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A devotion to fill the void

Jonathan Boyle is incapable of saying no. He had originally planned to be a rock guitarist. But while doing his undergraduate degree he was invited to an interview at a local school. So he abandoned his dreams of musical stardom and became a teacher.

Fifteen years later, he had not intended to become head of the design and technology department at Walsall academy. Nor had he intended to become deputy head. But when asked, he could not turn the jobs down.

"I'm a bit of a glutton for punishment," he said. "But if you have a crack at enough things, you'll end up with something that works well."

The 36-year-old believes this inability to say no is one reason he was awarded a Gatsby fellowship in 2001. Another is his single-minded devotion to his job.

His day starts at 5.45am. He usually arrives home from school at 7pm, when he helps his wife to put his two young children to bed. But when his wife goes to bed, he vanishes into his study to spend several more hours working.

In his spare time, he makes video tutorials to be distributed to schools around the country. Mr Boyle also writes for data publications and answers design and technology questions on the internet.

He has written a computer program to help consolidate his staff's lesson plans.

"Teaching is how I live my life," he said. "I took my children to Legoland - just so I could do research for a video I was making. Isn't that terrible? But it's the truth.

"I was bored during the summer holidays. I was glad to get back to school.

If I wasn't able to teach, it would be a void. Such a void. What else would I do?"

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