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NEWS > Alumni News > Andrew Taylor, Class of '77, Tells Us About His Amazing Career Change

Andrew Taylor, Class of '77, Tells Us About His Amazing Career Change

Andrew shares his inspiring story about how Judd set him up well for his options later in life. After 9 Years in Banking in the City he left to find his true vocation in life.
14 Jan 2021
Alumni News
Andrew with his black Labrador, Bliss who is a retired guide-dog
Andrew with his black Labrador, Bliss who is a retired guide-dog

I enjoyed my time at Judd but I was what is now euphemistically called a ‘reluctant learner’ and was then, probably more accurately called, ‘bone idle’. I had no idea what I wanted to do after school, I was completely unmotivated and woefully underachieved in my history, English and geography A-Levels (I can only apologise to Messrs Taylor, Barker, Meynell, Gibling, Morgan and Dalwood for all the frustration and aggravation I’m sure I caused them).

I spent many happy hours in the summer of my A-Levels watching and playing cricket rather than revising, with predictable results (Mr Barker once caught me listening to a Test Match on a transistor radio at the back of his class during a lesson on the English Civil War. I got a tremendous telling-off which he ended by saying, “by the way, what’s the score?”)

There were lots of other activities that seemed more appealing than study - I remember a couple of excellent skiing trips led by Mr. (Dai) Morgan, Mr. Boyce  and Mr. (Funph) Johnson. There were also inter-sixth-form ‘discos’ with the Tonbridge Girls’ Grammar School and the Weald of Kent held at the Hilden Manor of which I have hazy memories.


After leaving Judd I worked for Nat West Bank in the City for 9 years. I found the work increasingly dull and unsatisfying and so decided on a change of direction.  l applied to, and was offered a place at, Lancaster University to read history which I took up in September 1987, having received a 1st, I followed that with a PGCE.

In 1991 I got a job teaching A-Level history at St John Rigby Sixth Form College (SJR) in Wigan. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching; I had finally found my vocation. I was at SJR for the next 28 years teaching history and government and politics. While there I led history department trips to Paris, Florence, Venice, Rome, Barcelona, Berlin and Krakow. My last five years at SJR was as Assistant Principal; I was the DSL and had overall responsibility for student progress and discipline (oh the irony!).

 

The College’s students are more than 90% white working class and one of my roles was raising student aspiration, particularly the aspirations of the most able students.

I regard one of my greatest achievements as the setting up of a programme which encouraged, guided and prepared SJR students for application to Oxford, Cambridge and other prestigious universities and I am proud that there have been many young people who gained places at these institutions who would never have considered applying to them when they first enrolled at SJR. The College has an inspirational Principal, Peter McGhee, and under his leadership it was judged to be ‘outstanding’ in every area following an OFSTED inspection in 2017.


I retired from SJR in 2019 and live in the village of Croston, Lancashire with my wife, Michele and our black Labrador, Bliss who is a retired guide-dog who we adopted. I spend my time walking Bliss, growing fruit and veg on my allotment, singing in the village choir, travelling (when we can) and continuing to work with groups of students at SJR on a voluntary basis.

Although I didn’t make the most of my time at Judd, the school gave me good foundations which I was able to build on once I matured. I will always be grateful to Judd, and all those masters who taught me, especially Mr. Barker who showed great patience, never gave up on me and instilled in me a life-long love of history.

Is there a lesson from this meandering story? I suppose it is that if things are not going well, don’t give up, keep going and and you will get to where you really want to go in the end.


 

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