Obituary

19th November 2010 at 00:00

Steve Potter, a biology teacher at Gordonstoun School in Moray, died last month at the age of 63 in a road accident.

He had a remarkably successful career as a teacher, educational manager, examiner and author. He set himself extremely high personal standards and was brilliant at engaging the young.

Although a top-class academic, he always had time for those who found the work challenging. He was equally successful working in state and independent sectors.

Steve was one of the top biology teachers of his generation. At Gordonstoun, he taught psychology, chemistry and physics in addition to his main subject, biology.

He also had real interests beyond the classroom and a compelling vocation to improve the lot of young people. He was passionate about wildlife and at Gordonstoun ran a highly successful conservation service.

A remarkably modest person for one so accomplished, he formed a natural, creative and formative rapport with an unusually wide range of students in the pastoral setting. He was assistant housemaster in a sixth-form boys' boarding house and had a calm and beneficial influence through quiet reason and common sense.

Steve joined Gordonstoun in 2006 as a mature teacher from Shaw House High in Yorkshire and had already been a chief or principal examiner at A-level for 20 years.

Educated at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and Nottingham University, where his degree was in botany and zoology, he did his teacher training at Lancashire Polytechnic. His 42-year career in teaching began at the Hollins County Secondary School, Accrington, and took him to Walton High in Nelson, Glenburn High in Skelmersdale, Huddersfield College, Heckmondwike Grammar, and Shaw House High School in Oldham.

His career as an examiner included the posts of chief examiner and chief moderator in GCSE biology for SEG (Southern Examining Group, part of the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance), chief examiner in A-level human biology with the AEB (Associated Examining Board) and principal examiner in A-level biology with AQA.

He also published a number of exam revision guides and textbooks, including two specialising in science for students in the Caribbean.

He therefore brought vast experience to the biology department at Gordonstoun.

Steve was a friend to everyone he met. He was popular with and respected by (two different conditions) his colleagues and students. He never had anything but good to say about others and no one ever spoke ill of him. His is a tragic loss and he will be profoundly missed.

Mark Pyper, principal, Gordonstoun.

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