In remembrance of Shimon Levison
During his 32 years at Drayton Manor, Mr Levison made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of our students.
He was incredibly well respected by staff, students and our families as a subject expert, but also for the considerable time and energy he gave to helping our students to achieve at the highest possible standard and to be at their very best. The esteem in which he is held by our families is testimony to a lifetime of extraordinary work with young people.
The news of his passing was obviously very upsetting for our staff, students and those who worked with and knew him which is why we opened this Book of Condolence so that thoughts, feelings and memories could be shared.
Mr Levison was a true Draytonian displaying Ambition, Character and Civic Virue in everything he did. He will be missed enormously.
Ms Mills, Head Teacher
From the students
From the staff
(past and present)
From the alumni
My favourite memories are all my history lessons. One of the best teachers I’ve ever had, it’s really sad to see you gone. You will be missed.
My favourite memories are after school revision, teaching me from Year 10 to Year 12. RIP Sir you will forever be my favourite teacher to talk to laugh to and learn with.
Paige Roberts Carr
He taught my mum in the school when she came here and he helped me with revision. Mr Levison was a great teacher and will always be he will be missed.
He use to ways help me do my work. I offer my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. May Mr Levison’s soul be at peace with our Heavenly Father. I pray for peace and comfort for you and your loved ones at this difficult time and offer my condolences to you all. His gentle soul will always be in our hearts.
I have so many happy memories of him, as he always pushed our whole class to be better historians and better people. For example he would make us act and even sing in front of the class, something no teacher I know has done since. Thank you so much Mr Levison and I hope you rest in peace.
He was a legendary man and was a special teacher in this school. Kept everything easy and simple. To Mr Levison's family and friends, our thoughts and prayers are with you. He's gone from our sight but never from our hearts.
Teaching about atomic bomb and having a small conversation about other topics of history. Mr Levison was the best teacher I ever had and I felt like I achieved a lot from him. It made me really upset and disheartened upon hearing this and I hope that everyone will be able to overcome such a difficult time. I will never forget him and I’m sure others won’t either.
He made us write essays in class to consolidate the knowledge that he would give us and what I really admired about him is that he knew exactly what he was doing where at times, he never even needed to use a PowerPoint and I'd understand everything. He made me really enjoy history and was the reason I chose it for GCSE. Hopefully Mr Levison is in a better place and one day we can think of him fondly rather than feel upset! :)
He always used to help me. RIP Mr Levison
You will be missed
Mr. Levison was an impressive teacher for me, even though he only taught me for few months. His teaching, however, means massively for me. From sir's politics lesson, I understood the relationship between current affairs in both a historical sense and from a cultural angle. Mr Levison had motivated me so much. I remember the first time when I was in the class, I was very nervous because my English was poor that I might not understand the lesson fully. Sir however, looked into every students' eyes and make sure we are thinking with him. This direct contact, in every minute, pushed me to pay attention all the time. I remember after the class I use all my courage to say thanks to sir for being so kind and thoughtful. I thought he treated me more special because he saw me confused. Sir actually seems a bit surprised. I guess that's because he treat everyone the same. Same patience, same attention. At class I'm always active and full of questions. I could remember sir sometimes can't hear my talking and ask me to say it again. Because I always doubt what I've said, I would let sir just ignore me if he didn't listen it clearly. However sir was always full of patience that he'll ask me until I say it out loud and clear. The last time I saw sir, we were lining up in the tennis court due to Covid. I was super stressed about grades and studying that I stood there without interacting with fellow friends. But even so I always chose to not speak out my feeling, again I was doubting myself and English even now could be a barrier for me to express my feeling. Then sir came to me, asking me if I'm fine. I'm not feeling great, certainly, but as always my first instant let myself to tell sir that: no sir I'm fine. That was my last talk with sir. Sitting at the table in the politics class, I was always imaging what if sir come back one day, I could show him the progress I've made, new stuff I've learned. At school I always imagined, how could I know as much as Mr. Levison do. I wish I could have more courage, to be speak louder and clearer, to express myself with less self-doubting, just for Mr. Levison. Sir, I wish I could say proper good bye to you. However as long as you are happy in a different place, I have no regrets.
