Back to The Staffroom

Atomi Brainwaves Podcast S1 E3: Dr Tim Hawkes OAM on School Leadership

By Thomas O'Donahoo on 6 February 2020Atomi Brainwaves PodcastUKstaffroomNSWstaffroom

Dr Tim Hawkes OAM, former headmaster of 20 years at The King's School and author of several educational bestsellers shares his wisdom and experience on the topic of what it takes to run a successful school, from placing a premium on life skills development to the importance of having the right team around you.



Atomi Brainwaves Podcast S1 E3: Dr Tim Hawkes OAM on School Leadership
Atomi Brainwaves Podcast: Dr Tim Hawkes OAM on School Leadership

Liked what you heard? Listen to more Atomi Brainwaves Podcasts now.
Read more on all our podcast guests here.


Tim's books can be found on Amazon at the following link.

Short on time? Have a quick read through instead:

Simon Hennessy:

Hello there. And welcome to Atomi Brainwaves, a podcast about education for educators where we tackle a variety of issues in the world of pedagogy. We're recording here in the studio at Atomi, an online resource for second-level learning used by students and teachers alike to help make education awesome and engaging. We provide content for schools and students in Australia and the U.K in the form of short, digestible, syllabus specific videos and classroom activities. I'm your host, Simon. And I'm joined today by our very special guest, Dr Tim Hawkes, former headmaster of 20 years at the King School Parramatta, founding chair of the Australian Boarding Schools Association and published author of a number of educational bestsellers. Welcome, Tim.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Great to be with you, Simon. Tim, Dr Tim. Well, you know, Tim's totally adequate. Well, I'll tell you what, they call me a lot of other things if you look at the back of toilet doors in a number of schools, but I mean, let's stay with Tim, shall we?  

Simon Hennessy:

All right, for the time being, we'll stick with Tim, we'll see how we go. So Tim as we could kind of hear from there, you've had quite a long journey through education and we're going to dive into later on the kind of theme of what it takes to run a successful school. But before we do, I was wondering if you could kind of briefly run us through what got you into teaching and sort of an exposition of your journey in education through the years.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Yeah, sure. Well, I'm an Aussie boy, South Australian and went to Bordertown. Interestingly enough, so did Tim Hawkes is my name, but a certain Bob Hawke also went to Bordertown. And his father, like my father, was a reverend gentleman there.  So there it is. It all happens in Bordertown, Bordertown Junior school soon gave way to Woomera area rocket range when my dad took up a chaplaincy in the Australian army there. And where I cook my brains out for three years and then Malaya for a few years and then ended up interesting enough in England because my bad transferred across to the British Chaplan's department. So I went to another King school, the King School, Rochester. A school marvellous in its mediocrity in all things. It was very good. However, Simon, I'm going to tell you, very good. Tell me you're ready for this, hang onto your teeth because I'm going to tell you it was actually very good at being, drum roll, old. It was founded in 604. Would you believe that? I mean, I'm talking 604.

Simon Hennessy:

AD or BC?

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Well, I don't know, I'm not to sure about that one, but not a lot seems to change since that day, I've got to tell you, but anyway, I went there. Then I went up to Durham, where I majored in rugby union and bar keeping, which was just sensational, but  I did an Honours BEd program there. Met my wife, Jane, and look what sent me up there was I actually was at a crossroads when I finished year 12 and I, you know, I only even back then I was kind of aware that each day, in a sense, you're writing your eulogy. I know it sounds a bit serious, I suppose what I'm saying is you know what is it that you want to leave in your wake? And I just didn't want to necessarily grow bananas or make ball bearings. Although both those things are actually pretty vital in life, I actually really wanted to serve in the lives of children. I actually had worked enough with children in youth work to recognise that I was tolerably able to connect with them and really enjoyed it. And indeed, that proved to be the case and so I then went and taught at Loughborough Grammar School in the Midlands in basically geography, humanities, bit a sports coaching and things and then came back to Australia to teach at Knox Grammar School and became a boarding master and a year coordinator that sort of thing and then, at the tender age of 35 far too early, really, quite frankly, absolutely far too early. I was offered the headship of quite a reasonable sized co-educational school in Victoria, State Leonards College, and that was just the most enormous privilege and that community, God bless you down there at St Leonards College South Road,  Victoria, because you received me with tolerance which I didn't deserve, and I learned a great deal about headship. I was there for eight years, absolutely loved it and then was headhunted, really, to pick up the leadership of the King School and I went to Kings in 1998.

