Dr Alan Davison
Last Thursday, 8th October 2020, the entire Owen’s community was shocked and saddened to receive news of Dr Alan Davison’s sudden passing.
Headteacher at Dame Alice Owen’s from 2005 to 2016, Alan was an ever present character who ran the school in his own unique style.
He was a steadfast leader, encouraging colleague and nurturing supporter of every student he came into contact with, enriching the lives of so many.
Alan’s extraordinary problem solving skills meant the school always remained open, even in thick snow and ice, and his exceptionally high expectations meant staff and students excelled under his leadership.
His determined nature shone through in many ways, such as on one school sports day when the weather was so bad that the Director of Sport was about to call it off. To convince him otherwise, at eight o’clock that morning, Alan donned a pair of trainers and to the staff’s amazement began sprinting down the 100m straight. At the finish line he confidently declared that the track was fit and sports day would go ahead!
That is just one example of how Alan’s remarkable enthusiasm benefitted students and ensured the school’s continued success during the eleven years he was Head.
With a keen interest in sports as well as academia, Alan would often help run school teams when others were unable, and he even attempted refereeing a couple of junior football matches in his time. He enjoyed playing in the staff football team when he could, but ultimately watching his beloved Newcastle United FC play was his particular favourite pastime.
The tremendous day in 2006 when our Year 9 Football team went all the way to the final of The National Cup, winning 1-0 to lift the trophy, was one of Alan’s favourites as Head at Owen’s. He even personally paid for a replica of the cup to be made before the original had to be returned, and upon its arrival at the school, he proudly placed it in the trophy cabinet in the foyer where it still stands today.
In his free time Alan was a keen cyclist and would often arrive in the morning and at after school meetings in full cycling regalia. The fact school staff were able to take him seriously in specialist cycling shoes which made it difficult for him to even stand, is only testament to the level of respect Alan commanded, and deservedly so.
He would have been the first to admit that he was not one of the world’s greatest thespians, but that never stopped him from appearing in the school’s annual pantomime. Typically he would burst onto stage, pause to look down at whichever prop he had attached his script to, and then, with great energy and gusto deliver his line. On one occasion, he had the entire audience and cast roaring with laughter having noticed him enter the stage with his costume on back to front, accidentally we presume, sporting an impressive six pack on his back.
The school’s 400th Anniversary Year provided an opportunity for the wider Owen’s community to witness just how much of a force Alan really was. Many of our past pupils and parents will remember him achieving the seemingly impossible task of persuading The Royal Albert Hall to allow us to hold a huge commemorative music concert there and this week on social media, past pupils have recalled the story of when Alan approached the Royal Albert Hall and they told him, “we don’t do school concerts”. Famously, his reply was, “neither do we!”
Not only was Alan able to achieve this remarkable feat, he was also able to privately charter one of First Capital Connect’s trains for the school’s journey to Moorgate for its 400th year commemorative service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 8th November 2013. He even somehow convinced them to rename the four-carriage locomotive ‘Dame Alice Owen’s 400 Years of Learning’ for the entire day! Something which we understand has never been done by a Headteacher, before or since.
Ultimately, it was Alan’s extreme passion for driving things forward and his formidable approach to ensuring the continued progress of individuals and the school as a whole, that set him apart from the rest.
Towards the end of his career, Alan joined the Old Owen’s Association as a dedicated committee member with his vision being to see our current pupils, parents and Owen’s Alumni coming together as one all encompassing family. We are pleased to say that this is something we are now working very hard towards and are confident that Alan’s vision will soon become reality.