Stephen Jones, Warden of St. Edward’s School, Oxford, tells us what makes him tick at school and beyond.
Who or what inspired you to teach?
I initially thought I would become a Naval or Cavalry Officer. Then I spent time teaching at The Prebendal School in Chichester when I was 19. I taught everything. I really enjoyed the people – the mix of pupils, colleagues and parents. It certainly wasn’t dull. The Army was also about people but there was less chance of being killed as a schoolmaster – so after university I decided on teaching and took my first job at Orley Farm School in Harrow.
What is your all-time favourite book?
A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell.
What sort of music do you listen to? Favourite piece or song?
I love Church music – Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis is the top, or possibly Te Lucis Ante Terminum by Balfour Gardiner. In the car, I put on Steely Dan…
Your personal motto in life?
The spirit of the hymn, Father, hear the prayer we offer – which translates as facing the challenges, cracking on.
Your greatest achievement?
Ha! – an impossible question. Very easy (but cheesy) to write “my family”… but I did enjoy winning some races at Ramsgate Week a few years ago.
Top three apps on your phone?
WhatsApp, where we have a family group; the Teddies Twitter feed; and BBC News.
Who would your five ideal dinner guests be (famous, living or dead)?
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
- Mariella Frostrup
- Basil Hume
- Lucy Worsley
- Emma Thompson
Wouldn’t that be a great night!
Favourite subject at school?
Physics, then French, English and Maths.
Your greatest all time movie?
Steve Martin’s Parenthood – a really educative experience and very funny.
Best thing about Teddies?
The extraordinary strength of our community. And location, location, location – Oxford is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest cities.
What three things do you need to be a successful Headmaster?
You need more than three. A sense of humour, empathy, a strong ability to be part of a team, vision, resilience and the capacity to be ‘nimble’ – to do whatever needs to be done, and to do it with grace and charm.
What is the best advice you would give one of your new school joiners?
Be yourself and get involved in as many activities as you can.
In one sentence, what is your school’s ethos?
That anything is possible if you give your all in your academic work and wider activities: pupils have the power to make a huge difference to their lives and to the world around them.
Find out what makes our other Member Heads tick with our HEAD Space interviews!
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