Geoff Davies hangs up his workshop coat after 42 years of service
At the end of this term, Design & Technology legend Geoff Davies will hang up his workshop coat for the final time as he retires after 42 years of working at Richmond School.
Geoff joined the school in January 1979 and he will leave a lasting legacy, having made a significant impact on the students he taught; the department members with whom he served and the school and community in which he worked and lived.
Geoff came to Richmond School following a short spell teaching ‘Down South’ in Luton. Originally from Castleford, Geoff was keen to move to a more rural part of Yorkshire and continue his career – eventually being appointed a Teacher of Craft, Design and Technology at Richmond School.
In Geoff’s earlier years at the school he was involved in many activities, such as supervising students who were weekly boarders at what is now the Friary Hospital in Richmond. ‘Lower School’ was a huge part of life for Richmond School students and until it closed, ten years ago, Geoff played a huge part in generating the right ethos in the Year 7 environment and along with raising three children of his own he was seen as very much a caring and compassionate father figure by many of the students who passed through this satellite to the main site.
Education has changed a great deal in the past forty years and the worlds of the metalwork and woodwork teacher have morphed and merged and blurred to the point where the ‘School Masters’ of the 1970s would find it hard to recognise their world within ours. Yet through all this change, Geoff has been bound to his core beliefs in the subject and to the skill and expertise of his training. His honesty and straight-talking nature derive from his upbringing within the sights and sounds of the coalfields of the then ‘West Riding’.
Geoff’s ability to demonstrate what are now almost ‘forgotten’ skills in Technical Drawing – no computer in sight – have amazed staff and students alike. His knowledge of materials and techniques and especially the ‘Stuff they don’t write about in books’ ensures his students are taught the right way and he ensures that they stick to it.
It was only natural that Geoff’s passion for football would lead him to work with the school’s PE department and develop into his voluntary work with our football and rugby teams. Many parents and grandparents returning to our school for events and open evenings often make comments about Mr Davies – the fierce technology teacher, not only in the classroom but outdoors on the field and the pitch, known for his crunching tackles on the field, especially in the days when staff and students competed against each other.
Geoff would be the first to admit that he has benefited greatly from working with a range of teachers at Richmond School and not just the many within his own field of expertise but also the many staff who are no longer with us. Yet Geoff’s gains do not surpass the many benefits that have been gifted to so many staff due to his selfless generosity. When I first joined Richmond School as an NQT, Geoff was my mentor (and he still is really!). He taught me some incredibly valuable lessons that have helped to shape my teaching career. Always generous with information, Geoff would ensure that I and other young teachers were teaching the students to the best of our ability and using his experience as a springboard to our own improvement. Usually the best way to do anything is the right way. That sums up Geoff Davies. He is respected by students and staff alike and especially by his closest companions.
Some people in life have something that they are especially good at. Geoff is fortunate to have many things that he is good at. None more so than being seen as a charmer. Yes, Geoff Davies is popular with all members of staff and especially with those whom he favours. He has a way with words coupled with a cheeky grin that means even in the most stressful and difficult situations – he is a responsible voice of reason and reassurance. This is a trait that is invaluable in the teaching profession.
Geoff will be missed, not only by the Design & Technology department but by staff across the school, and most importantly the students with whom he works. Geoff’s retirement will allow him to spend more time with his wife Cath, their three children and their many grandchildren.
All of us at Richmond School wish Geoff a long and happy retirement and I think I can speak on behalf of the thousands of students and staff, past and present, in saying to Geoff, ‘Thank you!’ No fuss. No fanfare. Just a great big ‘Thank you’.