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News > Staff News > Q&A with Mr Southgate

Q&A with Mr Southgate

In conversation with Moulsford former Deputy Head.
9 Mar 2022
United Kingdom
Staff News
Colts A (U11 A team) winning the Millfield 7s - March 2011
Colts A (U11 A team) winning the Millfield 7s - March 2011

Sports enthusiast Andy Southgate was a teacher at Moulsford for 13 years from 1998 through to 2011. Starting off as a history teacher, he went on to become Head of History, Director of Sport, and then spent his last 4 years as Deputy Head in charge of Pastoral Care. We caught up with him to ask about his time at Moulsford and find out what he was doing now.
 

Can you tell us what are you doing now?

After Moulsford, I went to Blundell’s Prep School, where I am now in to my 11th year as the Head Master, and still teach History to Year 6. I live in Devon with my wife Sarah, who is doing teacher training at the moment, and our two children. Lottie is hoping to study medicine when she leaves school next year, and my youngest Harry is a cricket lover, a passion which was ignited whilst living in Lodge Cottage at the top of the driveway next to the 1st XI cricket square. Whilst most of my life revolves around school, I still enjoy a hack on the golf course in my spare time.

How would you describe your time at Moulsford?

The atmosphere working at Moulsford was pretty special, not only were you in an extraordinary setting, but I also had the privilege of working with a great group of people. I have very happy memories from my time there. The people made the school so much fun to be part of and the energy and drive that they all brought made it a unique place to work.

What other aspects do you think made the place special?

I was lucky enough to work there when Mike Higham was Headmaster, and he ensured that both the staff and boys had incredible opportunities to develop and thrive. There was a positive and encouraging atmosphere, which was really vibrant and great to be a part of it.

Can you share some of your fondest memories at the school?

For me, coaching the First XV rugby for 10 years was a real highlight, and I remember well the great camaraderie of the team, whatever the result. On tour in South Africa, I recall the day we played in pouring rain in front of a fairly hostile Riversdale crowd. We were given a dining hall to warm up in so we moved the furniture and tried to prepare the boys for what lay ahead. Against all odds, we beat an imposing opposing team and their supporters. The boys were bursting with pride, which as their coach, was a privilege to be part of. Our parents were pretty happy as well!

It has been wonderful to see some of those boys then go on to great success in representative rugby.

What did you enjoy most about teaching History?

I was always keen to bring history to life, and enjoyed taking the boys onto the front field by the river to re-enact the Battle of Hastings with the help of tackle shields and a selection of balls to hurl. I still teach History and try to make sure I get the children animated through different role plays, often involving a certain amount of chaos and mayhem but always plenty of fun.

How do you think Moulsford changed during your time there?

The school modernised hugely in that time, in terms of curriculum development, the improved facilities with greater use of the river and improved tech facilities, as well as an increased focus on the pastoral side. It moved in a very positive direction and the appointment of some exceptional teachers was absolutely key to that.

How would you describe the ethos amongst the teachers?

‘Work hard, play hard’ you might say! The school had a wonderful group of staff, and we had great fun but also worked extremely hard. People really bought into that culture and it was a really important part of what made the school so special.

Are there any moments you would prefer to forget?

One springs to mind - dressing up in a full drag outfit alongside Chris Symonds in a panto nearly 20 years ago. Hopefully the photos have been lost although I imagine that Clare Symonds has them stored away somewhere. 

Can you share a ridiculous moment at school?

Whilst driving back from the Packwood Haugh 7s in Shrewsbury, I missed the motorway turning not once but twice. Fortunately, the boys were totally oblivious to our two hour delayed return. Maybe the parents weren’t quite so …

What might the boys remember you for at school?

Possibly being quite vocal on the side-line during matches – I have mellowed with age! I had a habit of developing nicknames for the boys, a few of which stuck with them for years. Apologies if they have lasted a lifetime! Hopefully, they will remember me as a decent guy who wanted the best for them.

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