About this website
The primary purposes of this site are to provide information about my research and teaching, and to share some of the results of my family history research. Although it has proved irresistible to add a few other things, its content relates largely to specific interests - teaching, family history, singing, and the arts - and it does not, on the whole, stray into more personal territory. This page, however, gives a brief biography and some information about various places I've lived and institutions I have been connected with.
I'm a strong believer in the opportunity the internet provides not only to share information but also to document aspects of people's life, work and beliefs which might otherwise remain inaccessible. That doesn't change the fact that this website is an act of vanity and self-indulgence; but I nevertheless hope it's of interest and value to at least some people!
I live in Oxford and make my living by teaching English and a variety of other activities to do with English teaching, including writing, editing, research and training teachers.
I was born in Nottingham in 1963 and lived there for 20 years before moving to Cambridge in 1983 to go to university. I stayed in Cambridge for the next 20 years, before moving to Oxford in 2003.
I was a full-time English teacher from 1988 till 2001, and then became a freelance educational writer and researcher, whilst continuing to teach part-time at sixth form level (and some KS3 Latin!). I completed a PhD in English and Education at the University of London in 2009.
I'm interested in lots of things - music, literature, language, culture, the arts, education, politics, etc. I am an avid consumer of music, theatre, film, etc. I read The Guardian every day, and listen to Radio 4 a great deal.
Nottingham 1963 - 1983
I was born in Nottingham on September 5th 1963. I grew up in the Mapperley Park area of Nottingham and also spent a lot of time in the Forest and Wollaton Park areas, where my grandparents lived. I went to school at the PNEU School and Nottingham High School, also near the Forest.
The Forest was the scene of the annual Goose Fair, which dates back to around 1200, and was originally held in the medieval market square (left), the largest market square in the country.
Cambridge 1983 - 2003
I went to Cambridge University in 1983 and ended up living in Cambridge for 20 years (apart from a brief spell of 6 months at the University of Illinois in the US in 1988). I trained to be a teacher at the University Department of Education, and then taught at the Netherhall School, Impington Village College and Parkside Community College.
I lived in Trumpington for several years before moving to the Mill Road area, where I lived for 10 years opposite The Cambridge Blue (left), a wonderful pub (where I often went to do my marking!)
Oxford 2003 -
I moved to Oxford in 2003, and have lived in vibrant East Oxford ever since. Within two minutes' walk of my front door are two brilliant pubs, The Magdalen Arms and The Rusty Bicycle; two venerable Oxford institutions, The Pegasus Theatre and The Magic Cafe; and two rather wonderful new cafes, Oxfork and The Cous Cous Cafe.
I teach nearby at The Cheney School, Headington, and for Oxford Study Courses.
Iffley Meadows are close by, and I like to go running in the meadows by the River Thames there and through Iffley village, where there is one of the finest Norman churches in the country (left).