School Rocks


EXG OCT 14 MEET THE HEAD - Credit: Archant

Nicholas Weaver is headmaster at Ipswich School, although he still has secret ambitions to be a rock star. Here he shares more of his hopes and those he has for the students in his care

If you hadn’t become a teacher, what career would you have chosen instead?

My degree is in engineering and I started working for ICI, but secretly, I would have loved to have been a rock musician. I still love playing my guitars and I’ve just taken up singing lessons, so maybe it’s not too late!

Who would you most like to have as a pupil, if you could pick anyone?

I am not sure I want to pick someone famous. Teaching is all about the potential people have ahead of them. I’ve enjoyed teaching pupils from a range of backgrounds and abilities and I would choose anyone with whom I could connect and share a passion for my subject — that is what makes teaching enjoyable.

Was there any type of school dinner that you couldn’t stand?

Pilchards. Too many bones and a strong smell.

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What was your least favourite lesson?

At school I didn’t really understand why we were taught history. I couldn’t see the point of learning a chronology — ‘stamp collecting’ facts which I could just look up. Of course, nowadays there is so much more to history teaching — skills and interpretation which I never touched on — I think that approach would have suited me better.

If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would be the first thing you’d do?

Probably some brisk exercise and enjoy a hearty breakfast. It’s hard to solve the world’s problems on an empty stomach and without the blood pumping through your brain.

Which record would you want with you if you were marooned on a desert island?

This is so difficult, and the answer changes depending on my mood. I’d probably choose Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, as long as I could have a guitar as my luxury item to play many other styles of music that I enjoy.

If you could make one thing disappear from this world, what would it be?

The wasp.

Is there a television programme that you make sure you never miss?

Less so, nowadays. Although I do enjoy QI for a bit of trivia.

What is your favourite film of all time and why?

As a child of the 1970s, I’m a little bit excited about the upcoming Star Wars film, but my all-time favourite is Educating Rita. The acting from Julie Walters and Michael Caine was fantastic and I’ve probably watched this more than any other film.

How do you relax away from work?

With family time, exercise, music and reading books.

What is special about your school?

It is a very happy school. At the heart of our values we have ‘care’ — we never lose sight of the individual, their needs and their potential to grow. We are successful, too, in sport, in the academic and music, but this success does not come at the cost of happiness. This makes it a very fulfilling place to work.

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