Hound & Porter Interview – Adrian Floyd, Head at The Hawthorns
- You have been the Head at The Hawthorns for 7 years now and can you tell me what you have enjoyed the most?
Watching children thrive, cooperate and compete at School. It is always a privilege to support families and see children reach their potential. Meeting past pupils at senior schools and hearing their fondness for their experience at The Hawthorns is especially rewarding.
- Have you always worked within the education sector?
Almost! I grew up in a prep school as a son of a Prep Head. My brother is also a Head of a prep school. But I did manage to escape and run a bar in a restaurant in Oxford for a year!
- In your opinion, what unique educational opportunities does Reigate and the surrounding area offer children?
I think that the space and transport links to London allow both working parents and children to benefit from the local area, where we are fortunate to see so many superb independent schools thrive.
Outside of school learning, how else does our local area enhance family life and why is it a great location to raise young children? Space and sport spring to mind. I suspect children benefit greatly from the space we have here in Surrey and the wonderful sporting clubs around us. They help families to socialise and come together.
- The Hawthorns School has students from the age of 2 to 13 – what would you say the benefit is for children to attend a school with this system?
I am passionate about our children enjoying a proper childhood for as long as possible. Our Upper School (12 and 13-year olds) isn’t awash with screens and the culture of a proper, outdoorsy, active childhood remains the norm. Our 12 and 13-year-old children become accustomed to the duty of responsibility and trusted with the privilege of seniority, developing confidence and self-esteem. They settle quickly into their senior schools and I often find that they make better use of the opportunities available to them there. Children in younger years benefit increasingly as they move up the school because of the influence and contribution made to school life by our 12 and 13-year olds. Who, in turn, benefit from the interactions that occurs between them and the younger children. On the other hand, we are proud of all our children’s achievements both at 11+ and 13+, and seeing 30% gain scholarships at both ages is always gratifying.
- With the introduction of your ‘Forest School’, you encourage children to learn outdoors during school hours. How can local families continue this type of learning across the weekend? Are there particular locations in the area that you would recommend visiting with this in mind?
The British Wildlife Centre and Surrey and Kent Wildlife Trusts provide wonderful opportunities to explore wildlife and nature. The National Trust woods near Outwood and in the surrounding area are all worthy of time walking the dog with the children and enjoying a pub lunch! During school holidays, The Hawthorns regularly offers a Woodland Bushcraft Camp for children to enjoy.
- How does the wider community benefit from the excellent facilities onsite at the school?
I am keen that The Hawthorns is connected with the local community and it is great that we can lend our facilities to local state schools and various clubs to use after the school day and at the weekend, as well as running a local Sports Centre. During the school holidays we use the School’s facilities to provide holiday camps and specialist courses that welcome children from all over the local area.
- As part of your school aims, you state that you strive to foster a sense of social responsibility in your pupils and aim to engage with and contribute to the local community through a variety of projects and activities. Can you tell me some more about the community-focused initiatives you have been involved with recently?
This is an important area and I am delighted that last term was busy with fundraising activities. Each year on Founders’ Day, children work in houses to raise funds for World Vision, a charity that supports the education of children who might not otherwise be able to go to school. Both Harvest Festival and Christmas are a time to be thankful. Children worked with Age Concern to send hampers to local vulnerable adults and made significant donations to local foodbanks through Loveworks and St Matthew’s. Cake sales raised money for Children in Need and mufti days for Young Minds and Save the Children. We are hoping to be able to reinstate Hawthorns Heroes next term, where in the past children have helped to tidy grass verges in Bletchingley Village, created sibling packs for a neonatal unit and washed cars to raise money.