He was the most honest teacher I ever met.
He was a great teacher for the first few weeks I had him, all my brothers looked up to him. All the Cachards you taught wishes you the best.
He helped me to understand things in lessons and everywhere. He watched movies and documentaries with the whole class making it so fun and interesting. I’m terribly sorry for his family and friends loss, Mr Levison has helped me in history a lot, taking off his time to teach me more in every lesson, He always cared about his students and always taught them well, He will be watching all over us, Thank you for everything, rest easy Mr Levison.
He was a great and nice teacher, taught me a lot of interesting things in history and he made the lesson more fun and entertaining. He was an honourable man and hopefully he moved onto a better place.
He took over our history lessons towards the end of year 11, and he had a completely different teaching method to any other teacher I've known. He was amazing at helping us remember every single key piece of information, dates, names etc.... My history grade went from 7 to 9 because of his teaching, and he used to give extra tutor sessions and help me go through my work and improve my answers.
Mr Levison was one of the best teachers I've ever had, he showed how much he cared for our education and used his own free time to help us improve. He was a kind person and caring teacher, I wish the best to his family and friends.
He was so humble and one time someone had missed a test and he took his time out of day to actually help that child one to one during break and lunch to revise so that child could do the best they could in that test. You will always be forever in our hearts and we all will miss you xx
When he would teach us about the history of weird and painful punishments of the Victorian schools and made us volunteer to try one of them. I am sorry to mr levisons family and close friends as he was a funny teacher and the best teacher I have ever had in year 8.
Although we only had Mr Levison for a short time in year 7, it was quite clear to me that he had a real passion for this subject and I had an immense amount of respect for him for his teaching and his passion. My sincere condolences to the family of Mr Levison, and I wish for only the best, and perhaps the pain will not come away easy, I hope it does, and that he remains only in your fondest memories.
On sports day, those who did not have an event in the morning had to stay behind in school until the evening, and during our history lesson I had Mr Levison and he was extremely sweet and let us watch titanic. I am deeply disheartened by Mr Levison's passing, although i did not know him as much as i would have liked to and he was never my instructed teacher, he taught me many things and i will never forget his wisdom, his presence will be greatly missed.
Act like you made a difference, you did.
Helping me to work hard and focus on my work I`m very sorry for your loss.
I had heard a lot about him from my brother as he had taught my brother for years he was so nice to me whenever I would walk past, he might've not known me but would always smile or say good morning/afternoon he was my friends teacher and my friends really liked him, he taught both of my brothers and changed their lives enormously and I'm very sad to hear this news and he had made such a big change to students lives I'm very proud to say that he was part of the Drayton Manor High School community.
I hope he will reflect and see how good he has done to help all this people succeed in history hope he has a nice time in heaven.
I remember him being very supportive of me during parents evening and him wishing me a happy birthday a few days before the first lockdown, all in year 8. I wish his family nothing but the best and I hope he's looking down on us with proudness and grace.
Back in year 8, I had mr levison. i remember his phenomenal teaching and his brilliant way of explaining such complicated things. mr levision taught my older brother in 2015 at sixth form and i was always being told about what an amazing and intelligent teacher he was, so when year 8 came and i finally saw SLE on my timetable i was ecstatic, to say the least. While it didn't feel like an enormous privilege at the time, every lesson was an experience I’ll never forget. from crazy words I've never heard before that mr levison taught me (like ubiquitous??) to memories of him asking me to grab his newspaper from the library in the mornings, or memories of him joining into random conversations and turning them into debates, mr levison always had a way of pushing his students and making sure we'd exceed. While I only had mr levison for a year, its a year of lessons I will never forget, and i can confidently say he was one of the best teachers I've ever had.
