What is role on the Governing Body?
I am newly elected member of the governors and so I am just finding my feet but I see the role of the Governing Body as being there to support the staff at our school in helping to maintain the high standards we have and to help with strategic decisions and develop the schools relationships with the wider community.
What does this role mean?
To me it means feeling like I am involved with the school and giving something back in terms of my time to reciprocate the great work the staff do at our school. It means a lot to me that I have been giving the opportunity to make a difference…..hopefully.
How do you feel about being a Governor?
I feel incredibly honoured to having been elected to this position and I hope I can repay the faith that the parents of our school have shown in me.
How long have you been a Governor?
Not very long at all, I was elected on the 18th October so just under a month.
Is there anything in the Education system which excites you or scares you?
What excites me is the huge amount of enthusiasm teachers have for doing their jobs. That enthusiasm is so important when teaching our children because it is infectious. Seeing how my daughters come home and speak with such obvious joy about what they’ve learnt during the day is a testament to how pivotal teachers and the staff at schools are.
What scares me regarding the education system is the ever increasing demand for places at those schools performing above expectations according to the government and the impact that has on class sizes and the ratio of teachers to pupils. Obviously this can have an impact on the efficiencies of the teachers to give each pupil equal amounts of attention.
What keeps you busy during the day?
I work for PayPal managing our UK sales teams both here in the UK (Richmond) and Ireland (Dublin). I work one week out of six in our Dublin office so I am lucky I have a very understanding wife in Sarah. My role is predominantly office based but I aim to be out on the road with my team at least once a week which in recent weeks has taken me as far north as Edinburgh and as far south as Penzance in Cornwall.
Is there any aspect of your “day-job” which you bring to your role as a Governor?
I hope I can bring a sense of perspective in the sense of being completely new to this role and laying a fresh pair of eyes on the challenges we face as a school. I hope some of my experience in managing budgets will come in useful as well as my ability to engage and work effectively with people from a diverse demographic such as the CEO of Iceland to the customer service department at our Dublin office.
Do you have a favourite hobby?
My time is pretty precious to me but I do love running and cycling when I have the chance to sneak an hour at lunchtime to run around Richmond Park. I am also a passionate music fan and I try to attend at least one gig per month. My favourite genre of music is heavy rock/metal and the last gig I went to was The Dillinger Escape Plan. I was also in a band for several years playing the drums and I guess the highlight for us as a band was supporting Jesus Jones, releasing an album (available on request…as I seem to have plenty of them in the loft) and touring the UK and Europe. I also used to be a journalist writing for magazines such as NME, Rock Sound, Metal Hammer, Terrorizer, LondonNet and Total Rock. I also used to review films for Empire and Total Film and I remain an avid fan of cinema. My major highlight was interviewing Dave Grohl from Nirvana/The Foo Fighters and Kelsey Grammar of Cheers/Frasier fame on the same day….but obviously not together!
Can you tell us a piece of advice you have been given which has stuck with you?
I have been lucky enough to work with and for some great people during my life, but the main piece of advice that I try to live by day to day was given to me by my Mum and Dad and that advice was
‘Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself’
Do you follow a particular sport? Actively or non-actively!
I love football and I am an avid Arsenal fan. I have managed to take my daughters Holly and Charlotte to see our local team Maidenhead play on a few occasions and they seem to enjoy it. I also support the Welsh Rugby Union side (as my Dad is from Wales) and this is sometimes a difficult thing to do living in England and being surrounded by England rugby fans and working a stone’s throw from Twickenham! I am also a keen runner and cyclist and recently took part in the Palace to Palace ride for charity which was 47 miles from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle.
Can you tell us what three dishes would be in your best meal?
Starter – Pate on toast.
Main – Roast Lamb, Roast Potatoes, Braised Savoy Cabbage, Carrots and Mint Sauce.
Dessert – My mother-in-law’s Chocolate Amaretto Cake with cream.
Who would you like to invite for a meal at your house and why?
Robert De Niro – my favourite actor and star of some of my favourite films.
Henry Rollins – former singer from Black Flag and now a respected spoken word performer and writer. Huge influence on me in terms of his political views, as well as a huge exponent of how to work ethically within an industry that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a high level of morals.
Stewart Lee – one of my favourite stand-up comedians, as well as being a respected writer. Another example of someone, whose comedy naturally sets him outside of the mainstream but has not compromised his political or social views to fit in.
What is your favourite film(s)?
Wow…far too many to name here but a snapshot would be as follows – Dead Man’s Shoes, Spinal Tap, Seven, Goodfellas, Jaws, The Aristocrats, Star Wars (the old ones not the new ones!!), Clerks, Brazil….I could go on for ever but I won’t bore you.
Who was your favourite teacher at school and why?
In secondary school, I had a music teacher called Ms.Davies, who inspired me to take up an instrument (percussion) and led to hundreds of blissful hours playing in orchestras and groups during the next 20 or so years. Her boundless enthusiasm and patience was and is still inspiring.