Simon Hennessy:

Quite a journey.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Well, that's the scholastic one. And then, you know, along the way, you sort of did high diplomas in Melanesian frog worship and stuff like that, you know, along the way. Well, the key skills. Yes. And in fact, my PhD,  it's on children's ability to read and understand aerial photographs. Now, look, what better preparation could you possibly have? I also did a British Army officer commissions which told me the gentle art of killing, which in fact was a little bit more useful, actually for roles of headship.

Simon Hennessy:

I understand well that those skills go hand in hand in many ways, I suppose, aerial photography and killing. But I guess, well, quite a journey and taken in lots of different places both here in Australia and abroad, and I guess that kind of leads in nicely into our topic for today, which is what it takes to run a successful school. Because obviously you have so much experience in that regard. And I guess the first thing I wanted to ask you was if we bring it to the individual level, what do you reckon the most important skills are needed in an individual to run a successful school?

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Well it's a great question and it probably needs more time than we've got now, Simon. But look, I think there are skills which are personal skills, so there are things like resilience and that is so important. Particularly if you're running relatively high profile schools, which I guess I had the privilege of doing. You've got to have the height of an Ox. I mean, you are. I mean, the media love bad stories about good schools and they're not interested in good stories and so you've got to be resilient and also schools of that level they have many powerful stakeholders, both old boy's parents and so on. So you actually have got to have the capacity to compartmentalise in many ways, to go home and to say right that that was work. I now need to just invest in your own children and your own marriage and family. So you've gotta have the quality of resilience. I was going to say that one of the most important assets is to be able to drink four cups of coffee before 8am and keep it in a system until after 8pm but that's probably a little trivial. Let's move on.  

Dr Tim Hawkes:

I think other personal skills and I mean you gotta be physically fit. I think you actually got to have good mental acuity. You've actually got to continue to be well-read and engaged with what's going on. I had the privilege of 10 years or so doing political forum with Richard Glover on ABC radio, and that was an absolute blessing, was an absolute gift because I was able, well had to stay informed on matters cause I was fencing and falling with a variety of politicos and I found that just such a wonderful privilege. I think you've also got to look after yourself morally. I think you know when you're in leadership, you can begin to believe your own press and you actually need every now and again to recognise that you shouldn't overstep the mark and you've got to have a really good moral-spiritual background, a firm island in this world swamp from which you can take your bearings and to make your decision. So there's a whole range of personal, I think qualities like that and then they are a range of broader skills that come with running a school and these are pastoral skills.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

You've actually got to like students, be able to get on with them. You know, you've actually got to enjoy working collegially with staff. You've actually got to have high EQ skills. You've actually got to have a degree of empathy. And I know, I know in saying this, goodness I can hear the buttocks grinding out there, people saying, 'no, you don't or you need to be is a CUO with a programmable computer.' Well, I'm here to tell you call me a Luddite or what? But I just do not agree with that song. And I think we do need to have that personal touch and have those EQ skills. You've got to know a lot about teaching and learning and I mean, in the end, the heart of education is, I think, the education of the heart. And so you've got to understand pedagogy and that can be a battle. I can tell you, my last I'd say a dozen years at the Kings School you know, it became very much more a bureaucratic thing, leadership. It became very much more adversarial. It became very much more engaged with lawyers and that lovely relational element of leadership was lost to a rather bleak, transactional style of leadership, which was probably the little notes that I was given that, you know, probably outgrown. I had outgrown leadership of schools. So look, there are a whole range of if you like job-related issues as well as personal issues, which you're going to need if you're going to lead a school,

Simon Hennessy:

It sounds like just an awful lot to balance on a personal level and a lot of kind of balls to keep in the air between all of the different pastoral, moral, all of the various aspects we were talking about there, and that sort of brings me in mind of what I want to ask you next, because I was actually, before coming in here, I was reading an interview of yours where somebody asked you what your motto, and I don't know if you remember this, asked you what your motto in terms of being a headmaster was. And your response was something along the lines of 'you can't do it by yourself,' which I thought was a particularly wise thing to say, but I guess following on from that. I wanted to talk a little bit about the idea of the collective sense, the importance of the team around you, how to find the right people, what you look for in the right people in your team and had to delegate that responsibility amongst the leadership team within the school?

