Lord Wandsworth Leaderboard

Introducing the next Headmaster of Orwell Park School and his family.

Published by Orwell Park School on Tuesday 6th of December 2022

Guy Musson will replace Adrian Brown when he retires at the end of this academic year, August 31 2023.
Chair of Governors, James Davison, announced it had been a unanimous decision that Mr Musson was the ideal Headmaster to take the School forward in its next chapter.

“When I join Orwell Park next September, I will have been working in prep schools for 15 years, with 8 and a half of those years as a Deputy Head. I have been lucky enough to work in four outstanding schools, starting my teaching career at the Dragon School in Oxford, before a stint at the Perse Prep in Cambridge. I became Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Garden House School in London in early 2015 and then moved to Ludgrove as Deputy Headmaster in 2020. I am incredibly excited to have been appointed as the next Headmaster of Orwell Park School.” Mr Musson

This interview is designed to give the Orwell Park School community a brief insight into Guy and what motivates him.

What is your current role and what do you love about it?

I’m currently Deputy Headmaster at Ludgrove and I love the great variety of it. Being involved in the strategic leadership and management of a very happy, yet academically ambitious prep school with a fantastic tradition and culture really motivates me. In my current role I am still able to spend time in the classroom, out on the games pitches and on duty up in the boarding house, areas where relationships with the children are strengthened and you get a much keener sense of what makes each of them ‘tick’. No two days are ever the same and the children’s energy, love of learning and thirst for adventure is infectious and keeps us all feeling young. I have also really enjoyed working closely with Simon Barber, who is an experienced, dedicated and charismatic Head. We get on very well and I’ve learned a great deal from him.

What makes you passionate about teaching and how did you get to this point?

I believe that ‘starting with the why’ is an essential piece of thinking when assessing how rewarding and virtuous a career choice is. In the absence of being good enough at sport for someone to be willing to pay me to play, teaching surely must be the best, and most important, job in the world.

Teachers work incredibly hard, and most do so due to the buzz they get from those magic ‘light bulb moments’ when a child’s eyes light up in the classroom, as well as the laughter, joy and energy that typifies life in a busy prep school.

Preparing children for not just their senior schools, but life beyond is a serious and significant responsibility and we must bear this in mind when parents entrust us with the thing they value most – their children’s education. Teachers aim to equip young people with the necessary resilience and perspective to cope with the significant pressures and challenges that they face when growing up today, as well as giving them a toolkit to hopefully tackle and solve the problems of the 21st century. Ultimately, we aim to provide children with strong moral compasses and that all-important ability to get on well with others, so that they make positive impressions on the people they meet. Educating the doctors, entrepreneurs, scientists, writers, computer programmers, teachers and leaders of the future is an important business and one which gets us out of bed in the mornings.

Have there been any special people in your life, a teacher, professor, or mentor that really made a difference to your journey?

I wasn’t always the best behaved at school and my prep school Headmaster, Kevin Jones, always had faith in me and saw my potential. He understood (and helped me understand) that children all have their own individual motivations, passions, strengths and weaknesses. Teachers need to know when to push, challenge and stretch pupils and when to listen and be supportive, so that children can be confident in expressing themselves and become the best they can be. The person who inspired me to become a prep school master was my father-in-law, Angus Gent.

What do you teach, and is it your favourite subject?

In my time at Ludgrove I have taught Maths, Science, Computing, English, RS and PSHE, so understand that as prep school teachers we need to be willing to turn our hand to different disciplines. Maths was my favourite subject at school and I love teaching it but I also really enjoy teaching more discussion- and essay-based subjects such as PSHEE and RS.

Are you particularly musical, arty or techy?

I am very into technology and have a keen interest in how it can be used to make learning more exciting. I have been Head of Computing in two of the four schools I’ve taught in and have overseen a number of 1:1 device rollouts and IT curriculum rewrites. The key is that technology should enhance teaching and learning, rather than just act as an expensive substitute to something which was working perfectly well before the technology was implemented. As with anything, it is important to strike the right balance and there absolutely must still be space for handwritten work and time to slow down, reflect and be offline.

I’m afraid that I was never the most talented musician, actor or painter, which makes me appreciate and admire people young and old who are adept in these fields all the more.

Did you struggle with anything else at school?

