Robert StartinRobert Startin

School Lay Chaplain and Head of Religious Studies

Life before the Dragon

After Sherborne School in Dorset I went on to Hull University to read Theology, subsequently completing an MEd Thesis on teaching Religious Studies at Secondary School. Having completed a PGCE, I started my teaching career at Princethorpe College in Warwickshire, and then went on to Westbourne House Prep School in Chichester from 1995-2000 before arriving at the Dragon as the School Lay Chaplain and Head of Religious Studies. In 2001, my wife Kate and I were appointed Houseparents in one of the boys’ boarding house for Year 4 and 5 pupils, which we ran until 2011.

What do you enjoy most about the subject you teach?

Religious Studies combines not only the faith of a particular religion but also its history, culture, art, people and the philosophy of a religion’s teaching and most importantly the relevance of religion and faith in peoples’ lives today. Whilst the texts have not changed, it is exciting and challenging to interpret and innovate the meaning of the passages. The enjoyment for me is helping the children understand the purpose of the texts and the moral and social teaching offered through religion, and to teach children why it is necessary to know about a person’s religion and background so that we, as an international community at the Dragon, can grow together.

What's special about the Dragon?

There is a buzz and energy running throughout the school from Reception to Year 8. Wherever you have come from as a teacher you will not have experienced anything as vibrant as a Dragon pupil who seems to be full of life from the moment their day begins through to ‘lights out’ in the boarding house. That vibrancy is very evident in the classroom where the children engage so passionately with their subjects and teacher – often seeking more than just the standard answer.

The classroom is not the only place where you will find Dragons at their best: the playground with games of ‘eggy’, marbles and conkers in the Autumn term, on stage performing for one of the many school plays, or in the music school rehearsing for an orchestral piece before going out to play sport and then perhaps finishing their day with some reflective time in the Art Block or Library.


When not in school, most holidays are spent at our home in Normandy with the family where we relax and immerse ourselves in the French culture. During the summer holidays I play quite a bit of cricket in France for a French club which hosts visiting English clubs for long weekends. This is topped off with some walking, the occasional bit of kayaking, listening to TMS and eating cake.