Dr Tim Hawkes:

It's a great question, Simon and in all seriousness, I would not have survived 28 years of headship, but particularly those that know me well, I mean, just ask my wife, Jane, you know, she's still incredulous and you know. 'Hawksey, how on earth did you manage to crack it, to be the headmaster of two schools?' And the answer quite seriously is that, amd I said this actually at my interview at Kings, I said. I can't do the job. I can't do the job of you know, the finances of Kings and the timetable, for goodness sake, I have to take my shoes and socks off to count to 11 because I run out of fingers. So I am not good at a lot of things. But this promise I'll give you. I will put the team together that can do those things. And by God's grace, I was able to do that and I put together a crash-hot executive team and look, I suppose I was afforded that privilege as being a headmaster off on independent school. I guess we are given a little bit more freedom and licence to be able to do that and that was a gift, and I never took that for granted. It was a precious gift, a privilege, and so I put together a very, very talented school executive who's job, I basically told them I said, listen, I'm going to spend the day putting golf balls into coffee mugs,  you guys are going to run the school and make me look better than I am, capiche? And they capiched really well and in all seriousness, it was that collegiality and, the term we use for it is, I guess, synergy. It's where the collective gifts of individuals, not only did they compound upon each other, but they actually sparked the emergence of yet further giftedness. And so I had, on a Wednesday breakfast we would have like a formal cabinet meeting and that was so important, Simon, because what it did was it stopped the growth of silos.  

Dr Tim Hawkes:

So what would happen, was I don't have my bursa and he would hear the if you like the educational imperatives as to why we need something and then the educators who are very free about the expenditure of money, trust me, they would actually hear from the bursa. There's something about the fiscal imperative as to why they shouldn't or couldn't actually, you know, gayly go along and buy two dozen footballs for every student in the school so that was really, really good and so I'd have my chaplain on team, the head of junior school, I'd have my director of studies, my registrar, my deputy, of course, and so on and so forth. And that was brilliant because it stopped this business about you being in your small corner and I being in mine and also, I'd wander in there every now and again and often the usual pattern was that they'd share issues of various portfolios and we'd brainstorm on them. But often I'd say, listen team. I've got a mega problem. What are we going to do about our boarding house? I think we need to amalgamate them. That's going to be so unpopular, how we're going to handle this and so they would come up with all sorts of brilliant ideas. Of course I pretend that they were mine and I presented to the council and away we'd go, you know, And I'd have another year of employment.  

Dr Tim Hawkes:

The other thing I did, Simon, interestingly enough was that I would have on Friday at the King School, and the boys there at King's will know this, at 3:25 on the dot - bang, booming right out across the school there at North Parramatta, and you could have heard it in Hornsby I would put some acid rock on. I mean, just some classic rock because I happen to, like, you know, you know whether it's Hendrix or whatever the Oil put on a bit of the Wall or something and if the boys weren't dancing out of the classroom playing air guitar, I would have failed, you know? You know, volume was not high enough so anyway I would do this and it was just a great way to celebrate the end of the week at Kings and then the boys kind of loved it and even again, they say, Sir are you doing requests? Providing its not music to kill your parents i'll wack it on, you know, and all that sort of stuff. But after that, there would be a period where a bottle of red wine and I'd have the members of my executives those that could make it just drift on into the study. And we would just relax after a pretty demanding week and we'd just chew the cut. And many of our best and generative ideas came from that time, so I'd have the formal time on Wednesday which was very much a formal cabinet meeting type style. But I'd have this very informal, unstructured period, and both were equally generative in terms of ideas,

Simon Hennessy:

In their own way.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

In their own way, yeah.

