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  • A Warm Welcome

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Staff Profile: Nicholas Rickford


Deputy Head of Secondary (Curriculum)

Nick studied History at the University of Edinburgh, but spent much of his free time conducting walking tours of the ancient city during the day and scaring unsuspecting tourists whilst working as a ghost tour guide under the cover of darkness. After graduation he spent several years working in the corporate events industry, designing and running conferences for senior public servants and leaders of global communications companies. 

Much as he enjoyed this line of work, several university vacations employed in English language summer schools had piqued his interest in teaching, and he could no longer resist the urge to work full-time in education.

After completing his teaching qualification in the West Country, Nick spent the next eight years working in large state schools in the Thames Valley. During this time, he took on a number of roles, including Head of Media Studies, Head of Phase and Head of Sixth Form. In 2013, as he sought a new challenge - and a move away from Royal Berkshire - Nick was faced with a big decision: will the next stop be Birmingham or Beijing? Fast-forward two years and the decision to settle in the Middle Kingdom has certainly proven to be the right one. Most recently, as Director of Student Achievement in an international school in China’s capital, Nick thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with exceptional teachers and students in developing both academic and pastoral systems in the senior school.

Although he was brought up in the southeast of England, Nick’s family connections with the North East are strong and he has been a lifelong fan of Newcastle United football club. As well as being able to affect a passable Geordie accent whilst standing on the home terraces, he has learnt the important life skill of being able to deal with disappointment, following many years of seeing dire results and early cup exits. Over the years, Nick has played, to varying degrees of success, many sports, including rugby, hockey and cricket, though he is perhaps more of an armchair sportsman these days. In 2014, a somewhat reluctant Nick was convinced by a colleague to join an international choir after many years “out of action”; the incredible experience of singing the bass part of Handel’s Messiah in the Tianjin Grand Theatre was one he is never likely to forget. Other highlights of his time living and working in Asia have included abseiling and canyoning with sixth-form students in Japan and leading an eye-opening school trip to North Korea.

Nick is married to Elise; they have two energetic young sons whose command of Mandarin is far better than that of their parents.