Marcus Culverwell is the Headmaster of Reigate St Mary’s School. He grew up just eight miles away in Warlingham and was educated in Caterham. In fact, apart from university, he’s always lived in Surrey since moving back to the area 25 years ago. You could comfortably say he’s a local lad.

He loves the area’s great sense of community, the beautiful countryside of the North Downs being right on the doorstep, and having London just 30 minutes away by train.

As a boy, Marcus loved physics and all things mechanical, which led him to study Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at university. However, the country was in a recession when he graduated, and there were very few engineering jobs available.

He decided to train as an engineering lecturer, but ended up teaching science in schools, and that’s where he remained. He became Head of Science in his 20s and spent several years as Director of Studies, followed by two Deputy Headships before becoming Headmaster at Reigate St Mary’s Preparatory and Choir School.

In 2003, the school became the junior of Reigate Grammar and is now a co-educational day school for children up to 11 years old with nearly double the number of pupils.

Marcus feels a sense of pride when describing what makes the school so special, citing the high staff-to-pupil ratios that allow individualised learning and targeted support. It’s a neat tie-in with what he truly believes is at the heart of any great organisation: good relationships.

“Whether it’s peer-to-peer, pupil and staff or staff and parents, getting relationships right is so important because happy and emotionally secure children can become the best versions of themselves. Placing the highest value on good relationships is at the heart of our thriving school.”

Another aspect of Reigate St Mary’s that makes Marcus particularly proud is the school’s Education for Social Responsibility (ESR). He believes the world is finally waking up to the importance of tackling issues such as climate change and resource depletion and that it is crucial to help children understand from an early age that they have a vital part to play.

One of his roles has been to spearhead ESR education within the independent school sector. Marcus is the ESR Lead for the Independent Association for Prep Schools (IAPS), a body representing 660 schools across the country, and his passion is right there in his words.

“Children need to know what it means to have a fantastic and fulfilled life on a safe planet, and this is much more important than getting good grades.”

“When I’m asked what I hope for the children at my school when they leave, the most important thing to me is that they leave us as young citizens who will give back more to society than they take. I hope they will be people who care about others, both in their local and their global community, as much as they care for themselves.”

Reigate St Mary’s Preparatory and Choir School

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