|23 May 2022|
|News from the Worthian Network|
In 1961, the recently established Worth Senior School wanted a Biologist, so, armed with a BSc in Biology and an Oxford Diploma in Education, newly qualified Peter Freeland joined the science team, and stayed for a remarkable 38 years.
At that time Worth had one single laboratory, used mainly for teaching Physics, “This meant I had to teach in whatever room was available. As the school grew in size and new buildings sprang up, it wasn’t long before I got my own so-called lab which in a previous existence had served as a place for drying timber, then a shooting range”, says Peter.
Peter recalls that pupils generally regarded Biology as the easiest science, whilst Chemistry and Physics were considered pretty dry and difficult, except by those wishing to specialise. But as he explains the subject is important as, “any failure to grasp basic scientific ideas about the structure of the universe, the laws of nature, evolutionary principles and our human origins, too often leads to unjustified assumptions about what we are and where we are heading.”
Peter goes on to say, “As a teacher, my fascination with nature, its ability to delight, amaze and reward closer observation, was something I hoped to convey to pupils. Another important reason for teaching Biology is to instil in the young a respect for all life; human, animal and plant; green plants producing most of the oxygen with breathe.”
Peter retired from Worth in 1999 but says it was a privilege and pleasure to teach a long line of “splendid boys aiming high and determined to make the world a better place”. Over his career Peter has taught enough Worthian medics to open a hospital, including a heart surgeon, two pioneers of keyhole surgery; several innovators, one of whom set up his own factory to design and build medical apparatus; a handful of vets, including a passionately humane top equine vet who has worked tirelessly to improve the lot of race horses; a botanist who is Director of Dublin’s Glasnevin Gardens, Ireland’s answer to Kew Gardens; and, a Worthian who although not a medic, took A-level zoology and became Chairman of Brighton & Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust for 7 years.
Peter is now 84 and looks after his wife of 57 years, Anne. If it’s fine you’ll find him in his garden, if it’s wet he’ll be writing his second volume of poems Time for a Rhyme, about people, animals and plants – proceeds going towards the maintenance of Ashdown Forest.