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News > Obituaries > Ted Brown, Former Head of Maths 1984 - 1997

Ted Brown, Former Head of Maths 1984 - 1997

22 Apr 2024
Written by Carolyn Sloan
Obituaries
Ted Brown
Ted Brown

When Ted retired from AGS in 1997 a detailed appreciation was written for the next school magazine by Ted’s friend and maths colleague, Tim Hancock. Tim sadly passed away recently but much of what he wrote has been used to produce this tribute.

Ted joined AGS in 1984 as the new Head of Maths. He had held a similar post at his previous school in Leighton Buzzard. He, in fact, took a demotion coming to AGS as at his previous school he had also been a Senior Teacher and Head of the Middle School. He looked forward to the new challenge of teaching very bright pupils in the largest department in a high profile school.

During his time at AGS the Maths curriculum went through an enormous number of changes. A welter of initiatives brought a modular structure to A- level examinations, together with coursework and a comprehension paper. O-levels were replaced by GCSE and substantial coursework was introduced . The National Curriculum was conceived and went through a large number of metamorphoses. This was followed by SATs at Key Stage 3 with the development of non-calculator and aural papers.

All of this flurry of activity Ted took in his stride, working calmly and efficiently to adapt the workings of the department to the new situation. He always shielded his staff from the worst excesses of bureaucracy, carefully thinking through changes at each stage. He liked to pioneer new courses himself to experience new developments on the ground. He was also keen to keep up the morale of his staff and he organised outings including canal day trips and department socials to keep the spirits up.

Ted had a great knowledge of his subject and a keen desire to impart it to his students. He would be very inventive in finding new ways to explain a topic and assist in its understanding. He spent a great deal of time developing material for classroom use. This attention to detail was recognised by his A -level board when inviting him to assist with training for other teachers.

As a teacher of mathematics Ted was held in very high esteem by his colleagues and importantly by his students. He obtained the highest standards of work from all his pupils at whatever level they were working. His example and commitment meant that the Maths results at AGS were consistently high under his leadership with 100 % success achieved at A level over a number of years.

His considerable pastoral skills and experience made him a superb tutor and he was a dedicated member of Lee House. These skills made him a very desirable companion on school trips both in this country and abroad to France and Italy.

However, Ted’s contributions to AGS went much beyond the classroom. He was very gifted and knowledgeable in a number of spheres , and always generous with his time in sharing those enthusiasms. He was a good chess player playing for his local club in Leighton Buzzard and he spent many hours encouraging chess at AGS, both organising and adjudicating many chess fixtures.

His favourite pursuit was angling and both staff and pupils benefitted from his expertise. Colleagues were able to share the joys of early morning expeditions and the boys were soon experiencing competitions both locally and further afield and enjoying regular success whilst so doing. For a while there was a House Fishing competition at AGS reflecting the wide enthusiasm that Ted had generated.

In the second half of his tenure Ted became interested in golf and in his usual style he sought out fellow enthusiasts in the staff. He was at the forefront in arranging golf matches, days and holiday breaks for this group. He even negotiated a special membership rate for AGS staff at the Aylesbury Vale Golf Club.

This might all seem enough activity to keep him busy, but Ted also had a big interest in drama. Once again he was a key figure along with other colleagues in providing the opportunity to share this experience. In 1993 the Sixth Form Arts Society was formed in collaboration with Aylesbury High School. Both staff and pupils began to experience many enjoyable trips to plays and musicals . Ted remained a keen supporter of this venture up until his departure in 1997.

For some years Ted was Chairman of the staffroom and worked hard on behalf of his colleagues. He was keen to provide a lighter side to the atmosphere and amongst other distractions he provided a weekly sheet of Dingbat picture puzzles and ran a staff football pools sweepstake. There were theatre trips to London and Stratford. But there was also a more bizarre event in 1993 when he tried to generate male staff interest in a sponsored shave but ultimately only two other hairy faced colleagues took up the challenge. It may be coincidental that the very attractive German language assistant was operating the razor and Ted’s moustache was never seen again.

Although Ted retired in July 1997 he was soon back in the September on a part time basis to teach in the Lower Sixth. He then moved across the road to the High School for a spell before he eventually hung up his board rubber.

Many students have been fortunate that Ted was responsible for their maths education and many staff that he was their colleague and friend.

However, Ted’s connection with AGS did not end there. In 2009 three staff retired after serving an impressive 100 years between them and the trio decided that they would maintain their contact with the school by organising regular walks followed by pub lunches with former colleagues.

In retirement Ted had been able to expand on his love of walking and became very knowledgeable on local walks as well as joining many walking group holidays both in the UK and abroad. So it was only natural that he should join this AGS group of former teaching and administrative colleagues and on many occasions led walks for the group.

Ted was a remarkable man. Although always friendly, he was modest and unassuming. He had a great talent for bringing people together and took great joy in organising shared activities. These were inevitably successful under his gentle guidance. He made a lot of difference to so many people’s lives and he will be remembered with love and gratitude. 

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