Meet Mr Vince Lawrence, Head of Geography at Sompting Abbotts

Hello Mr Lawrence, tell us about your role at Sompting Abbotts

I am Head of Geography and also teach Games and RS. As I’m very enthusiastic about the problem-solving and strategic skills that chess can teach children and love playing the game myself, I run chess club as an extra-curricular activity.

Where did you study?

I obtained a BSc Geography Honours degree at the University of Glasgow. My wife and I regularly now return to Scotland to catch up with friends and attend the Edinburgh Fringe festival. After my degree I took my PGCE at Brunel University in West London to become qualified as a teacher.

What drew you into teaching

I loved Geography at University and I had been coaching squash, which I enjoyed, so I felt a career that combined the two would be perfect - and it has been. I love teaching!

Tell us about your career background

I have worked at a lot of schools both here in the UK and abroad. My career started at the George Abbot School in Guildford (a large Secondary Comprehensive school), then I worked for a year in Lanzarote and it is here that I first worked with primary school aged children. Then I worked in Western Australia during my travelling the world phase! On returning to the UK, I became Head of Geography at Ardingly College where I worked for eight years. My wife and I then worked abroad together in Brunei in South East Asia for 4 years and then 1 year teaching English in Santiago, Chile. Brunei was very hot being close to the equator and Chile had the perfect climate with the beautiful backdrop of the Andes. After this we returned to live in Hertfordshire where I taught at Bishop’s Stortford College for 3 years teaching Geography and Games. In 2018 we returned to our home in West Sussex to be nearer to our family.

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What do you do outside school?

I love playing squash and play for two clubs. About eight years ago, I also took up golf and I try to play as regularly as time permits! I also play chess and dabble in calligraphy. I speak fairly fluent Spanish and have reasonable travel French. Given the opportunity I love to ski and snowboard. Many years ago I used to windsurf! I have visited a lot of countries, far too many to mention. Some of the highlights would be Patagonia, seeing Mount Everest from a point above Everest base camp, visiting Japan and China, plus one of the highest bungee jumps and jumping out of an aeroplane over New Zealand!

My wife and I live near Horsham and we do not have any children. We love travelling, going to shows, the theatre and reading lots. I have a motorcycle which I love riding but only in fine weather!

What’s the best bit about teaching for you?

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My favourite part of teaching is standing up in front of class and delivering lessons. When classes listen, ask questions and get enthused it is really uplifting and can give a buzz for the rest of the day! Results are important of course but for me my main focus is to inspire a passion about Geography within the children.

Tell us something we don’t know about you

When I was 11 years old, I played chess for England against Scotland. I was on board 32 out of 40 and I won both my matches!

What difference does teaching in the independent sector make for you?

I enjoy working in the Independent sector as I have found that the children are highly keen to learn and the small class sizes helps to facilitate this. In addition many independent schools are beautiful places to work and Sompting Abbotts is no exception in this regard. In fact I have never worked at a school that has a sea view before!

Photo captions: Mr Lawrence at the Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru; Salt Flats of Bolivia in South America; standing on Christmas Day 2011 with Mount Everest in the distance.