In the Spotlight with Head of Lower School James Cure
In the first of our ‘In the Spotlight’ series, we chat with James Cure, who has taken over as our new Head of Lower School.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I joined Oakham in 2007 having previously worked in the City of London and taught at a boys’ school in Middlesex. At Durham University I studied History and Politics and later at Cambridge I completed my PGCE. I played rugby for Rosslyn Park and Middlesex whilst in the City, and gained a rugby blue whilst at Cambridge. At Oakham I was a Resident Tutor in Haywoods, a Boarding House for boys, for two years and was Housemaster of Wharflands for nine years. I am now Head of Lower School and also teach History, help out with rugby, cricket coaching and golf. I am married to Caroline and we have two children, Sophia and Alex, who are currently both at the School. We also have two spaniels called Olive and Rocket.
What makes Lower School special?
The location – The Lower School is separated geographically to the rest of the School, with its own campus, providing a smaller safe home base from which pupils can explore the rest of the School.
Transitional Experience – The pupils start their first year with most of their lessons on their own campus, with more lessons in the main School as they move up, enabling a positive transitional experience.
Energy – The energy and enthusiasm are what you notice when you enter Lower School and, when directed in the right ways, become something very special.
Environment – The environment is warm, caring, engaging, fun and inviting.
All these ingredients make for an incredibly successful start to the School and our pupils’ Oakham journey.
What are the benefits of boarding in Lower School?
There are several benefits, one of which is their development of independence and resilience. Lower School boarders take charge of many small aspects of their school day and daily tasks, whether it is preparing themselves for their lessons or ensuring their dorms are tidy. They develop resilience and confidence quickly.
Ask any boarder what the best bit is about boarding, and they will tell you it is great fun living with their friends! They also get to feel grown up, whilst having the safety net of a super pastoral team who look after them and plan exciting activities.
There is also the opportunity for Lower School boarders to start their boarding experience with flexible boarding with a limited number of days spent overnight at the School. This is by design preparing them for potentially weekly or full boarding in the years ahead.
What are your aims as Head of Lower School?
To harness the energy of the children into positivity, resilience and empathy. To make sure the pupils are kind to each other and that there is a shared sense of happiness.
Where is your happy place?
On the first fairway of a good golf course, preferably with my dog, Olive. (Rocket isn’t well trained enough yet!)
Favourite lunch at the Barraclough
I am divided on this. I love a cold salad and jacket potato, I like the vegetarian options, but it is hard to see past a good chilli con carne! Apple Crumble is an easy favourite for pudding.
Favourite historical figure
There are too many to choose from! I will go for Queen Elizabeth I. She inherited the throne at a time of huge religious and political turbulence, but by overseeing a moderate religious settlement, and by fiercely protecting her independence, she was responsible for greater governmental stability than any other English monarch from the 15th Century to the 17th Century.
Current Favourite saying
Arthur Ashe’s quote – “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”