The Leys

Meet the Teachers

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Explore the interviews with some of our teaching team:

Alex Welby - Head of Classics

Life before The Leys?

5 Years at Oxford, one year studying Law and four studying Classics. Then 14 years at Wellington College before coming to the Leys.

What do you enjoy most about your subject/job?

Any contact with pupils, especially conversations and shared jokes.

Favourite thing about The Leys?

Institutional humility and humanity.

Passions/Hobbies

My children, great literature, especially in Latin and Greek, swimming, the Botanic Gardens and everything in it, making vegetable soup, seeking the perfect burger, flat white coffee, spiritual/religious thought and reflection, music, especially piano as my wife is a professional pianist and I have played semi-professionally from time to time in the past.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

Making coffee in my own hipster café cum bookshop in a backstreet in Cambridge

Claire Leigh - Head of English

Life before The Leys

After working in both Public Relations and Customer Services in the travel industry, I missed English so much that I had to rethink my career! I loved my job, travelling abroad and meeting people but felt I should probably acquire more qualifications so I finally gave in to the urge and applied for a PGCE at Cambridge. This led on to a Masters in Education and jobs at Comberton Village College and The Perse School. I can honestly say that I have not looked back since that first day of training; it just clicked! Teaching is definitely my passion.

What do you enjoy most about your subject?

It has to be the variety of responses that it is possible to elicit from a class of students from one text - that and the laughter that often accompanies lively discussion and disagreement! The different interpretations and the personal reactions from pupils are so rewarding.

What do you enjoy most about The Leys?

Gorgeous surroundings, friendly, happy pupils and supportive, talented colleagues. When I started, everyone seemed so pleased to be here - and to welcome me to the Leys community. A real treat for me is stepping out of the department on a warm summer's afternoon and surveying a cricket match in full swing on the field: bliss!

Passions/Hobbies

Reading, theatre, cinema, dance, book-shop trawling, being in the garden and spending time with friends and family.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

Unfulfilled!

William Earl - Director of the Wider Curriculum

Life before The Leys?

Born in Scunthorpe, I read Geography at Loughborough University before doing my PGCE at St Catharine's College, Cambridge from where I was appointed to teach Geography at The Leys in 1997.

What do you enjoy most about your subject/job?

As Director of the Wider Curriculum I have a chance to drive forward the 'fun' parts of school life outside the curriculum - which are central to creating the rounded young people we see here. Helping with, and supporting, the range of activities on offer is rewarding given the broad, all-round education we aim to provide.

Equally being in the classroom is hugely enjoyable. The variety of topic areas that are taught in Geography alongside its contemporary nature mean it is one of the most up to date and dynamic subjects to teach giving many issues for me and the pupils to grapple with.

Favourite thing about The Leys?

The people and community - given the size of the school you get to know colleagues and pupils well meaning there is a very good atmosphere within the school.

Passions/Hobbies

Some might say my biggest passion is supporting Scunthorpe United! I am a keen sportsman who enjoys playing as well as watching a range of sports including cricket, hockey, rugby and football. Alongside this, travel is something I enjoy and in recent years have been to South East Asia, Australia and South Africa. Good comedy, music and film also fill any spare time I may have. 

If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?

Probably working in travel or journalism though I always liked the idea of being a full time cricket umpire. Definitely something that involved being outside!

Paul Crosfield - Director of Studies

Life before The Leys?

I was Head of Modern Languages at Cranleigh School in Surrey and, prior to that, I taught at Oakham School in Rutland and Strathallan School in Perthshire.

What do you enjoy most about your subject/job?

Even in the face of the relentless spread of English to every corner of the globe, there is something deeply satisfying about speaking other languages and imparting this love of languages to others. There is still no better passport to success and happiness in another country than being able to communicate in the local language. Providing a key for pupils to be able to fling open those doors and start discovering what lies beyond is still what gets me out of bed in the morning.    

Favourite thing about The Leys?

It is very hard to pinpoint one particular aspect, but I realise I am incredibly lucky to work in such a friendly and supportive community right in the heart of one of Britain’s most vibrant cities.

