Meet headteacher Chris Townsend

PUBLISHED: 12:55 04 March 2016 | UPDATED: 12:55 04 March 2016

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend


Teaching Socrates would be a dream for Chris Townsend, but even in the absence of the Ancient Greek philosopher, he finds a career as Felsted’s headmaster very fulfilling

If you hadn’t become a teacher, what career would you have chosen instead?

I always frustrated my careers advisors by telling them that I would be a cricketer, and not being open to much discussion beyond that. In the end, I wasn’t good enough, and teaching has proved a much more fulfilling career.

Who would you most like to have as a pupil, if you could pick anyone?

Socrates, although I suspect that he might have been a bit argumentative at times.

Was there any type of school dinner that you couldn’t stand?

At school, I could not bear to eat semolina and found ways to hide it under the cutlery, rather than having to eat it. After a life eating school food, I can honestly say that today’s pupils are very spoilt with quality and choice.

What was your least favourite lesson?

I was a terrible artist and only got through art lessons by tracing pictures, and even then not very well. The lowlight was when we all had to do a still-life of a bowl of fruit and we assessed each other’s work for quality. Everyone agreed that mine was the worst, including me and the art teacher.

If you were prime minister for one day, what would be the first thing you’d do?

Stop governments from repeatedly seeking to reform education and allow schools to focus on teaching. That would not take long, so I would also like to find a way to eradicate corruption within politics.

Which record would you want with you if you were marooned on a desert island?

We are spoilt as a school with our partnership with the Junior Guildhall, so we get to hear some great music. My own current favourite would have to be Haydn’s trumpet concerto.

What would you want to make disappear from this world?

Selfishness, and hostility. Oh, and Monday mornings, of course.

Is there a television programme that you make sure you never miss?

In order to unwind, I love to watch The Simpsons, which is always funny and very perceptive, but also promotes surprisingly strong family values behind much of the humour.

What is your favourite film of all time and why?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – it’s probably the most brilliant collection of characters in any single film. It is such a remarkable exploration of the human psyche.

How do you relax away from work?

Time with the family is very precious, I go running with our dogs (although Lola is now a bit old for that), and playing or watching sport, especially cricket.

What is special about your school?

The people at Felsted are very special, from those who work tirelessly to keep the school running, to the pupils who bring so much flavour and colour to the school. I have never worked anywhere that is so serious about promoting a sense of service to others among its pupils, nor one with such a strong sense of community.

Did you know?

Felsted is the only school to educate a British head of state. Richard Cromwell, who was Lord Protector in 1658-1659 after his father’s death, attended Felsted between 1639 and 1644.

Get in touch

Felsted School

Felsted, Dunmow, CM6 3LL, 01371 822600,

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