Posted: Wednesday, Sep 06, 2017

A very warm welcome to Dr Tim Jefferis who has just joined Harrow Bangkok from Oswestry School in Shropshire, UK. Prior to his arrival with us, Dr. Jefferis spent six years as Deputy Head Academic at Oswestry. Before that, he was at Uppingham for nine years, the last five of which he spent running a boys’ boarding house.

Until his arrival, Dr. Jefferis had only ever taught in England. As we caught up with him during his busy first few days getting to know our wonderful school, we couldn’t help but wonder why he chose to take his career overseas at this point in time and why Harrow Bangkok?  

‘I guess 6 years is quite long enough in one school. Jo, my wife, and I had thought about going overseas about a decade ago, but for one reason or another never got round to it. It so happens that our personal circumstances now are such that we can do it – not least because our children are older.

Our daughter, Ruth, is currently on her gap year and Jacob, our son, is studying for his A levels in the UK. Next month Ruth begins cycling the length of Chile in South America. In fact, the reason that Jo has not come straight out to Thailand with me is because she will be driving Ruth’s support vehicle!

As a family we have always loved travelling. Oswestry gave us a window onto a kind of different world in terms of schooling- an international world, one which we hadn’t seen before. Although Oswestry is smaller than Harrow Bangkok, it is very international - 50% of the pupils at Oswestry board and they come from all over the place, including a few from Thailand.

It was really the Harrow name, and the kudos attached to it, that convinced me to apply to work at the school. In fact, this was the only overseas school I applied for. The Harrow name is a kite mark of quality and respectability in education: if Harrow UK are prepared to put their name to a school, it must have substance.

Dr Tim Jefferis

 

Harrow Bangkok has never had a second master before – can you elaborate on the role?

Obviously, being a new role it will take shape as I begin to own it, but I think that what Mr. Farley would like me to do is synthesise systems a bit more. Rapidly we are becoming a big school. The Lower and Upper Schools almost operating as separate entities, when in fact they form part of a unified whole; they operate on the same campus, under the same banner. The more we can do things in a joined up way: speak to each other, use the same systems and have a Harrow Bangkok way of doing things, the better it will be for us all. I see a lot of my role being about systems because here they have become a bit dispersed and I want to start pulling them back together.

I will also be getting my teeth into the environmental policy of the school and the compliance framework, two things I have been heavily involved with in the UK albeit that here there are subtle differences. Communications - The Harrovian and the website - will also fall under my remit.

I am also teaching computing right down to Year 6. If I am honest, I am more worried about that aspect of the job than any other!

 

You are also going to be really involved in boarding – were you a boarder yourself?

Yes, I was a boarder at Harrow in the UK. I look back on my own boarding experience fondly. I started boarding because my dad was a doctor. He got a placement in San Francisco when I was seven. He decided he didn’t want to take me over there to start in the American school system, so I started boarding in England instead.

Since then I have picked up a lot of experience in boarding. I really love it. Boarding makes a good school even better because it is a totally different way of looking at education. School is no longer just somewhere where you go to work; it is somewhere you live. Schools that have boarding often have better extra-curricular programmes as well as more going on at the weekends. I am really excited about this part of my role. I would like to get more children to join us in the boarding houses. I know in Bangkok travel times are pretty horrific, so it is going to be about promoting boarding and educating parents and students on its benefits in order to ensure that boarding is a key feature of a Harrow Bangkok education.

Tim Jefferis as a student at Harrow UK

 
You are going to be exceedingly busy! How do you use your precious free time?

The kinds of things that I have to do professionally, I like doing anyway. I also enjoy fiddling around with computers, I do like to exercise, I also like to get out on a bike or do something like that to clear my mind. I find swimming is excellent for that; putting my mind in neutral.

 
Finally, what do you think you are like to work with?

One word: ‘digital’ sums it up. Embrace the cloud.

 

 

 

Last updated: 11 Sep 2017 15:11