A famous saying goes "the goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will." having only had mr levison for a year, i think its safe to say that i havent had as much time with him as other students, but i can confidentally say that mr levison influenced so many people, and shaped so many lives. his legacy will forever live on, in his students and his teachings.
Mr Levison has left us with memories i will forever cherish, but one that really stick out to me is when every line up, he would come up to me and tell me to keep smiling. He would go out of his way to make sure i'm doing well and not finding the subject too hard, and overall being an amazing support system and reassuring me when i thought i wasn't doing my best. He would always make sure i was comfortable and would always have a chat with me and tell me how great i was doing which was really nice to hear.
Rest in Peace Mr Levison. I wish i had a proper chance to say goodbye but i didn't. I didnt get the chance to thank you, I didnt get the chance to let you know what an amazing teacher you were, I didn't get the chance to tell you how much i appreciate you, but i was lucky enough to have you as teacher. It was such a bliss. Still cannot decipher the fact that he's been called by the Heavens. Once in a lifetime people get to meet teachers like him. He was like my father , always guided me through my difficult times and now he is gone but will remain alive in my heart.
I have a memory of Mr Levison commenting on my piece of work set by him and calling it a detailed masterpiece. To this day, I still remember it and you could say it is what has been driving me to keep working hard as it is what will bring good things in life. Thank you for bringing out the person I never knew of myself, Mr Levison.
My favourite memories are learning about the Tudor dynasty and historic traditions. I'd like to send my heartfelt condolence to the family of Mr Levison. May he rest in peace.
He was an awesome knowledgeable teacher, I learnt a lot from him. He will be immensely missed.
I remember the way he would help me in History GCSE when I was struggling and would stay with me after school sometimes to help. I also remember the way in which he would comfort the class as we started a level politics in order to get us ready for the school year.
Mr Levison made a very big impact on a lot of people so he has my respects.
One of the best teachers to ever teach me and help me understand so easily, he was funny without even trying to be or realising it. I hope he rests well and my condolences go to his friends and family and to the people that knew him. He truly was a good teacher and it was a pleasure knowing him.
Memories I have of Mr Levison is that he would teach us history in a way that appeals to all students including videos for visual learners. He is also the reason for many of my friendships due to the seating plan and would start a conversation with us that we all enjoyed. My most sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of Mr Levison and may his soul be at eternal peace and ease.
I remember him being very interactive with the class, complimenting my work, and generally being quite an interesting and respectable man. Another lifetime.
I hope he rests in peace love him lots.
He once told us a story about his time in school and made the whole class laugh. He was a great and creative teacher, every lesson was loved by every student he will forever be remembered for his intelligence and his big part of the school helping thousands of student become the best of them selfs mr Levison will forever be in our hearts. ❤️❤️
Thank you for helping other students.
Mr Levison was rarely ever absent. He always strived for us to get the absolute best out of our work every single day we had history. Mr Levison was such an amazing person who made a massive impact on so many peoples lives. He wanted all of his students to strive to get the very best out of their learning. He will be missed by everyone.
He taught History with a convivial manner. Thank you so much for changing my view on education as a whole. I loved your lessons and I liked you even more as a human being. Rest in peace.
He had extremely good memory so I learnt a lot from him. His discipline was immaculate. I wish Mr Levisons family the best.
I do hope that his family will recover from this tragedy and I wish the best for them.
Steve Maloney – History
I first met Shimon Levison in 1979 when we taught together at Elthorne High School. Apart from two years in the 80s we were friends and colleagues for over forty years. In that time, I probably spoke with Shimon more and for longer than with any other person I have known. We were of a similar age and thought and believed in many things similarly. He was the best conversationalist, rationalist and sounding board for all things historical and political. We often ribbed each other about his Spurs and my Leeds Utd and I think my going on about cricket turned him latterly into an avid Test Match Special listener. He was, however, untouchable on pop music of the 60s, 70s & 80s, about which his knowledge was encyclopaedic. He was a film buff, a theatregoer and he literally devoured books, magazines and newspapers retaining every detail.
