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HEAD Space with The King’s School, Canterbury

Peter Roberts, Head of The King’s School, Canterbury, tells us what makes him tick at school and beyond

Who or what inspired you to teach?

At University I joined a scheme to give exam tuition to children who were struggling at their schools in Cowley: this was a formative experience for me.

What sort of music do you listen to?

French ballades – Édith Piaf, Charles  Trenet, Serge Gainsbourg and Barbara.

“Know yourself so that you can give to others”

Favourite play or musical?

I should say one of Christopher Marlowe’s plays as I am the Head of King’s, but Ben Jonson’s Alchemist is my favourite play.

What is your personal motto in life?

Know yourself so that you can give to others.

If you could only bring three things to a desert island, what would they be?

The Essays of Michel de Montaigne, a recording of The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and a photo of my wife and three daughters.

If you were invisible for the day what would you do?

Go back stage during a production at the Royal Opera House.

Greatest all time movie?

Robert Hamer’s Kind Hearts and Coronets starring Dennis Price and Alec Guinness.

One thing you always make sure you have on your desk?

As a keen calligrapher I always make sure my favourite pen is within arm’s reach.

Your favourite school moment this year?

It has to be the achievements of two pupils (one former, and one present). Former pupil Millie Knight (OKS) taking to the slopes of Pyeongchang at the Winter Paralympic Games and returning with three medals.

Watching Francis Bushell (6A) perform in the Woodwind Final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year. Both are wonderful examples of the diverse talents of King’s pupils.

Favourite food?

I make a rather tasty tarte tatin.

Why, in your opinion is your school best?

The King’s School, Canterbury has the best formal and informal sense of community and pursuit of excellence in a renaissance way of any of the schools I have had the pleasure of serving.

What three things do you need to be a successful headmaster?

1. Try to be omnipresent

2. Accept that you are not omniscient

3. Be sure to listen

In one sentence, what is The King’s School ethos?

Our aim is to anchor a 21st century education within the illustrious history of the oldest school in the country, dating from 597AD.

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