Simon Hennessy:

That makes a lot of sense. Having those forums, giving you that great opportunity to steal those ideas for yourself.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Trust me people are beginning to understand now, that's how Hawksey survived.  

Simon Hennessy:

Absolutely. But I guess you know another through-line that I'm really hearing in all of this is this idea of skills and how different skills could be pulled together to sort of build the sum that's greater than the whole. That's greater that the sum of its parts rather is what I meant but I know this now is bringing it to the students for a second. I know this is something that you could talk about for days, but on this subject of skills, I know that the notion of building practical life skills in students is something that is really close to your philosophy in terms of running a successful school. So I was wondering if you could briefly touch on that for us a little bit.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Well, you're absolutely right, Simon. I get quite passionate about this my language has been known to deteriorate, but I actually will put it as strong as this I think there has been a manifest betrayal of Australian students by the educational world or by much of the educational world. Now, I don't want to overstate the case but i've stated it pretty forcibly already. Because I think what's happened, particularly with the arrival of the accountability measures such as the NAPLAN exams, the Myschool websites and indeed theHSC league tables or VCE league tables and things like this. These public accountability measures put huge pressure on schools to ensure that they perform well in these areas. And so a significant proportion of our time and energy is put into ensuring that we do. However, when a student leaves school, they are probably not going to be greatly worried about the major imports and exports of Zambia, the curses that split infinitives and the joys of quadratic equations. Probably not indeed. But you know the only certainties in life that there are death and taxes. So let's expand that a little bit and define taxes as financial literacy. So how is it that we allow any school to allow their students to leave without them having a reasonable grounding in financial literacy? You know the small print taketh away? Be careful. The big print may give by the small print taketh away. Management of debt money. How to read a profit and loss sheet, how to budget, how to save, how to invest. We let our students loose into the world. And if the money makes the world go around well, we're understanding now why it's not going around because we're not doing this essential and faithful thing. And what about death? I mean, the reality is it happens, now of course, this is a highly sensitive issue, and it needs to be handled very delicately and aged appropriately. But the reality is that this is a feature in our life and whether we like it or not. And you can start with why is that the goldfish died?Well,  no one fed it during the holiday period kids so what are we learning about that, you know, and that goes for the daffodils too.

Simon Hennessy:

A little too close to my heart, i'mstill coming to terms with that right now.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Quick we need a grief counsellor here Simon. But I mean, you know, when I speak to people and I say, what do you think is the key determinant of wellbeing. And by the time they always say chocolate, of course. You know? Once you get over those sorts of answers, the thing which I hear more than any other is relationships. And by that I mean relationship with themselves, relationships with others, relationships with their God, relationships both virtual - online and face to face. If there's any of those left these days, so do we teach relationships? You know, and look, I mean, you can't study Shakespeare without studying relationships. To a certain extent, I fully grant that, but I  actually fear that in our schools, in preparing our students for exams were forgetting to prepare them for life and such as my conviction in this area that we instituted certainly at Kings, a boys to men programme and we would teach them cooking and car maintenance. We would teach them how to fix a busted plaster wall and a washer and a tap. We teach them manners, you know, food to the mouths. Absolutely Simon food to the mouth, not mouth to the food. All right, mouth closed when you're chewing all of those things. But you know, the arts and crafts of fine dining and manners, basic manners, you know, and these sorts of things and we might scoff at these sorts of things and think good grief this is right up there with pogo sticks and hula hoops, you know, and Bakelite radios. But the reality is that they do make a difference in life and if they, I said to my boys, I did.  

Dr Tim Hawkes:

I would actually set a table in front of the King's men and in the senior there'd be 1200 boys looking at me and I took this exam table and I set it as a fine dining and i'd work my way through the cutlery and all these sorts of stuff, you know, hold up things. And I said, what's this endangered species. What is it? A butter knife, probably haven't seen it before. They'd all say it was a fish knife. Of course. And all these sorts of little things. I might even teach them how to pour wine. And I think you know, it's those things when I meet the old boys from school those are things they remember and those interestingly enough for the things that they treasure. So I think we need to beware that we do not in our schools in Australia. I'm joining linking arms here with I know so many other educators and leaders of great schools in this nation of ours, both state schools and independent schools who actually share my view who are just fed up with the fact that we are being straitjacketed to provide high test scores. Our calling as educators infinitely greater that it's infinitely more wonderful. It's infinitely more demanding, and that is what we've got to prepare our students for life. And here's a little metaphysical twist on the tail, possibly even to prepare them for death. Now there's a good one.

