Meet the Head: Richard Cairns

PUBLISHED: 12:27 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:49 20 February 2013

Meet the Head: Richard Cairns

Meet the Head: Richard Cairns

Brighton College head Richard Cairns could have been a spy and loves Spooks on TV but knows he is in his dream job

If you hadnt become a teacher, what do you think you would have done instead?
After Oxford, I was recruited by MI6 and I do sometimes wonder whether I should have pursued that as a career though only fleetingly. I honestly cannot imagine a more fulfilling job than being a teacher.

Who would you most like to have as a pupil, if you could pick anyone?
A young Nelson Mandela. I care most that the boys and girls leave here as tolerant, grounded men and women keen to make a difference to the world around them. He is such a man.

Was there any type of school dinner that you couldnt stand?
Broad beans and I still hate them.

Was there ever one you wish you could have missed?
Physics though probably because
of the teacher. That experience taught me that a school is only as good as its teachers.
Each one of us has been changed forever by an inspirational teacher or become disaffected by a bad one.
Since becoming head of Brighton College, I have devoted much of my time to recruiting the best teachers in the land. At the same time, I am intolerant of bad or lazy teaching.

If you were Prime Minister for one day, whats the first thing youd do?
Prioritise peace in the Middle East. Without it, there can never be security at home or abroad.

So, your Desert Island discWhich record would you want with you if you were marooned on a desert island?
Bruch Violin Concert No 1.

If you were invited to go on the television show Room 101, what one thing would you want to see gone from this world?

Is there a television programme that you make sure you never miss?
Spooks. Maybe I should have joined MI6 after all.

What is your favourite film of all time and why?
The Remains of the Day, for the sublime acting of Anthony Hopkins.

What is special about your school?
Parents expect me to say our academic reputation. We consistently get the best GCSE and A-Level results
in Sussex.
The real answer, however, is the strong sense of community. Brighton College really is a wonderfully happy and supportive place. I am immensely privileged to be its headmaster.

How do you relax away from work?
Travel. I was brought up in Africa and I love nothing better than heading off to the southern hemisphere.
My perfect holiday is a small group tented safari in Africa, a long way from my desk and beyond the range of mobile phone masts.

Did you know

Brighton Colleges principal buildings are in the Gothic Revival style by Sir George Gilbert Scott RA. Scott is responsible for a number of other renowned Victorian buildings, notably the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station in London and the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park.

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