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Meet Adrian Norris, head of Boarding and Sixth Form at Whitgift School, Croydon

PUBLISHED: 13:34 31 July 2013 | UPDATED: 13:34 31 July 2013

Adrian Norris

Adrian Norris


The adventurous Adrian Norris would have been a sports star or global traveller if he hadn’t entered teaching. Having spent 18 years at Whitgift School in Croydon, the Head of Sixth Form and Boarding can see a day when Twitter is a thing of the past...

If you hadn’t become a teacher, what do you think you would have done instead?

I think my ideal job, as for many young men when at school, would have been to be a professional sportsman, and play rugby for Harlequins and England. Or, looking back now, and although I have no expertise in this area, I would really like to have been a natural history TV presenter, travelling the world making programmes, showing others just what a fantastic and diverse world we live in.

What were your favourite lessons when you were at school?

Physical education without a doubt. I was very fortunate to be educated on the banks of the River Stour in Suffolk, and had a fantastically dedicated set of sports teachers. Sport teaches you so much about yourself, as well as how to interact with others, and particularly about the difference between right and wrong. So all the ingredients for a healthy and fulfilling life!

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

No. Being at boarding school meant you went hungry if you disliked certain meals. In fact, at certain times, it was more about quantity than quality! If there was something now I wouldn’t voluntarily choose to eat, it would have to be semolina!

How do you like to relax?

There is nothing like wrapping up warm and going for a long walk on a wintery day. Down in the West Country, you can walk by the coast, or on the moor, and watch the wildlife go about its business. Followed, of course, with a drink by a roaring open fire.

Which is your favourite film?

It has to be Star Wars. ‘Beat you can’t’ a bit of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and, of course, Yoda!

So, your Desert Island Disc…?

There is nothing like a chorus of Jerusalem to get the hairs on the back of your neck to rise, and make you want to sing just that little bit louder.

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

If I was Prime Minister for a day, I would ensure the sports legacy and the ‘feel-good’ factor from the summer of 2012 continues year on year. I felt very privileged to experience the London Olympics first-hand, and see former pupil, Lawrence Okoye, compete in the men’s discus final. I think the government shouldn’t underestimate just how getting behind Team GB brought individuals and communities together around the country.


School of thought...

Maths or English? Maths. They say your teachers set you on a path and it was always maths for me.

School dinners or packed lunch? The range and quality of our meals here at Whitgift means there is no question, it has to be school dinners. In fact, the school dinners are so good, I lose weight and go hungry during the holidays!

Newsletter or Twitter? Twitter is the way forward, and with the pace of development in social media, who knows what we will be using in two or three years’ time. Twitter may well be a thing of the past!

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