All of us in his department became better teachers due to his exemplary teaching methods. He had the deepest factual knowledge and a forensic ability to distil exactly what was required in answer to exam questions and, as so many former students are confirming, he was the best teacher they ever had.
In his time as Head of Department, record numbers of students chose GCSE History, AS, A Level History, AS, A Level Govt & Politics, the results of which received national recognition. Hundreds of students are also grateful and indebted to him for his guidance with university applications and the writing of personal statements.
I miss his wisdom and the affirmation that I so valued, but I am so glad to have known Shimon Levison.
Sincere condolences to Mum, Beth and Stephanie and all the family.
Matthew McCarthy - History
Four days before my interview at Drayton Manor more than 20 years ago, I had to make a choice about whether I would attend an interview here or at a school in Bromley. Both schools seemed similar and were roughly the same distance from where I lived at the time. For no particular reason, or at least not one I can remember, I chose Drayton. Serendipity.
In the years since, virtually every day would begin with some debate or argument about politics or history, about one of the three books he had read that week, a film that I was never going to see, the unerring ability of Spurs to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory or another Southampton defeat. It formed the basis of an extremely important friendship. One that I had hoped would continue long after he retired.
There is no question he made me a better teacher. He said that teaching was straightforward: know your subject; get the students to write; and be interested in them. Easy to say. But he did make it look so easy. With knowledge like that.
A librarian here once told me in all earnestness ‘What Shimon doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing’ and barely a lesson passed when students were not writing and reading out their work. Above all though, what was so clear over so many years was that he was deeply interested in young people and their lives, their hopes and ambitions. You cannot manufacture that. Either you are or you are not. He was. And the students knew it.
Like them, I owe him a great deal. Like them, much of what I know is because of him. Clever, funny and kind. The holy trinity. Ok, very occasionally irascible. And stubborn. I will miss him terribly.
I hope that you have taken comfort from the tributes that he has received. He was important to so many people. He will always be in my thoughts.
Kate McClean – History
Being under the wing of Shimon for so many years has been more than a privilege; it’s been unique. Learning something new from him every day, be it historical or even a bit of showbiz gossip, and his endless support through my career and life beyond the walls of Drayton has meant so much. It’s the knowing that he was always there for me, through thick and thin, helping me sort out the wibble from the rocket science, his friendship has been such a precious gift.
I’ll miss our double act for revision classes when I was Carol to his Richard Whiteley; I did the writing on the board while he dragged answers out of even the most reluctant students. Then there’s the Forrest Gump days when Shimon would announce ‘It’s Gump time’ to the students, and tell them ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get’. How true that is and how he loved that movie!
There are so many wonderful memories that will always stay in my heart and I will miss you Shimon. You were my good friend, and that ain’t something you can find just around the corner.
Simran Hundal – History
I have so many fond memories of Shimon. From his unwavering support for every child that he taught, to his dry sense of humour and his witty jokes. My most precious memories, however are of our wonderful friendship. In particular, one Saturday afternoon where he saw me with some friends, we waved to each other across the street and smiled. When we spoke on Monday, he told me how happy it made him to see me smiling and laughing. That was our Shimon, his happiness came from seeing others happy.
I’m so grateful for his friendship, support and all the memories. I will miss you Shimon.
Shuhada Mannan – History
Shimon was a role model for us in History. When I joined Drayton as an NQT, I had already heard so much about him, and he inspired me every day. Sharing my first A-level class with him was equal parts daunting and exciting and I will never forget his encouragement, support and humour.
I will miss helping him with all things technology. I remember when he would need me to help him with his brand new smartphone, and within a few months he was helping me with using Microsoft Teams! That was Shimon, he was relentlessly independent and always gave to others, but my favourite thing about Shimon was how humble he was.
