Danny Rowlands Housemaster, Teacher of French, Head of Outdoor Education, International Students Co-ordinator
My route to Merchiston was a somewhat meandering one. From a small school in St. Bees on the edge of the Lake District, I then went to Cambridge University where I was sponsored by the Royal Marines, before then changing my career choice and serving for several years with Lothian and Borders Police.
I then made the switch into teaching and spent five very happy years at The King’s School, Canterbury, where my roles were many and varied: Teacher of French and Spanish, Lycée Exchange Co-ordinator, Deputy Housemaster, Head of Oxbridge, CCF Officer, Rock Climbing Instructor, Duke of Edinburgh Leader, PGCE Mentor, Rowing Coach, Rugby Coach, Football Coach.
Scotland’s siren call then became too strong and I made the move back north in the summer of 2016, joining Merchiston as Housemaster of Laidlaw North and Teacher of French. From the Autumn Term 2019 I will also be responsible for running the Outdoor Education programme which the school offers.
As a lover of the outdoors, but also someone who thrives on the buzz of a cosmopolitan community, Merchiston is perfectly located- on the edge of a vibrant city, yet nestled cosily at the foot of the Pentland Hills which offer an easy escape and a much-needed sanctuary from the frenetic pace of school life.
My main passion is rock climbing and mountaineering in all their guises, winter and summer, be it in the unrivalled beauty of the Scottish mountains, my beloved Cumbria, or the larger ranges of continental Europe.
Canoeing and kayaking come a close second, on sea, loch and river.
Fell running is my preferred way of keeping fit (though it has rather failed to do so over the last couple of years!) and my next project will be the Welsh 3000s.
The life of a Housemaster can be somewhat surreal and can move remarkably quickly from moments of intense difficulty to moments of hysterical comedy- such is life in the company of 60 teenage boys! Helping boys through personal difficulties is without doubt the most rewarding aspect of the job, but the fact that these times are punctuated by much more entertaining happenings is also crucial: parents’ faces at the sight of 2 years’ worth of accumulated junk, boys’ farcical attempts to cover up misdemeanours, the awkwardness of the boy-girl divide at a social, to name but a few.