A walk around the Sandringham School site provides concrete evidence of Alan Gray’s impact.
Many of the buildings were not only completed under his headship, they were designed by him as well. These include the sports hall, sixth-form block and science block – all built according to his designs and to his specifications.
“I design it and someone builds it – it’s great,” he says.
“Having an education input into design is really useful, and it is really interesting stuff.”
This means he has been able to incorporate enhancements into the design, whether it is the periodic table on the ceiling tiles in one of the science labs or the traditional wooden floor in the sports hall.
In classrooms, internal windows allow observers to watch without disturbing the lessons.
“You could argue maybe I should delegate more, but if you know what you are after, you will be happy with the result,” he says.
“When you are designing something, you don’t just think about the now: you have to think what it is going to be like in 40 years’ time.
“I also like brick. Everything is made out of brick and it isn’t going anywhere.”