Personally speaking - I like to probe people by asking 'why?'

4th March 2011 at 00:00
Anne Evans OBE is a former headteacher and now chief executive of Heads, Teachers amp; Industry (HTI), a charity connecting education, business and government to improve employability and life chances for young people

Who has been your biggest influence?

Two members of my family. My great aunt was an active suffragette. She was passionate about equality for women, one of the first to drive a car and founded the concept of the WRVS (Women's Royal Voluntary Service) hospital cafe for outpatients and visitors. My father founded the charity Help the Aged to ensure that the elderly retained their independence. They both had an influence in that I too left university determined to change the world.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

In my 26 years of teaching, there were no "worst moments", although inevitably there were scary ones, like taking your first whole-school assembly or managing the whole-school evacuation for a fire. But with hindsight, that is like going on stage and needing to prove you can do it.

Which pupil are you most proud of?

When I began teaching I had a group who didn't see the point of school. We developed a great rapport - and they all got jobs. I am still in contact with one or two of them today even though they are now in their 50s. One works in the Cabinet Office. I am proud of a career where we grow the next generation of leaders.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Always ask "why?" It drives people mad but probes to the root of all issues.

What would you be if you hadn't been a teacher?

A landscape architect. I adore gardening and creating new environments with plants. It was this interest that led to HTI's Greener Communities scheme - team building community days in which businesses transform a local school's outside space.

What do you do on a Friday evening?

Crash in front of the TV with pasta and a glass of wine.

Which car do you drive?

An Audi A5. I used to drive convertibles but have now moved to a grown up car.

Where did you last go on holiday - and why?

Provence in France. I have a longstanding affection for the region's purple haze of lavender fields, hills, heat and wine.

What is the worst excuse you have ever heard?

It has to be "I can't because ... (and then blaming others)".

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