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Rodney Harris

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Background. Grew up in Bromley and went to St Dunstan’s College. Enjoyed school. Teachers who made an impression. [2:10] Cambridge application process and the seventh term, to revise for the Oxbridge exam. [4:06] Teaching at a school in Beckenham between school and Cambridge. Assisting the owner of the school with his historical research. Life at Cambridge. [5:47] First posting was at Marlborough, his first experience of a boarding school. Always something to do. Changes at Marlborough over the 9 years he was there. [8:08] Being headhunted by Jim Cogan, Deputy Head, at Westminster. Long notice period requested, to prepare to change the Geography department at Westminster. [9.53] Problems with the Geography department’s teaching. Disappointing exam results. [11:06] Returning to London. [12:00] Perceptions of Geography by other Masters, and how this changed over the years. [13:13] Head of Department meetings. Much more combative than today. [15:24] Met Debbie, future wife, at Marlborough. She moved to London with him. [16:57] The founding of Purcell’s, the new girls’ boarding house. [19:42] Living at Purcell’s with Debbie, now Mistress in charge of girls at Westminster, and their children. [22:22] Changes to girls’ experience of Westminster over the years. Increasing focus on grades. [23:38] Parents becoming more involved. [25:13] Specific challenges with girls – discipline and pastoral. Often more easily upset. More focused. [27:50] The selection process. [29:00] His changing roles. [31:15] Head Masters’ different leadership styles. David Summerscale, Tristram Jones-Parry and Stephen Spurr. [33:51] Becoming Director of Studies. The importance of seeing people in their own classroom and space. [37:18] Quieter tone of Heads of Departments meetings today. Importance of autonomy for departments at Westminster. [40:20] Changes to school life. More societies, music and sport. [43:43] China project. Development of the project. Lessons learnt. Different working styles in China. [51:29] Decision to become the Head Master there. [53:02] Learning from previous Head Masters. Empowering those beneath you. [54:32] The privilege of living in London, at the heart of it all. Being close to theatres, cinemas, cricket.

Elias Kulukundis

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Background and family in Greece. [2:55] Relations with boys in his house. Conditions for boarders. More Spartan than might be normal today. [4:50] The ‘60s. Changing times and changing teaching styles at Westminster. [7:06] Portraits of specific teachers. Several intellectuals who had left Europe before WWII. [9:40] He didn’t engage very much in extra-curricular activities. Cross-country running in Grove Park. [11:55] Commute to school with chauffeur. [12:48] No discussion of homosexuality at Westminster in the ‘60s. No homophobic bullying. Atmosphere of unspoken tolerance. [16:15] Lack of awareness about changing legislation around homosexuality. Coming out to his parents and father’s concern for his future. [19:55] Less involved in societies because of being a day boy. [20:32] Tolerance of religious minorities at the school. Perhaps partly due to European teachers. [22:30] John Carleton, Head Master, a remote figure for most boys. [23.53] More open-minded teaching than in some other public schools. [25:14] Factory visits during a harsh winter when sport was not possible. [25:47] Fewer social relationships outside Rigaud’s. Social life tended to be contained within your house. [26:49] Discipline and changing relationship to senior boys during the ‘60s. [28:28] Reaction to a serious misdemeanour surprisingly lenient and understanding. [29:57] Involvement of parents in school life. Parents’ evenings. [31.29] Alexander, friend and future partner, and Richard McKenna, a group of three close friends. [33:15] Tinned food at school. Unpleasant but edible. [33:56] Friendship with Alex. [34:44] Alex’s friendship with Theo Zinn, Classics Master. [33:58] Life after Westminster. [37:00] A favourite memory of Westminster: visiting Fortnum and Mason’s with Alex.

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