Paul DunleavyPaul Dunleavy

Director of ICT

Life Before the Dragon

My father was a headmaster and my mother a lecturer, so I grew up surrounded by teachers, schools and higher education departments. After studying Philosophy, Politics and dabbling in Law, I began my career in London, working mainly with databases, data warehouses and corporate finance products for multinational companies. I was lucky enough to work at a variety of FTSE100 companies before travel and time spent away from my wife and children made me reassess what I wanted to do with my life.

What is special about the Dragon?

I love the freedom that the School gives children (and staff) to find themselves and to define their own path. It’s a busy place, but one that’s crammed full of creativity and ideas. Both my children attended the school; something for which I will be forever grateful. It allowed me to witness first-hand the uniqueness, generosity and competitiveness of the place and the individual niches that each child is allowed to carve out for themselves.

What do you love about the subject?

I really love playing with new gadgets (who doesn't?), but I mainly love the way that technology and “technological thinking” can help us cope with change. That said, we shouldn’t need to invent something new or develop a new process each time we encounter a problem or find something to be different, rather, this way of thinking encourages us to find alternate ways of employing what we already know to new situations. To me, the study of ICT is really about the study of problem solving in order to find creative solutions to the issues we encounter; it’s not only about hardware or software. It is a hands-on, practical subject in which you need to try and fail repeatedly in order to succeed. It is the iterative nature of the subject that makes it so compelling. I’m heartened by the recent focus on coding and attempts to reinvigorate interest in Computer Science in schools as a way of addressing a historic bias in favour of teaching people to use applications. It will begin to help us deconstruct the "black box" mentality so evident when people approach technology.


Aside from fiddling with gadgets and reading about new technologies, my other passion is sport. I played a variety of sports growing up, some to a fairly high level, and I remain interested in pretty much everything involving competition. Card-games in the Dunleavy household are generally not for the faint-hearted. These days I can only find the time to play hockey and ski. I’m a member of the Dragon Ski Club, skiing with pupils and parents in Davos, Switzerland each February. I also coach hockey through the England Hockey Single System, involving almost all of the acronyms – JDC, JAC, JRPC and Tier1.