I send my condolences and support to his family and our community who are feeling the loss of someone so incredibly special. Shimon will be missed but his legacy will always go on.
Samera Oulkadi – History
Mr Levison. A Legend. A Gentleman. A soul beyond words xxx
Verashe Chauhan - Geography
When I first started at Drayton, I would see Shimon in the former E building but we would never speak. I was in awe of him as the students would speak so highly of him but I felt like I was not worthy to speak to him. But when we moved offices, Shimon and I bonded and would have regular conversations which were always centered around health, family and children, both mine and his. He was always so sympathetic and took genuine interest in my thoughts and I would always feel lucky to have shared things with him.
Prayers to the family. May Shimon rest in eternal peace knowing he was so valued and respected by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him.
Natasha Marshall - Geography
During my first year at Drayton working on Student Reception Shimon was this mythical History and Politics teacher who the kids were simultaneously terrified of and desperate to impress.
Coming back as an NQT I quickly found that this applied to the staff as well. No praise was higher than Shimon telling you that he had seen a lesson you had been teaching and that he had been impressed by it or when he asked you a question about the way you had done something. The day that he told me that he thought my NQT year was going well was the day that I actually started to believe I might be okay at this teaching thing!
Shimon was fiercely loyal to both the department and the kids beyond anything I had ever witnessed before and I don’t think I will ever see again, it was truly an honour to work with him - even if he didn’t see the point in Geography!
John Dean – MFL
I was lucky enough to work with Shimon for 24 years and over that time we became friends. My work day would begin at 7.00 in the morning with a chat with Shimon. Usually, we would talk about the same things we had spoken about many times before: life's absurdities in general and the uselessness of our football teams in particular. It was a good way to start the day and I miss it and him. I hope that it has been some comfort to discover the esteem in which Shimon was held by colleagues and students alike.
Lorely Paine - PE
Shimon was a quiet, considered and caring man. He was not demonstrative, he didn't look for praise or recognition he simply went about doing what he did best, teaching and helping students. I taught with Shimon for 32 years, he was a kind man. He often came to see me to 'see what I was doing' about a new initiative. He didn't like new initiatives because he didn't really need them, his way had worked so well for so long. He was a teaching legend in the truest sense of the word, he had all the crucial qualities, he gave his time, he gave his interest and he imparted his knowledge in a way that engaged and enthused students. He insisted on the best from his students and drove them to aspire to the highest standards that he imposed on himself when dealing with them. He supported them and enabled them to produce their best work which on so many occasions led them to further success in their school and often onto their university careers. When he wasn't marking work or reading through UCAS personal statements Shimon had his head buried in a newspaper making sure his lessons were up to date with the latest political issues or ideas. He sat with students and listened to their concerns, he helped them when they were struggling with their work and he loved engaging with them about their views and arguments about issues they were covering in lessons. Shimon inspired the highest level of respect from everyone who knew him because he had earned it. Drayton will not be the same without Shimon but he will live on in the memories of so many children and colleagues alike. Shimon made a difference in the life of so many children and he was an inspiration to all of us who knew him.
One of my lasting memories is always being worried that Shimon was going to walk into a lamp post in the mornings when I cycled past him on my way into school. He had his coffee in one hand and his head down reading the newspaper which he had just bought from the shop. Somehow without looking up he managed to make it back to school every day without mishap - I think!
I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you gain some comfort from the outpouring of appreciation that you will be reading. I believe Shimon did know how much the students appreciated him and that hopefully brings some comfort to all.
Francoise Fajolle - MFL
I used to bump into Shimon every morning as I arrived by the school gate around 7.15am. He would be either walking out of the gate with the Guardian folded in one hand to buy his take-away coffee around the corner, or coming back into the school with his take away coffee in one hand and the folded Guardian in the other. To this day, I am amazed how Shimon could manage to walk out of school, cross the road, go to the coffee shop, and back again, all the while reading the Guardian and without lifting his eyes from the paper. Anybody else would have tripped, or bumped into something, or at least spilled some coffee. Not Shimon!