I loved being at school and generally threw myself into whatever opportunities I could get my hands on. Perhaps I am unwise to admit this, but I sometimes needed to be reminded to ‘channel my energies’, occasionally finding myself on the wrong side of a school rule or two. Being the archetypal ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ reminds me that we must embrace children’s individuality, foibles and character – of course they will make mistakes, but it’s our job to support them and ensure that they learn valuable lessons when things don’t necessarily go accordingly to plan.

I can also remember struggling to cope with failure and one low moment which really sticks out is being dropped from the 1st XV rugby team at my senior school (something which seemed like a very big deal at the time). Again, I’ve later come to realise that these low moments are often when we learn the most about ourselves, become stronger and gain the perspective to be grateful for things that are going well.

How did you come to know about Orwell Park School and do you have any connections with the School and East Anglia?

I actually grew up in Suffolk; my parents trained racehorses in Newmarket for more than 30 years and still live in Suffolk today. I went to boarding prep and senior schools in Cambridge (St John’s and The Leys). I once came to Orwell Park to play squash in my prep school days, so have always known about the School and admired it from afar. My wife, Milly, has very strong family connections with Orwell Park – her brothers both attended the school in the early 90s and her Granny was a matron for a number of years. Milly and I have lived in East Anglia for the vast majority of our lives and are thrilled to be returning with our young family.

What excites you the most about Orwell Park School and what do you think the challenges are?

So much excites me about Orwell Park, not least the incredible setting; I genuinely cannot think of a school which can boast a more inspiring and magical environment for children to spend their vitally important formative years. But stunning vistas, buildings and facilities possess very little value without a talented and dedicated team of staff, who are ultimately the ones who bring the magic to life. The ISI’s recent glowing inspection report confirms that the staff team have been doing a highly impressive job under Adrian Brown’s experienced leadership and I am hugely looking forward to working with the staff and getting to know all members of the Orwell Park community, especially the children.

There is currently a good deal of doom and gloom surrounding the future of standalone independent preparatory schools and there are undoubtedly some economic and political challenges on the horizon that we must be mindful of and prepare for. Schools like Orwell Park have, however, stood proudly for more than a century and a half. I passionately believe that we must approach the future with energy and optimism, confident that standalone preps will continue to be happy places of unapologetic aspiration and inspiration where parents will want their children to be educated and grow up. We encourage the children in our schools to be resilient, creative, collaborative problem solvers and I think it is vital that we model this as school leaders. I would argue that Orwell Park’s independence should be lauded as an increasingly rare strength, in a sector where colourful individuality is being increasingly replaced with corporate consortiums and conglomeration.

Who will be coming with you to join our community?

My wife Milly currently teaches English and Maths to Years 4 and 5 at Ludgrove. Earlier in her career she taught at Felsted, King’s Ely and St Faith’s, Cambridge. As I mentioned earlier, she has a number of family connections with Orwell Park and she recently dug out an old photo of her aged 8 in the OPS Sports Hall wearing the full uniform, as she longed to be a pupil at the school! She spent many happy matchdays on the touchline watching her brothers play sport and is delighted that she will now finally be an official part of the OPS community.

Our daughter, Charlotte, is currently in Year 2 and she is very excited to be moving to a school where there aren’t just boys! Her current life plans include overlapping careers as a doctor, nurse, vet, author, singer and teacher.

Our son, Freddie, is 4 years old and he is currently oscillating between wanting to be a policeman and dreaming of playing cricket for England.

What is your favourite sport and why?

I am a real sports fanatic but if I was pushed to choose one it would have to be cricket. I remember fondly my own prep school cricket days, when nothing seemed more important. Cricket is a tremendous sport for so many reasons, not least the values, discipline and respect for tradition that it instils in so many prep school girls and boys. I also think it can act as an excellent mirror of the highs and lows of everyday life and it develops a wide range of qualities including patience, courage and teamwork. I love the fact that players can express themselves as individuals but ultimately need to understand that a team’s spirit is key in order for it to be greater than the sum of its parts. As in life, it’s vital to play whatever ‘delivery’ you are faced with on its merits.

And the classic interview question to finish with: if you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

A tricky one but let’s go with optimistic, dedicated and calm.
Introducing the next Headmaster of Orwell Park School and his family. - Photo 1Introducing the next Headmaster of Orwell Park School and his family. - Photo 2Introducing the next Headmaster of Orwell Park School and his family. - Photo 3
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