Ben Sandell - Head of History

Ben joined Dauntsey’s in 2010 and is Head of the department of History. He is also responsible for the annual publication of the School's magazine “The Dauntseian”.

Prior to joining Dauntsey’s, Ben taught History, English and Drama at Haileybury in Hertfordshire and The King's School in Gloucester.

More about Ben…

What do you enjoy most about your subject?

I love History because it’s about people. Like those who study English Literature (the second best subject!) historians explore the human condition - what sets us apart. It’s endlessly engaging to explore and understand how and why events happened. I've also always loved the idea of different places - so why not explore different places in time, too?

What do you enjoy most about life at Dauntsey’s?

Dauntsey's has so much going for it - it is a very well-resourced, ambitious and academic school; yet those in our community are also kind and treat others with genuine care and compassion. There is not a whiff of pretentiousness either – it’s a school where young people can grow, make mistakes, learn from them, and be the best people they can be.

How do you spend your holidays/time out of school?

I have two small sons, Noah and George, so we tend to spend as much time as we can together as a family. I also love visiting my parents in the Cotswolds and my wife's family in southern Spain.

Your favourite place on earth and why?

I have lots of favourite places. I adore Canada, having travelled there a lot in my early twenties. I think it gets so many things right as a country. I love spending time travelling by train too. I grew up in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and so I love my home town and the surrounding area. Equally, I love Cyprus - where my wife grew up - that too, is a very special place. Finally, I'd love to visit the south of the USA - I'm a great fan of folk and country music and the Deep South has great appeal - as a holiday destination at least.

Who do you most admire in public life and why?

I'm a great fan of Her Majesty, The Queen. I know that monarchy isn't everyone's cup of tea, but she’s a great ambassador for the UK, and a consistent presence in my life and the life of so many millions of people. I think having that tangible link to the past and the wider world through the Commonwealth is very special.

If you could have a “superpower”, what would it be and why?

I would love to be able to travel to the past - of course (whilst maintaining modern standards of healthcare!).

Which book is top of your pile right now?

I'm reading a biography of Henry VIII, unsurprisingly.

In the press: A sense of History

History is not a series of dates, monarchs and wars, although these are among the milestones that signpost its progress. Rather, it sets the context for who we are today, how we see ourselves and the shape of our world. Ben Sandell, Head of History, explains how his department brings the past to life – go to article