The first head teacher of the UK’s newest public school has taught members of the Churchill family and Middle Eastern royalty at the world-famous Harrow School.
But Andy Howard, a 46 year-old West Country man, has also mixed it at a tough inner city school in London and launched one of the first free schools as well.
He has been named as Headmaster of the new Myddelton College in Denbigh which will open its doors in 12 months’ time in the historic buildings of the former Howells School.
The co-educational school aims to have 450 pupils and 150 staff within three years, with two thirds of the students as boarders who will be drawn from the UK and from 17 countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa along with 150 day pupils.
Myddelton College launched with a special Open Day attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Henry Fetherstonhaugh, Vale of Clwyd MP James Davies and representatives of Denbighshire County and Denbigh Town Councils.
The new school is putting everything in place ahead of the opening. It is planned to have classes for years seven, eight, nine, 10 and 12 – years 11 and 13 are the second years of the GCSE and A-level cycles and will be introduced in 2017.
Andy Howard, Headmaster of the new Myddelton College in Denbigh
Mr Howard said: “Our plan is to be a fully-fledged 21st century boarding school with children from around the world here in the heart of Denbighshire but we are also committed to having Denbighshire children here.
“The power of these buildings and the history in the stonework means we will give all our students, wherever they come from in the world, a sense of roots and somewhere else they can call home.
“It’s a very exciting time and there is a lot to do in the next six months in terms of putting things in place like our Tier Four licence and getting the necessary proofs to ESTYN – the Welsh Government’s education inspectorate – and the Home Office to show that we can function as an operational school.
“We have already had the buildings passed as fit for purpose and that’s down to Estates manager Paul Gibson who has been here for 12 years and who has seen that they have been properly maintained.
“In fact the facilities here are superb and so is the setting, in one of the loveliest parts of this country.”
Mr Howard, from Marlborough, in Wiltshire, went into teaching after gaining a BSc in Physics at Imperial College, London, and his first job was at Finchley Catholic High School in North London.
He said: “It wasn’t a well off area and some of the kids had their white shirts supplied by the parish priest and there were knife fights in the playground.”
From there he went to a prep school in the independent sector catering for seven to 13-year-olds and a boarding school at Elstree, North London, before applying successfully for a job as Physics teacher at Harrow School.
Harrow changed me forever. It made me realise that you can’t just teach and teaching can’t be just a job because in education the job is never done
Mr Howard spent four years at Harrow, teaching Physics, coaching rugby alongside former England and Lions star Roger Uttley and taking the Combined Cadet Force – he was temporarily commissioned into the Grenadier Guards.
He said: “Harrow changed me forever. It made me realise that you can’t just teach and teaching can’t be just a job because in education the job is never done.
“The reason for coming here was that schools need roots and this has roots in abundance with history and traditions and that is very important.
“Schools exist to serve their communities and are where the next generation is formed and as a result they have an absolute duty to recognise its place in the wider community.’
The Myddelton family has a long and distinguished connection with Denbigh and Denbighshire including Sir Thomas Myddelton, who was a founder member of the East India Company and Lord Mayor of London in 1613 while his brother, Sir Hugh, was instrumental in the creation of the New River, which supplied London with fresh water from 1613.