St Andrew’s Prep’s new Headmaster, Tom Gregory, discusses how his own fond memories of being a pupil at the school he now heads-up have made him realise his dream of becoming a teacher

You’re brand new to St Andrew’s Prep, what have you lined up as your first tasks for the new year? My first task is to learn everyone’s name, especially the children’s. I think I am making quite a good start but the children are being very patient. I will also be looking to build on the excellent work of my predecessor. He finished the year with one last inspection for which we received the highest possible rating, so I have a very solid foundation from which to build. 

You haven’t always been a teacher – why the career change? I always wanted to be a teacher but fell into Investment Banking after university. However, a mixture of a long commute from Suffolk to the City and the market downturn in 2007 made me reassess my career and I followed my dream to become a teacher. I just wish I had done it sooner. 

What drew you to St Andrew’s Prep? I always wanted to be Headmaster of St Andrew’s Prep but I never, ever thought I would actually have the chance. I am very lucky. I have incredibly fond memories of my school days here as a pupil and, while some of the fabric of the school has changed, it looks and feels the same and the school’s ethos and values mirror my own. 

As a former St Andrew’s pupil, how do you think your own experiences of the school have shaped the head you are today? St Andrew’s provided me with endless opportunities and experiences – in the classroom, on the sports field, on the stage and in the boarding house (despite the fact that I could see my childhood home from the window of my dormitory!). Put simply, I loved every day of my school career and want the same for the children in my care. 

If you had the chance to teach anyone, who would it be? Sir Paul McCartney. I had the pleasure of meeting him once and we chatted for a while and he was one of the most engaging and interesting people I have ever met. I would have loved to have watched him develop into the creative genius that he is. 

Can you tell us about an inspirational teacher from your school days? That’s an easy one. My art teacher from my senior school, Eastbourne College. She was passionate about her subject and she got the very best out of me by understanding and working with me – especially when I was not showing the required level of enthusiasm! I found my old school reports recently and I can still feel the genuine warmth and care in what she wrote. 

What do you like to do when you’re not at work? I like to run as it gives me time to think; and running along the seafront, which is just a stone’s throw from the school, makes me appreciate how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country. 

What are you most looking forward to this coming year? Watching the children at St Andrew’s develop their knowledge, skills and character. I believe that happy children thrive and achieve, so I want to make sure St Andrew’s continues to be a friendly, kind and happy school.

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