Henry was a very athletic child, who had clear views about his clothes as a little boy. He preferred bright colours, hats and in particular NO BUTTONS! You can imagine how worried we were when he went to school and had to wear his uniform. Fortunately he decided he would adapt to the demands of the wider world and did not make a fuss. However, some of his quirkiness remained. When we saw his first teacher at parents’ evening she told us that Henry was wonderful at Music and Movement! Whereas all the other children tried to be like cats, Henry actually became one!
He also had a beautiful singing voice, but unlike Jonathan was not a natural performer. So it took us by surprise when we went to the local Gang Show, when he was still a Beaver aged 6, that when the group all sang a song together, for one verse Henry sang a solo. He had not told us about this, but his singing was such that it brought the audience to complete silence before they burst into enthusiastic applause when he had finished.
He was not a particularly academic child and didn’t enjoy much of his school work. However, in one of his school reports a teacher described Henry, aged nine, as strongly individualistic, living in his own universe, and wrote “Henry comes into his own in an expressive capacity where his originality, fertile imagination, the descriptiveness of his language and the sometimes beauty of his thoughts have produced some poignant pieces of creative writing”. Somehow it falls into place that Henry has now created a website which is directed at helping children appreciate their work at school. It is called Lend Me Your Literacy and is used by children and teachers all over the world. Its effectiveness is shown by the number of newspapers that have written about it. Lend Me Your Literacy invites children to write pieces and then asks them to comment on other people’s work. This feedback encourages and motivates children, parents and staff to enjoy and appreciate what other people write, and is a positive use of the internet.
Henry really enjoyed all sporting activities at school. The highlight was probably when he was made captain of football for the last two years at his primary school. All his hours of practice in the garden and on holidays at Singleton had clearly paid off!
Henry wanted to be a teacher from an early age. He did his work experience at Treyew School and loved it. Before he went to university he travelled to India, where he taught in a village primary school. He did his degree at York St. John’s and Ripon where he studied English and did teacher training. Right from the start he excelled in all the vocational aspects of the course achieving high grades, clearly this was more to his liking than academic work as his subsequent career has shown.
Next week, Oscar!