Teacher Spotlight Series - Thomas Hyam

Meet Thomas Hyam, one of our fantastic teachers and our Head of Rugby. He combined his education with his main sport of Rugby at Exeter College where he played academy rugby, helping their side win several major national competitions, including a treble of national trophies in one season.

My first day at Downsend was fantastic, I was welcomed wonderfully by both the pupils and the staff. The day was a bit of a blur if I am being honest, but I remember the excitement of everyone to be returning to school and a lovely community atmosphere. The PE Department was notably amazing at making me feel so welcome, we were straight out on the field with some fantastic weather in the early weeks, it could have not gone any better!

Prior to joining Downsend my experiences were always connected with sport; I was lucky enough to combine my education with my main sport of Rugby Union at Exeter College where I played academy rugby, helping our side win several major national competitions, including a treble of national trophies in one season. I later completed my degree in Sport and Exercise Science at Plymouth Marjon University graduating in 2018. During my time at university I continued to play rugby in the National Leagues making some amazing memories with some successful teams, in tandem with coaching Devon County RFU and Exeter Chiefs Academy DPP. I have always been motivated to become a teacher from an early age and completed my PGCE with the University of Buckingham in 2020 and relocated to Surrey in August.

My best memories from school were the companionships I was able to make with a number of different people, we are still a close group of friends that have enjoyed each others company into our adulthood. I loved every bit of my school days and had many great experiences!

1990s and the 2000’s were great decades to be brought up in, I was lucky enough to have access to a lot of sport and to socialise with many different people, there was a fantastic balance. I remember being obsessed with football during these decades, I think I can still list most of the Premier League football sides from this time, I would not change the decades I grew up in.

Remember the Titans: One of my favourite films I have ever watched is Remember the Titans, a great example of how passionate individuals are able to influence groups of people and how sport can bring hugely special memories.

Be ambitious, work hard and make sure you can hold your hand up and say I gave it my very best go!

Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.

During my time at University I had my thesis published in a Sport and Exercise Science Journal in 2018, I had to present this to many researchers at a few conferences throughout the year, it was the most nervous I had ever been!