Clive Smith-Langridge is the head of Packwood Haugh School. He has been in the position for around two years.
Describe your current job, in one sentence: Leading, running and managing an outstanding day and boarding Prep School located between Shrewsbury and Oswestry.
What is your proudest achievement? Watching all the children at school grow up, achieve so much and leave us as genuinely good people when they go onto their senior schools both locally and nationally.
And the most difficult challenge you’ve had to overcome? The economic climate was tough when I took over. I’ve had to take some difficult decisions in my first two years as a Headmaster and it’s been a steep learning curve. However, we are now in good shape as the economy starts to improve.
Explain some of the big issues in your industry right now? Boarding appearing to be somewhat out of fashion for younger children but the reality of boarding today is that it’s great fun, good value for money when you consider food, childcare, utility and travel costs, and a super option for busy, working families. We just need to spread the message more widely.
Population demographics – these are working against us in the local area, but luckily with our boarding strength we can draw from a wide catchment area.
Affordability – middle Britain has been squeezed for some years now and we need to continue to convince parents of the great value of an outstanding independent school education.
What are the best, and worst aspects of your job? The best aspects always come from the children, they are so full of energy, creativity and zest for life. Just sitting talking with them at meal times or in the common rooms is a joy. The worst aspect is the amount of regulation and paperwork in the job these days. I guess all managerial jobs are much the same now, but it takes me away from direct contact with the children.
What makes you smile, and what keeps you awake at night? The start of a new term or a new academic year always makes me smile watching the children come back to school, or new children come to school for the first time, bouncing around the place and raring to go. The responsibility of this job for all the children’s welfare sometimes keeps me awake at night. We’re always looking for even better ways to keep them safe, well and happy.
How do you think your colleagues would describe you? You’d have to ask them, but I would hope a good listener, decision-maker and inclusive in my approach to the management and running of the school.
If you could go back 10 years, what would you do differently? Not much to be honest, I set myself the target of being a Headmaster within ten years and made it, I have a wonderful family and a wide group of friends. I’m very happy with my lot.
How do you chill out and relax after a busy day? I love to cook, I’ve been on a couple of Asian cookery courses recently and like experimenting with new foods and recipes.
Tell us something about you that people probably wouldn’t know? I once captained Chile in a cricket match against Brazil. I top scored with the bat, but sadly we still lost the match.