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Meet the headmaster: Guy Barrett

Headmaster of Heywood Prep School, Guy Barrett’s childhood heroes were Evil Knievel and Daley Tompson. He feels that alongside a ‘sport for all’ programme, sports should have a competitive element.

Where did you go to school? My father was in the forces so we moved around a lot when I was young. Just before my ninth birthday I went to Warminster School as a boarder and stayed there through to the end of my A-levels.

What is your earliest school memory? Being in my Kindergarten class with Mrs Plum. She was a tough teacher but if you were well behaved and worked hard then you were allowed to play with the toy cars and the racetrack. I blame her for my interest in motor racing!

What did your school reports say? They were pretty good but most of the academic subjects used to start with the preface ‘When focused…’ I remember that I used to read my reports backwards starting with the games and PE as that was the most important thing to me.

Did any individuals make a lasting impact on you? I had an English teacher during my GCSEs called Mrs Betenson who seemed to be able to get the best out of me. I do not remember her lessons being any more exciting than other teachers’, but what she did do was create a ‘can do’ feeling in the classroom. I felt that she always had time for me; it made me want to produce my best work for her.

Who were your childhood heroes? Evil Knievil and Daley Thompson.

Did you always want to go into teaching? No, although I thought about it in sixth form. I chose instead to go down the sport management route instead. Fortunately I had an epiphany moment when working at the University of Wisconsin. I was not particularly enjoying my job of managing the university’s sports centre and I realised that the best thing about my working week was running the children’s sport sessions on the weekends. The rest, as they say, is history.

What do you enjoy most and least about your job? I still enjoy teaching and I ensure that I teach at least one lesson per week in every class in the school. It really helps me to know the children and for them to see me as more than just the head of the school. It also means that I really know what is going on in the school


and in the classrooms. I am not sure that I have a least favourite part of my job but the paperwork can be pretty relentless.

What is unique about Heywood Prep? The school prides itself on the relationships between the staff and pupils. As a result we are able to nurture the children, find what is special about each one and build on that. We also put a great deal of importance on including the parents in the school. We want everyone involved with the school to feel valued and to be part of the Heywood family.

You are education secretary for a day... What changes would you make? First, I would ensure all schools provide wraparound care from 8am to 6pm to help working parents. Second, I would reintroduce a competitive element to sports alongside an inclusive ‘sport for all’ programme. I do not see the two as incompatible.

My first child is due in September

What are your hobbies? I am a hockey goalkeeper and play for Chippenham Mens 1st team and for Wiltshire County. That takes up quite a lot of my weekends between September and May. I also like to be handy around the house so do quite a lot of DIY. However, with my first child due in mid-September, I am not sure how much time I will have left for hobbies!

Which book is by your bedside? The Quantum Universe: Everything that can happen does happen by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw. I have always loved the sciences and have found this area of physics fascinating. It is a shame that I can’t seem to read it though without hearing Brian Cox’s Mancunian accent in my head!

• Visit Above: Headmaster Guy Barrett, hockey goalie

WILTSHIRE LIFE Schools Supplement October 2012

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