From an international sports career to life as a schoolteacher, Tom is still focused on keeping up standards

From an international sports career to life as a schoolteacher, Tom is still focused on keeping up standards

Having experienced the highs and lows of life as an élite rower, paralympian Tom Aggar is now revelling in his new career as a teacher.

Tom (OE 1995-2002), who until he retired was the longest-serving member of the GB Para-rowing squad, won the gold medal in the Arms-Shoulders Men’s Single Scull at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, and was crowned World Champion in the same discipline in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He bowed out of rowing while still competing at the highest level, having taken bronze at the Paralympics in Rio in 2016.

He is now teaching full-time at Claires Court Senior Boys, an independent day school in Maidenhead, and has heard during lockdown that, following his successful final submissions under the teacher-training process, he is now fully qualified as a teacher.

“After retiring from competitive rowing, I worked for a pharmaceutical firm for a short time, before taking the plunge and training as a teacher,” he says. “I had always thought about teaching, but for one reason or another had talked myself out of it. I should have trusted my instincts as I have thoroughly enjoyed my time teaching so far.”

Tom who read Bio Sciences at Warwick University, teaches Chemistry and Biology.

“It’s a fairly small school (by QE standards) of around 450 boys, but very sporty and a really great environment to work in. It’s funny now, as a teacher, how many of the QE standards I find myself holding the boys to here!”

Tom was an accomplished sportsman at QE and has fond memories of his time as a pupil. “I played rugby for so many years with a great group of friends; I really enjoyed my studies, particularly into the Sixth Form. I also had the opportunity to represent the School at so many sports throughout my time there.”

Tom was injured in a non-sports related accident in 2005 and took up rowing as part of his rehabilitation programme. “[Former Headmaster] John Marincowitz and the whole School were so very supportive of me after my injury and it has been great to still keep in touch with QE,” he says.

When Tom stepped down from competitive rowing, he took a break from sport and all the training for a while. But now he tries to keep fit and trains before work most mornings. “I guess old habits are hard to break, and although I don’t miss the pressure that came with being on the team and competing, I still enjoy keeping active.”

Tom is married to Vicki and they have three children, two boys and a girl. He enjoys spending his spare time with them, going for walks and swimming.

“Both the boys have started playing rugby now at Maidenhead in the U7 and U6s, so most of my Sunday mornings are spent on the side of a rugby pitch now!”