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News > School > Remembering Mr David Rayner - Mathematics Teacher 1989-99

Remembering Mr David Rayner - Mathematics Teacher 1989-99

We are sad to report the passing of David Rayner on 30 August 2023 at the age of 74.  He taught mathematics at the school from 1989 to 1999.
11 Jan 2024
School

We are sad to report the passing of David Rayner on 30 August 2023 at the age of 74.  He taught mathematics at the school from 1989 to 1999.  Like Ralph Birch and Tony Thacker, he had taught at St. Nicholas Grammar School, Northwood (from 1973-80) before joining Haberdashers.

Michelle Hawke (Class of 1994) recalls “he was the most memorable teachers from my time at Habs – and one who was widely respected as it was impossible to get the better of him. Our first homework from him was to painstakingly laminate the covers of our new maths text books – which had been written by him! He didn’t take anything too seriously (especially his students, whom he gently ridiculed at every opportunity!) – except for golf, to which it seemed to us he devoted everything. He’d use the excuse of teaching equations of motion to take us out to play golf, and in one lesson he made us arrange our desks in the shape of the letters NF, for Nick Faldo! His wry humour pervaded everything – making the lessons enjoyable, but also making it feel like nothing was too onerous or stressful –a mindset which I think has stayed with me even more than the maths!”


Aruni Muthumala (Class of 1994) recalls, he was renowned for writing maths textbooks, his passion for golf and driving to school in a distinctive brown jaguar. 'Mr Rayner always made maths somehow effortless and fun and had rather a dry sense of humour. I remember him giving us a golf lesson once, and telling me "best to stick to maths!"

Leaving teacher tribute from 1998 school magazine:

Mr Rayner

Question: What do you get if you put eight seventeen year-old further mathematicians, a spring balance, a hundred gram mass and a dedicated maths teacher in a lift in the art block?

Answer: Just another Lower Sixth mechanics lesson with Mr Rayner. At the start of the A-Level course those very same Lower Sixth girls entered the classroom not at all sure that they really wanted to be there - wasn’t mechanics the bit of Physics GCSE no one could do? However, under his careful guidance, very soon we became captivated by light inextensible strings, coefficients of friction and the ever-popular vertical circle (oh, and lifts of course). As we got to know him, our impression of him developed from simply “the one in the maths department that writes textbooks” to that of an golfing fanatic/ avid Arsenal fan, who tells pupils to watch the Ryder Cup for their homework, names important mathematical concepts after the World Cup and has a penchant for squirting precocious A-Level students with a rather large water pistol. Mechanics lessons with Mr Rayner were always something to look forward to, and by the end of the year we had not only learned the intricacies of simple harmonic motion, but realised how fortunate we were to have been shown them by such an enthusiastic and inspiring person. We know that we speak on behalf of the whole school in saying that we wish Mr Rayner the very best of luck in all he does in the future, and that he will be very sorely missed.    -  Debbie Putt and Irene Revell LVI

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