Simon Hennessy:

It'll take us a while to unpick, that right? Indeed. But I guess kind of pulling on that thread a little. You talk there about other school leaders who would be of a similar mindset to you. And I guess, you know, just wondering aloud here, Do you think that this is this idea of building practical life skills? Is that something that needs to be more school driven? Or does it need to be driven more from a policy-making kind of perspective? Should have become part of the curriculum or would that kind of defeat the entire purpose altogether?

Dr Tim Hawkes:

I love devolution generally. I mean, that probably won't surprise you because I was the head of an independent school and I just have been so burnt by turgid, centralised bureaucracies, you know who offered all this assumed progress of a staircase, which is sort of ever going up with but going nowhere on and forgive me, but I honestly we do need I think to operate a high trust model for our schools rather than what I see at the moment which is a low trust model. Centralised control huge masses of reporting, masses of red tape everything which takes us away from teaching and learning. And here we are ticking boxes and filling out forms and doing these sort of things. I'd have to say that when I started as a head of a school 30 odd years ago, I would spend 70% of my time on teaching and learning and 30% of my time on bureaucracy and administration. When I left as headship two years ago, it was the other way around. It was 70% of my time was bureaucracy, red tape and only 30% of my time was teaching learning. And I just think that that's not good enough. So come on, let's cut our school's a bit of flak. It evolved some of the powers and responsibilities to train them. By all means train your heads in how to put together a crash hot budget, financial budget. Train them, you know, and how how to run building programmes and so on. Train them. But put those part of the compulsory training course before they could assume headship. But once you've trained them, once you've equipped them once you have given them good functioning executives to support them, trust them. Let him go, for goodness sake, instead of suffocating them with paperwork. Sorry I'm getting on a bit of a high horse here.

Simon Hennessy:

It's a hot day. Have a drink of water.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Thank you very much. I might have to do that.

Simon Hennessy:

Well, why you're having that drink of water, I guess. I mean, we've already covered this a little bit with some issues he's identified, but around the ideas of the challenges, the principal's face or heads of schools face. And I know something you've talked about is decline in Pisa standards for Australia. I just wanted to kind of pick your brain a little on how these kinds of challenges first of all what they are. Second of all, how you think they can be tackled?

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Well, I think there are some very real challenges, I think in Australian education and, yes, our PISA standards have continued to drift southward and this despite the investment of literally billions of dollars more into education, it clearly doesn't appear to have had on impact Or has it? One's got to recognise that there are a number of variables at work here, not least the capacity of other schools to have improved. So I think we got we've gotta bear that in mind. But having said that, the scores our PISA scores which essentially for those who don't know is a programme for international student attainment. It's a test taken by students in year 10 in the areas of reading, mathematics and science and globally we are about 20th in maths were about, I think, 10th in science and about 12th in English, which isn't too bad. But we have slipped on a number of a number of places over recent years. And so, you know, what would I do and what are the issues?

Look, that is one issue and I think I think one of the things that I have just generally saddened to be, and I know that I'm going to make a lot of enemies and saying this, but I think the Unionisation off much off on the strength of the teacher unions in Australia, has not always been a friend of academic attainment. I know that for example, 90% of my time dealing with teacher unions was union reps coming into the school defending a colleague that I was threatening to remove for incompetence in the classroom. So, in essence, my major, if you like the witness of what the unions were doing was to keep incompetent teachers in the classroom, that was their major job. I mean, as in 90% of the time, that was their major job. Now look that they would get very cross with me saying They say they do many other things as well. But that was my reality.

The reality was in 90% of my interaction with unions was them defending the indefensible. And I think we need to empower heads to both select and fire teachers on the basis of performance. Now that's got to be done fairly and properly, milord, you process. I fully grant that. But nonetheless, it is very difficult to remove incompetency in the classroom and I think we've got it. We've got it. We've got to do something about that.

