57 / Management Style

This post was contributed by my brother:

I first met Geoff in the early 1960s when, as Captain of Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club, I led the team onto the pitch only to find him on the centre spot looking at his watch. In those Corinthian days, this sort of behaviour was unheard of. After getting the game underway, he put his whistle in his pocket and just ran about the pitch having a quiet word in the ear of any transgressor, sometimes using his stock phrase, "It will be an early bath for you my boy if you do that again." The game flowed from end to end without respite, until one of our beefy props ran past me and said, "Next time you get the ball Ed, kick it in the river".

I relate this story, because his approach to the free-flowing game of his beloved rugby football, was also typical of the way in which he ran his schools. He was always firm on direction, but guided us all with a lightest of touches on the tiller. Through this approach he made everyone feel that their contribution was valued and that there was freedom to be creative. It meant that we were prepared to work our socks off for him, hence my reference to the rugby match.

I suppose it all boiled down to the fact that we had someone at the top who knew what they were doing and in whom we could respect and trust. He was truly committed to providing the best for all children, regardless of their ability and through this philosophy helped shape the lives of so many young people. He always fought for the underdog. Many of his colleagues have said that the time they spent working for Geoff were the happiest and most productive days they ever experienced in teaching.

I like to think that when I became a head teacher, much of his vision and approach to management had rubbed off on me.

Geoff with my brother, Ed


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