Passions/Hobbies

I have always been a keen singer, starting my musical life as a chorister at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. I now sing with The Cambridge Philharmonic Chorus, our own Chapel Choir at The Leys and a small a cappella group in Cambridge.

I was a cross country runner at previous schools and was in charge of the Cross Country teams at all three of them; I now spend more time on my bike, doing battle with the headwinds which sweep across East Anglia.

If I had the remotest clue how cars fit together and if I had a bottomless pot of money, I would collect classic cars, but as neither of those things is the case, I have to admire them from a distance instead.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

When I was at school, I liked to imagine myself as a diplomat. I often wonder how it would have turned out had I actually gone down that route. 

Paul Davies - Head of Biology

Life before The Leys

Taught at four other schools. Most memorably as Head of Science and Head of Hockey at Peterhouse in Zimbabwe.

What do you enjoy most about your subject/job?

Questions I do not know the answer to. Going off syllabus.

Favourite thing about The Leys

Facilities, location and the grounded, respectful and tolerant pupils that emerge

Passions/Hobbies

I am a ppl holder. I also have a passion for Southern Africa, extreme safaris and racket sports

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

A vet or 'flying vet'

Rowland Adamson - Head of Science

Life before The Leys? 

​10 years a student; PhD researching Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis; Head of Chemistry @ independent co-ed boarding school

What do you enjoy most about your subject/job? 

Never ever the same from one day to another, or one year to the next; being kept on my toes by the challenges thrown at me by Leysians; the opportunity to be creative, productive, effective and being able to work hard in the pursuit of excellence; working individually with pupils of all differing abilities and seeing them blossom; the shared pride and rewards of pupil successes. 

Favourite thing about The Leys? 

The ethos: community, spirit; friendliness and the relaxed but purposeful relationship between pupils and teachers

Passions/Hobbies

Chemistry - well really organic chemistry and its logical nature; Doncaster Rovers, Leeds United, Yorkshire Cricket; All sports [Thank you Sky, ESPN, BT, Premier and all the others I watch now ​I can no longer play]; Fine dining with friends; Indian cuisine; cooking [its chemistry really]; Pub Quizzes and puzzles; challenging myself intellectually; travel [I think I'm becoming Canadian], the ceramics of the Arts & Crafts period [Martin Brothers; Christopher Dresser] and Art Deco [Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper] through to the more modern work of Hans Coper, Lucie Rie and Troika.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

Utterly miserable. It is the greatest job in the world [and the holidays aren't bad too]. What would I be doing if I wasn't teaching? I haven't the faintest idea, but I think I would be bored.

Russell McAlinden – Head of Outdoor Education

Life before The Leys?

I was a teacher of PE & Outdoor Education at Bridlington School.

What do you enjoy most about your subject/job?

Need I say more! I get to spend my days doing what I love in the outdoors!  I enjoy taking a person on a journey of self-discovery through Outdoor Education, seeing them learning about what they can do and how to overcome challenges.

Favourite thing about The Leys?

Good coffee at Belgarnies (the café in Great Hall). Oh and some great people and pupils.

Passions/Hobbies

Mountaineering, anything outdoors & spending time with my family.

If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?

Stuntman! 

Trevor Dunn - Head of Psychology

Life before the Leys?
I have spent the majority of my life teaching Psychology within schools, sixth form colleges and the university sectors, and I have also worked as a Consultant in Harley Street and a number of clinics in London.

What do you enjoy most about your subject/job?
The subject matter is always advancing, and Psychology can’t really fail to relate to the students and their other school subjects and life in general. I get a great deal of satisfaction when a student informs me they intend to go on to study the subject at university, which fortunately over the years has happened a lot!


Favourite thing about the Leys?
Very supportive common room and school community.

Passions/Hobbies
I enjoy reading; psychology, philosophy and science texts and research papers, watching Chelsea F.C. and spending quality time with my wife and two dogs Harry & Larry.

If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?
When I was at school my first thoughts (being sports captain) were becoming a P.E. teacher, then decided that studying Politics at University would be a better idea, and ended up studying Psychology!. However, on reflection I think I would be a Criminal Lawyer.  


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