Secondly, I think we need to reward classroom practitioners that are excellent, find more than we do at the moment. And one of the great ironies of my profession is if you show any competency in the classroom as a teacher. They stopped teaching and they turned you into a headmaster or something dreadful like that, you know, and you're not doing any more teaching, which is an absolute tragedy in so many ways. We really need to have a well remunerated parallel path which keeps quality teachers in the classroom. I think also there are cultural reasons. And I mean one of the reasons why Finland tops the piece it's a monoculture. I mean, they do not have vast numbers off migrants in their country who for whom that you know, there can't big finish on. But we do have an ever-increasing number of new Australians and God bless us think they bring a great deal of richness. But nonetheless there is challenge in that they are often having to sit these tests in their second language something even third language and they often are coming from areas, particularly if there happen to be economic or even political refugees traumatised, and they need a lot of help.

Our lowest-performing state or territory in Australia in relation to the PISA of tests is the Northern Territories, and of course, they've got their own unique issues up there and you've got an issue of Indigeneity and so on and so forth. And that's not a reflection on their first peoples of Australia. It is a reflection on our inability thus far to close the gap between their performance in schools and those of non-indigenous people and that I think you know, that an indictment and we've got to try and do something about that. But I think there are answers out there. I mind by no means pirouetting on the city Harbour Bridge. You know, saying all is lost. I mean, I am excited by the role of the digital revolution is playing in schools and I think that particularly the idea of flipped classroom. So the idea that that learning can occur not just at school but at the home or indeed, anywhere. It's time, time of need, place of need and I think we've got to get onto this and to try and perhaps prize our students' thumbs and fingers away from the Facebook page and get it, get it onto the Wikipedia and looking at the cause of the first World War or whatever. But I think there are some exciting possibilities, particularly the area of online learning and also the great thing about flipped learning and the casing allows you to cage quality lessons so you can actually have the best teacher in Australia teaching quadratic equations.  

There he goes, here we go anyway and so look, we're pretty laid back and the touch of the Crocodile Dundee image about us when people analyse us from overseas and they do and you know what? We probably deserve some of that and the old work ethic is not nearly as strong as it is. I mean, I've just spent some time in Singapore and without, you know, I know about Tiger mums and although I'm not quite sure whether we want to go down that track too much and I thrash him in there and beat them in between and you should be doing four hours of homework every night. I mean, for goodness sake, we've got leave our students time to play into all that sort of stuff. But I think we too readily excuse underperformance, I think way due to readily excuse underperformance. Oh, he was dropped on his head as a baby. He was, You know, I was born a Tory, and whatever, you know, there's always some sort of excuse look and the same with a piece of test. I was just reading before I came here a few articles about peace. Oh, it's nothing like the disaster people are saying you did it well, actually, there are wake up calls here and we have got to be honest and tell us as we can do better and if we spent as much energy on improvement as we do excusing ourselves and I think way might advise ourselves significantly.

So I think there are some cultural issues and the honouring if you like of education in seeing it as a treat. I know the when I speak to many new Australians and we had them both the schools that I lead, they absolutely treasured education. They saw it as a means of escaping poverty. They saw it as a means off personal advancement on also as a family. And we think Australia just all in a sense take it for granted. and perhaps we've got to stop doing that.

Simon Hennessy:

Yeah, it's very, very a lot of really great food for thought in there a couple.,I mean, what you're saying that flipped learning really speaks to what we're all about here at Atomi as well. This idea of using the online resource and to take learning outside of the classroom and support what happens in the classroom. So I mean, definitely agree on a number of things there. I guess and I mean, this sort of ties in a little bit to what we've been talking about all along. But just a wrap of our conversation around how to run a successful school I wanted to bring it back to the individual idea and talk a little bit about the idea of learning from experience and you know, I guess my question being what is the best way for principal to learn over time. Take the positives from their experience. Learn from the negatives too

