Who's Who in Grenville

Simon Dobson

Susan Zundel

Assistant Houseparent
Patrick Dias

Under Houseparent
Peter Shepherd

Life before Stowe

Before starting at Stowe I have had all manner of occupations, ranging from campsite courier, import/export roles with European companies, a sales career in the computer industry and I also ran my own company for a year or so selling European language software. More recently, I worked for a few years as a carpet-fitter and floor layer before I decided to take the plunge into the murky world of educating teenagers.

What do you enjoy most about your subject?

The one thing that really fires me up about languages is the way in which they open doors for you in life that would otherwise remain firmly locked and bolted against you. There have been countless moments in the past where the ability to communicate (with varying degrees of clarity depending on background noise, regional foreign accents and alcohol) has turned a situation on its head and allowed me to be part of an otherwise exclusive situation. Also, the great thing about speaking another language is the way that you can only ever improve – you can never know all of the vocabulary and the expressions in a foreign language and I try to learn at least two new words in French and Spanish every day, much to the amusement of some of my students, who test me on my new vocab to try to catch me out!

What do you enjoy most about Stowe?

First and foremost, I have never before worked with such great people. The camaraderie in the Common Room is tremendous and there is a great feeling of being part of a team and I really love the communication, interaction and badinage that I have with the Stoics. The Stoics really are a special breed and their politeness, sense of humour and sense of mischief conspire to make every day a genuine voyage of discovery! Working with teenagers is not everybody’s cup of tea, but compared to my former life in ‘The Office’ (there really was a David Brent, a Gareth, a monkey Alan and a Dawn – I was a Tim) my new life is infinitely more rewarding and I love the surprises and challenges that they present.

What is your favourite Lesson?

I cannot really say that I have a particular favourite as far as lessons go, but I do try to make most of my lessons competitive, with one team competing against the other to win points. There is always one particular Set who will latch onto this and become fiercely competitive, treating every minor infraction of the rules as a major European incident and I absolutely love this!

What do others say about you?

I get the impression that the Stoics enjoy coming to my lessons, and I think that they find me quite open and ready to help when they ask. I think also that the Stoics are quite amused by the way in which I get excited about grammar and start bouncing about when I am explaining a point of language – a couple of my Sixth Formers definitely do not hide their amusement when this happens – you know who you are……!


I am married to Alicia and have three children, Samuel, Eloise and Joseph (who make life very interesting at times...). I have always had a fixation on fast cars and I made the mistake of buying one a little while ago that left me financially scarred! I love listening to music and going to concerts, and I am still trying to get to grips with my electric guitar. My current ambition is to teach myself Italian and to sit the GCSE in the Drayson alongside the Stoics. I enjoy cooking when I get the time to make something interesting!