Where did you previously teach and what role did you have?
I have taught for 24 years in both the maintained and independent sectors, primarily in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. In 2004, my family relocated to Scotland where I became the Head of Prep at Lomond School in Argyle and Bute. On our return to East Anglia in 2007, I became the Headmaster of Whitehall School, a small proprietorial day school in Cambridgeshire.
What attracted you to this new role?
In any school, it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to lead a team and to have been appointed as the Head of Prep at a highly regarded school makes me very proud indeed. Since moving to Norfolk in December 2012, I have been asked on a number of occasions where I will be working in September and it has been very reassuring to hear the positive reactions of friends and colleagues to the news that I will be joining the HOHS team.
What are your first impressions of HOHS?
On arriving at HOHS for my interview, I received a very warm welcome from staff and found myself in front of a wonderfully enthusiastic class of Year 5 children. I was particularly impressed with the spacious lawns and woodland that the children are able to explore and, during a tour of the site, recall learning that they may climb trees to the height of the member of staff on duty – I hope that they will enjoy being six feet off the ground whenever I am out and about in the grounds!
Are you looking forward to moving to Norfolk?
We know Norfolk very well, having spent many a summer in cottages and campsites throughout the county. We now find ourselves on the Norfolk-Suffolk border surrounded by beautiful countryside and within easy reach of the coastal villages and harbours that we adore. We are less familiar with Norwich and the Broads so look forward to exploring the eastern side of the county in the months and years ahead.
Do you have family/children/pets moving with you?
Nicki and I have been married for 16 years and have two children, Oliver and Sophie. Nicki is the EYFS teacher at Thetford Grammar School where our children are also educated. On the subject of pets, we have a rabbit, two hamsters, four hens and a cockerel and August saw the arrival of three chicks!
What sort of teacher are you and what do you hope to bring to the role of Head of Prep at HOHS?
As Head of Prep, I am a teacher first and foremost. I look forward to discovering the variety of educational experiences on offer at HOHS and seeing what the Prep School team can add to make a child’s educational journey from Nursery to Year 6 even more exciting! The variety of educational experiences on offer in primary schools has always appealed to me. I love learning alongside the children, regardless of the subject. I hope that the children will find me firm but fair and share my enthusiasm for a job that can be hard work at times but often brings lots of fun! I want children to feel safe and happy. From this foundation, the best things come!
What was your favourite / least favourite subject at school and why?
I had a very happy time at primary school and particularly enjoyed the advanced studies of my sixth form years. I do not recall having a favourite or least favourite subject during my primary education in the 1970s – the curriculum certainly seemed less varied – but I do remember my Year 4 teacher having a ‘nature table’ in the corner of the classroom on which we displayed birds’ nests, fossils or similar! Having moved to rural East Hertfordshire at the age of eight, the joy of displaying, drawing and discussing a rabbit skull was quite an eye-opener for a boy that had grown up in the suburban streets of Greater London!
I often reflect on my choice of ‘A’ Levels at school – English Literature, French and Chemistry. It would be a fair comment to say that I was looking for variety even at the age of sixteen! English and Science continue to find themselves amongst my favourite subjects in the classroom but I have also developed a love of History, having immersed myself in the genealogical world of the family historian during the holidays.
If you could go back in time and give your ‘younger’ self one piece of advice what would it be?
It would be an interesting experience meeting my younger self! I wonder if he would be surprised to learn that I had spent most of my adult life as a primary school teacher!? Unlike some, I do not recall knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up. So, I guess that I would say to my younger self: ‘Embrace every opportunity that comes your way. Don’t be afraid to have a go! Discover the things that you love to do most and enjoy sharing your talents! It’s never too early to think about where they could take you!’
Tell us something interesting about yourself that pupils might be surprised to learn.
I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to swim with sharks or sky dive – these experiences have yet to come my way! However, a long time ago I taught myself to juggle with fire and walk on stilts – skills that have yet to be employed in the classroom! It has been known for Mr Peace to make an occasional appearance on the stage – if I hadn’t become a teacher, I wouldn’t have minded a career as an actor! I own a kayak and a small dinghy with an outboard that I take to the coast each summer. I am very much a novice on the water but, in time, hope to gain a qualification or two that will give me the confidence to venture into more exciting waters! Finally, I am teaching myself to play the piano and passed Grade 2 in the Summer Term! You’re never too young to learn!