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Well, I mean, it's a great question, but I think you're going to make as a teacher a senior teacher, as a member of a school executive, as a head of a school, you're going to make mistakes. And I think you've got to recognise that we've all seen the short of the glory of God, to use the good book and that none of us are perfect and you've got to learn to forgive yourself. You've gotta learn to apologise. I think, to recognise that when you've made a mistake and to apologise and to move on and not allow the ghosts of the past to haunt you because they can and they can haunt you and cripple you and prevent you from having the emotional energy and courage and self-advocacy necessary to run a school or to take on the responsibilities of even teaching students, you know and so I think that capacity to recognise that Hey, you're not perfect. Take a chill pill and join the rest of the human race. I think that's particularly important and the ability to laugh at yourself I mean, I remember towards one of the latter years at St Leonard's I woke up, they were banging sound in my front yard. I don't got up and there was a crowd there was a crowd of about 200 people they'd put up an auction board and they're auctioning my house and they had all suit and they're putting in bids. One of the parents was an auctioneer and stuff and he was actually conducting on. They had the board there, and it had sort of a house for clapped out delectation. You know, Jack Powell carpet and mirror ball. It was just shocking. It was I mean, it was but so funny. I just got a course. He just absolutely laughing. If you could start getting on your high horse and saying, Well, this is a, you know, on undermining of the authority, you don't want to go there. So I think you've got to recognise, don't get to the stage we need a young child to come out and say excuse to see you're not wearing any clothes. You know the Emperor has no clothes there needs to be an ongoing sense of humility and ongoing sense of mischief, a sense of fun. Even you need that to survive

Simon Hennessy:

Blaring acid rock. I'm sure Hendricks.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Hendricks is perfect. 3:25 Don't forget. OK, make a note. 3 25 PM Just by the way, just in case you're confused and wack it on Friday and yeah, and smile and basically have a counsellor. I had a counsellor. It was a dog. And not the usual Molly dog. Yes, it was a cavalier King Charles spaniel. A miracle dog, No brain. We got on well and do things other than run a school. Walk the dog, Go for a swim, Go for a jog, Get out there and yes, and be able to put a bit of distance between yourself and the job and be able to laugh at yourself.

Simon Hennessy:

Sound advice. Okay, well, I guess that wraps itself for the discussion. about running successful school. There's an awful lot to digest there, but before you go, we have a question. We'd like to ask all of our guests, which is if you have a crazy story or piece of advice from your years'in education that you'd like to share could be anything at all. To be serious could be jokey. Whatever you like.  Putting you on the spot here I know.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Well, you've got to be a bit careful about the human thing. I remember we put up on the notice board that one of our gap students was coming to us from Eton and I deliberately left out the surname When I put Harry, well, you can imagine this was of an age when Prince Harry was at Eton and people start whispering "is this Prince Harry". We are the King School Australia's oldest independent school? That we were indeed why we called the King School is because the King of England, King William the fourth commanded us into being back in 1831. Well, I love this, you know, these rumors were going absolutely right. Absolutely. And so of course, the staff came to me and said, Well, is this Prince Harry? And I said the magic inflammatory words, No comment. Well, if ever you want to throw petrol on a fire, that's what you say. Well, then within half an hour I had Channel seven, Channel nine, Channel 10. I had radio stations calling up. I hear understanding and what you're going to say and again. Then I sourced the boy who was in year 10 who had ginger hair, and I was midway through ordering a limo to drive this boy from the city when my executive I did tell you about the importance of this, didn't I did tell you this. You sure that my executives say, Headmaster, that's enough. We've had enough fun, so but it was fun while it lasted. So there you go. We nearly had Prince Harry at the King School on a gap year.

Simon Hennessy:

They nearly or ATT leased a very convincing impostor.

Dr Tim Hawkes:

Terrific. And if you wantto absolutely inflame the media, just say no comments.

Simon Hennessy:

There you go here first. So I'm tempted to close this out by simply saying no comment. But instead, I will say, thank you, everybody for listening in and hope to see you back for whatever weird and wonderful corner the education world we find ourselves out next. In the meantime, you can check us out at  getatomi.com. Big thank you to you Tim for coming in and for sharing all of your wisdom with us. So it is for the time being. Goodbye. Goodbye indeed. I'm goodbye from me, see you.

Try Atomi for free and receive regular updates from the Staffroom.

Learn More