Meet the head: John Franklin at Christ’s Hospital in Horsham

John Franklin with his wife Kim Franklin and Senior Grecian Peter Callas and Second Monitor Rafaela

John Franklin with his wife Kim Franklin and Senior Grecian Peter Callas and Second Monitor Rafaela Alford - Credit: Archant

John Franklin, Head Master of Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, Sussex, loves travel, theatre and watching his pupils flourish at Christ’s Hospital and beyond

Published in A+ Education Spring 2017

Tell us a bit about your career.

I was born in Brisbane and gained a BA in English and a Diploma of Teaching from the University of Southern Queensland and later gained a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration at the University of New England, New South Wales. In 1989, I spent three and a half years teaching at Marlborough College, before moving to Adelaide to take up the post of Deputy Head of St. Peter’s College, Australia. In 1998, I was appointed Head of Ardingly College, Sussex and then, Head of Christ’s Hospital in 2007. My pastimes include socialising with friends, good books, the theatre and travel.


What is your school’s ideology and how do you prepare your pupils for life after education?

Christ’s Hospital (CH) is quite unique. A large boarding school (currently 810 boarders and 70 day pupils) founded in the City of London in 1552, CH remains true to its charitable mission, which is to provide bright boys and girls with educational opportunities that they would not have had otherwise. As a result, over 75% of our pupils are on significant means¬tested bursaries and over 95% go on to study at good universities in this country or overseas. All that we do at CH, in the classroom, on the playing fields and in the boarding houses is designed to ensure that our pupils, regardless of their background, are not only fully prepared for their adult lives, but have the skills, the attitudes and the ambition to do well.


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What makes you most proud of your pupils?

It always gives me great pleasure to see our pupils flourishing at CH and I take enormous pride in their achievements, both while they are at school and beyond.


Is there one teacher who stands out from your own school days? Who was it and how did they inspire you?

My Sixth Form English teacher was a source of great inspiration. Irreverent, witty and with a genuine passion for English literature, it was he who prompted me to study literature at university.


What piece of music and piece of literature would be your desert island choice?

The music would be something by Bach, probably the St. Matthew Passion. The literature would be the collected work of Shakespeare.


If you had to take one school subject again, what would it be and why?

If I had to take one school subject again, it would be a modern language (other than French, which I studied when I was at school). The value of learning a language and gaining some insight into that country’s culture is second to none.


And what were your favourite subjects?

English, by a country mile, with geography a distant second.


Since you began your career in education, how have the challenges facing young people changed?

The challenges facing young people have changed a great deal over the past 40 years. Competition for places at good universities is so much more intense than it was in my day; the nature of teaching has evolved rapidly in the face of the digital revolution with its instant access to information; and the pressure placed on children through so¬called social media adds a whole new level of complexity to adolescence.


How do you relax when you’re not at work?

Quality time with my wife, Kim; socialising with friends; good books; the theatre; and, when I get the chance, travel.

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