My father, Peter Garwood, who has died aged 88, was a history teacher who went on to become a schools inspector.
Working for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools (now Ofsted) from 1977 until 1990, he covered the West Midlands, Devon, Cornwall and the Channel Islands, and was a highly respected figure, popular with colleagues and teachers alike, and forthright in his judgments. His natural air of authority, perhaps derived from his Oxbridge background, disguised strongly leftwing views that could catch public school heads unawares if they were foolish enough to think that he was “one of us”.
Born in Finchley, north London, he was the only child of William Garwood, an accountant, and his wife, Kate (nee Manders). After a brief evacuation during the second world war to Oxfordshire, the family moved to Rabley Heath, Hertfordshire, and in 1944 he went to Haileybury school near Hertford, where he was inspired by his history teacher John Roach, who later became a friend.
In 1951 Peter began his national service in Kenya with the 4th King’s African Rifles in Nanyuki, where his troop included a young corporal by the name of Idi Amin.
On one occasion Peter was asked to rid the camp of a number of sex workers who had set up on site and was told to find someone to do the job. He chose Amin, whom he regarded as a good soldier, and tasked him with politely inviting any outsiders to move on. However he later discovered that Amin had set out with a pick-axe handle and had beaten both soldiers and sex workers to effect the clear-out. The incident was an eye-opener for my father and perhaps a small insight into the true character of Amin.
On his return to Britain, Peter studied history at New College, Oxford, graduating in 1954. He then briefly joined the Colonial Development Corporation as a trainee, where he met Dorothy Roberts, whom he married in 1957, before switching to become a history teacher at the King’s school in Canterbury.
He became housemaster at the school in 1959 and remained there until 1965, when he met Daphne Wenley (nee Oakeshott), the wife of a fellow teacher. As a result both of their marriages ended in divorce and he and Daphne left Canterbury, marrying in 1968.
He took up a position as head of history at King George V grammar school in Southport and in 1974 became head of humanities at Banbury school, Oxfordshire, before, in 1977, joining Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools.
After his retirement, Peter and Daphne lived in West Hill, Devon, where they focused on their shared passions of books, gardening, family and books. They spent 30 years there, creating a garden paradise for their many grandchildren before moving up to Oxfordshire to be closer to family.
He is survived by Daphne, by his two children from their marriage, Kate and me, the four children of Daphne’s previous marriage, Clare, Joanna, Mary and James, and 15 grandchildren.
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