I have worked with John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford, originally in the school and then in the end out on the water too; it has been inspiring for me, this is the Headteacher’s insight…..

JOG staff

JOG staff

Our work with Ian Rowe has been inspirational.

Ian came and cheered on our House Rowing Challenge, where students and staff pitted themselves against each other for House Points over the course of a week at break and lunchtimes.   In addition, he then delivered a riveting talk about his Atlantic Crossing which was engaging, honest and allowed the children to understand the ‘joy of failure’ and the recognition that being extraordinary takes hard work, resilience and humour.

Ian’s speech at our Celebration Evening was exactly in tune with our values; he encouraged the audience to reflect on the part they play in the success of the school and how ‘grabbing an oar’ regardless of your vessel, is both rewarding and challenging.  His recognition of our children’s successes was inclusive, and the certificate that included the piece of the broken boat that had crossed the Atlantic, captured the spirit of endeavour we want from our young people.


JOG kids on board! Great work – pulling together!

More recently we have been part of the Thames Challenge, to row the length of the Thames, day and night.  Our students were invited to row a stretch of the river, which allowed them to meet both Ian and his colleague and Olympic Rower Tim Foster.  This experience was brilliant because it allowed our students to be part of something extraordinary, to be the change.  They were treated as equals, worked alongside other people who were also raising money for their own charities and got a first-hand experience of making a difference.  This activity was part of a range of challenges we have set our school community as part of the fund raising to buy books and resources for our new library – we have just hit £8000.

Since working with Ian we have invested in three rowing machines (one funded by the Thames Challenge fund raising) and aim to continue the excellent work started at John O’Gaunt.

Sarah Brinkley


Ian's Blog
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