Mr Michael Rickner
Position: Queen's Houseparent, Teacher & Head of Projects
Department: Philosophy & Religion,
Qualifications: BA Exeter, MSc St Anne's College, Oxford
Telephone: 01280 818412, 01280 818281, 07467 949767
Life before Stowe
My life before Stowe consisted of attending Wallington County Grammar School for Boys and attending Exeter University where I read Theology. Whilst at university I played rugby for the Exeter Chiefs. Following three years there, I went back to teach RS, rugby and cricket at Wallington Grammar whilst playing for Esher RFC. Having caught the teaching bug I went to Oxford University to do my PGCE in Religious Studies, which led me to a job at Stowe School.
What do you enjoy most about your subject?
I enjoy investigating and understanding the continued impact that Religion has on the world. There will be no part of civilisation which is not influenced heavily by Religion and I enjoy going on this journey of discovering (both personally and in the classroom) how, where, when and why this impact and influence on society by Religion takes place.
Being in the Projects department allows me to be involved in the rich tapestry of Stoic’s independent learning projects. Whether it is an essay on the behaviour of dogs or an artefact where someone has created a music composition to explore emotions, the Projects department is an opportunity for Stoics to really explore a specific area that they enjoy the most.
What do you enjoy most about Stowe?
I enjoy the close knit community which is generated by a boarding school environment. The opportunities on offer both for Stoics and staff are second to none and it is a great place to work and develop.
What is your favourite Lesson?
My favourite Third Form lesson is looking at different the theological reasons that can be used to both defend and attack any anti-Semitism. Within the Vanguard I love the ‘Ignition’ Project where students have to produce a multi-media presentation on an area of life that they feel most passionate about.
My favourite Fourth Form lesson is looking at deeper theological meanings behind Islamic rituals, particularly funeral rituals. The Fourth Form begin their HPQ journey in this year and it is great to see the students grapple with new skills such as referencing and research as they work out a particular area of focus for their HPQ.
My favourite Fifth Form lesson is looking at different abortion scenarios through De Bono's thinking hats. The HPQ then finishes in the Fifth Form and confidence and detail that they put into their HPQ presentations is always great to see and it makes me realise how much work they have put into their HPQ.
My favourite Sixth Form lessons are the Ontological Argument in the Lower Sixth and then looking at Aquinas’ Natural Moral Law and its continued impact on today’s society with the Upper Sixth. The EPQ is an exciting journey for all Stoics who do one. Whether it is linked directly to their university course or simply an area of huge interest – guiding them through this independent project is extremely fulfilling and the variety on offer means every pupil and every lesson is unique.
What do others say about you?
I think others say I am dedicated, hard-working and probably a bit of a teacher geek!
I coach the 1st XV and 1st VII rugby teams at Stowe, as well as coaching at Oxford University RFC, where I was fortunate to gain two winning Rugby Union Blues whilst completing a part time Masters in Education in 2012-13. I am also the Houseparent for Queen's alongside my wife Sophie and I am the School’s EPQ coordinator.
Rugby, cricket – and spending time with Mrs Rickner and our two Working Cockers: Oban and Tali.