a part-time M.A. at Birkbeck College in Victorian Studies. And he and his wife, Jacky, coped wonderfully with new parenthood!

Long may they all thrive; we wish Andy much success at Highgate.


Tim Chalk

Teaching in Dorset


Elisabeth Duranton


Myra Hardcastle


John Lotherington Deputy Director, 21st Century Trust (educational charity)


Katrin Seidel


Roger Catley


Jane Gallimore

Not returning after maternity leave


Henry Jefferies

Returned to native Ireland


Catherine Russian

A new appointment in York


Bernard Barker

Director of Music, Bancrofts's School


Tracey Cunningham


Petra Stephenson


Steven Wray


Gregg Davies


Paul Humm


Jorj Kowszun


Gordon Moody

Set up grounds' maintenance company


Ann Oliver


Stephen Oliver


Anthony Rowlands

Changing profession!


Kevin Ashby

Head of Maths, Moira House, Eastbourne


Rachel Bowden


Richard Footitt


Andrew Jarman

Head of Maths, Cheltenham College


Richard Brett

Teaching Music in Scotland


Michael Scott-Baumann

Head of History, Monmouth School


Geoff Anderson

Head of Physics, Queen Elizabeth Grammer School, Wakefield


Trevor Llewellyn

Geography Department, Dulwich School


Jim Richardson

Deputy Head, The Royal Grammar School, Worcester


Stephen Barber

Head of Modern Languages, Magdalene College School, Oxford


Peter Clulow


Alison de Cleyn


Barry Edwards

Head of English, Highgate School


Katherine Hedges


Suzanna Jenkins

Head of Geography, South Hampstead High School


Jo Newman


Adrian Roberts

Head of History, Perse School, Cambridge


Howard Summers


Kath Clark

Aldenham School


Roger Hale

Head of History, Queen Elizabeth School, Barnet


David Holton


Tim Wood

Lectureship in Geography, Kingston Polytechnic


Ian Meyer

Went to RGS High Wycombe, and now working in Brisbane, Australia

Iain writes in April 2004:

"Greetings from Upside Down Land !

Just surfed the Habs website and am saddened to learn of the passing away of both Stuart Moore, a contemporary staff member and entertaining friend with whom I enjoyed many hilarious Finals Day at Henley regatta and former pupil, David Limb who was CSM of the Army Section I inherited on John Welbourne's promotion to Lt. Col. when "TEC" retired.

I am currently working in Brisbane. On leaving Habs to become Head of Geography at RGS High Wycome in 1981 I spent 1990 on exchange at Brisbane Boys' College. I was subsequently offered a permanent job and migrated here in 1993. Details of what has transpired since then can be found on the RGS High Wycombe website under "Old Boys" in the last two "newsletters". Since leaving Habs I have inevitably lost contact with a lot of people – it’s inevitable I suppose. I always correspond with John Rolfe at Christmas but that is about the sum total of the current link.

Whilst at RGS I bumped into Andrew Murray (former pupil) on the towpath or the Bridge Bar during Henley week and when I was awarded a BP schoolmaster fellowship at Keble in 1985 I discovered I was rowing in College 1st VIII with ex Haberdasher, Chris Bedford. A small world indeed!

I hope to retire to Melbourne in two or three years time. I always look back on my teaching years at Habs as being the most rewarding."


And 'borrowed' from an article sent to the RGS High Wycombe Old Boys site in January 2004:

Iain Meyer Down Under and a decade later

Those who remember me in the late 1980s and early 1990s will recall that following a twelve month exchange to Brisbane Boys’ College I was offered a permanent teaching position which I eventually took up in January 1993. I am still here and still teaching Geography though I have ventured into new territory recently teaching History in the Middle School and thoroughly enjoying it.

Outside the classroom I have retained my interest in authorship and apart from the odd article for Geography Review I teamed up with two colleagues to write a series of textbooks for Queensland’s equivalent of A Level Geography. I have also kept abreast of IT developments, something I found hard to do at RGS. All classrooms here are fitted with data projectors so PPT is becoming the teaching norm – it’s great! Geographical Information Systems is the next challenge but how far I get with that before I retire in Melbourne (hopefully in the next three years) remains to be seen.

Rowing is still a big part of my life and was a factor in the purchase of a house in Melbourne. I have also joined Mercantile Rowing Club (home of the Oarsome Foursome) and scull on the Yarra whenever I visit – normally four or five times a year. It is the closest I can get to the ambience of the rowing clubs along the Putney embankment. Ironically since joining Mercantile I have already met two former members of Thames Rowing Club. I do miss Henley though and the opportunity to renew friendships but I have to remind myself that there are 52 weeks in a year. At BBC I now coach at the Under 14 level – this is a large squad of approximately 16 quad sculling crews. I gave up coaching U16 VIIIs for the simple reason that training started at 5.15am on the water!

On moving to Australia I renewed my interest in CCF activities by joining the Australian Army Cadet Corps as a training officer for a Catholic School in the city. Unlike the UK where you are interviewed and sign the Official Secrets document I had to undergo the infamous psych test – a written multi choice exam of 400 almost repetitive questions in 2 hours. Thinking there was a catch somewhere I answered the last 200 questions backwards. Needless to say in the interview that followed they were not very impressed but nevertheless passed me!

It is a very different culture here and suffers from the aftermath of the Vietnam War when all cadet units were temporarily disbanded. Instructing cadets in battle craft is still strictly forbidden and on my last visit to a rifle range where they have the opportunity to fire the standard NATO rifle there was talk of removing Figure 11 targets for socio-political correctness! Ironically the cadets were more concerned about hitting the wild wallabies (smaller version of kangaroo) that skipped across the range during live firing than they were about the resemblance of Figure 11 targets to actual people! The passing out parade at the end of annual camp with nearly 2000 cadets marching with the Queensland Army Band is an impressive display of drill.

Australia has also given me the opportunity to broaden my musical interests beyond that of the Moaning Joes’ (punctuation is correct) Blues Band of Staff Revue fame. BBC is only one of two schools in the state that has a pipe band (kilted in the Hunting McLean tartan as worn by Sean Connery). I started to learn pipes during my exchange year here and renewed the interest on my return. I am now the Master i/c and although I could never be as talented as the boys under my charge I am proficient enough to play in the major functions such as Anzac Day.

So what’s the verdict? As much I was reluctant to take the plunge I made the right decision. There is however talk of introducing a national curriculum, outcomes based assessment and individual learning programs – things I managed to escape from by moving down under. Hopefully I will have retired by then enjoying a daily read of "The Australian" on Brighton beach in Melbourne before heading off to the city for a gentle scull on the Yarra and a pint on the balcony of Mercantile RC!

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