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Secondary Magazine - Issue 37: The interview

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 23 June 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 06 July 2009 by ncetm_administrator

Secondary Magazine Issue 37rugby ball -  photograph by Andrew Lovett

The Interview

Name: Andrew Lovett

About you: Andrew is headteacher of Tiverton High School, a co-ed 11-16 comprehensive in Devon. After graduating from Leeds and completing a PGCE, he taught in Leicestershire, Cumbria and Grimsby, leading two maths departments. He joined the advisory service in South Humberside before moving to Portsmouth as a maths inspector, where he led the introduction of the NNS. Andrew decided he preferred children to DfES and Ofsted and returned to work in school leadership.

The most recent use of mathematics in your job was... 
Cutting my deputy head’s birthday cake fairly. A more profound recent use however was proving to an HMI who was leading our inspection that our achievement was ‘good’ rather than ‘satisfactory’ with the help of some nifty gradients.
Some mathematics that amazed you is...
I love fractals, curiously simple and yet gloriously complex, and always beautiful.

Why mathematics?
I love knowing why things are the way they are. It makes me feel safe. And the more mathematics you know, the simpler the world gets.

Your favourite/most significant mathematics-related anecdote is… Charles Babbage wrote to the young poet Tennyson: "In your otherwise beautiful poem, one verse reads, ‘Every moment dies a man, Every moment one is born.’ If this were true, the population of the world would be at a standstill. In truth, the rate of birth is slightly in excess of that of death. I would suggest [that the next edition of your poem should read]: Every moment dies a man, Every moment 1 1/16 is born.”
"Strictly speaking," Babbage added, "the actual figure is so long I cannot get it into a line, but I believe the figure 1 1/16 will be sufficiently accurate for the purposes of poetry."

A maths joke that makes you laugh is... 
1. Q: What’s red and invisible?  A: No tomatoes
2. Heard about the statistician who always carried a bomb when he flew? ...because he knew the chances of there being TWO bombs on one plane were miniscule!
Something else that makes you laugh is... 
Teenagers. I love being with them, listening to them as they grow.
Your favourite television programme is… 
Sky Sports Rugby
Your favourite ice-cream flavour is... 
the flavour isn’t important – as long as it’s made from real cream not frozen vegetable fat. 

Who inspired you?
In mathematics teaching, Peter Lacey – adviser, RAMP man, NCC (remember them) subject officer. As a leader, Martin Johnson – Leicester Tigers and England; loyalty, commitment and, if that wasn’t enough, the ability to intimidate!

If you weren’t doing this job you would… 
be fairly talentless – I’d have to find another field in which to boss people about.
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