The moment I knew that Shimon would no longer walk by the school gate first thing in the morning, is when I realised that, after 30 years of having known him, school for me would never be quite the same. Shimon is a huge loss to us all, colleagues and students alike. Such a unique presence and personality.
To Shimon's family and friends, all my warmest thoughts go to you all, who must be clouded in sadness and sorrow.
Bless you, Shimon, wherever you are.
Leighan Arezina - Finance
You were such a kind, gentle, compassionate, clever and complicated man. Few probably truly understood you but we were all lucky to have our lives touched by you and you will be missed by many for a very long time. It was a pleasure and a privilege to know you.
Jill Majumdar - Maths
I’m so very sad to lose such a lovely, lovely man. I knew him first as my History teacher at Drayton - he was a caring, genuinely interested, great teacher who used to try to “correct” my music taste (Oh, he was so right too!) and who would often ask me about my younger sister because she was the same age as (the then primary school aged) Beth, and he wanted to compare notes. After I dropped History and went on to do sciency A-Levels he was still always happy to chat, and would offer advice on those difficult university decisions, and other stuff. I regarded him, then and after I left Drayton, as my favourite teacher.
Twenty years later, I re-joined Drayton as a teacher. Chatting with Shimon was somehow always soothing, and he showed the same genuine, lively and humorous interest that I’d remembered from being a pupil. Most recently (this academic year) his sixth form tutor group was in the classroom next to mine. Every Friday morning, we would hear “Country Roads” being bellowed with abandon by his class – I would try to get my lot to join in, but we were a much quieter contribution. Apparently, he had made them listen to it when he first met them, and it became a tradition, which his tutor group continued in his honour after he left!
I was really upset to learn of Shimon's passing, and his loss leaves such a huge hole in the soul of this school. My heartfelt sympathy and condolences to his family, I'm so very sorry.
Sian Dowden – Former Deputy Head Teacher
Shimon dedicated himself to ensuring that the students he taught developed a love of History and achieved the best grades that they could at GCSE and A Level. They and their parents thought highly of him.
I worked with Shimon for over 30 years and had so much respect for him, his professionalism and caring nature. I enjoyed our conversations, reminiscing about students and colleagues from the past and his dry sense of humour. He was always there to help and advise. I will always have fond memories of him, he will be greatly missed.
Until we meet again, rest in peace.
Desmond Murphy - Science
So eloquent, so knowledgeable, so pessimistic about whatever Spurs' fixture was that weekend! Someone who simply had the respect of everyone he met and interacted with. So invested in his passion- he embodied the notion that teaching is a vocation.
I was so devastated to hear the news of Shimon's passing. The world is worse off for not having him with us anymore, but a so much better place for the influence that he had over so many people over so many years. I'll never forget Shimon.
Lynda Goodwin - Inclusion
When I first started working as a Learning Support Assistant at Drayton Manor many years ago, I was lucky enough to assist in some of Shimon's lessons. What can I say, he was strict, determined to get the best out of his students, and his lessons were never boring. I remember once with a Year 8 class, their task was to choose and act out a scene from history. Shimon split the class into groups of 5, but one of the groups only had four pupils. I remember him going over to the students and telling them to come and ask me very nicely if I would be part of their group. Of course, I had to accept. At the end of the lesson, Shimon gave out merits for outstanding performances, one of which was given to me - I even got a ‘well done’ stamp in my diary! Honestly, I think I was more chuffed than the kids. I will always have fond memories of my time in Shimon's lessons.
I would just like to say, I feel hugely honoured to have received not one, but two hugs and kisses from Shimon during my time at Drayton Manor. I'm very proud of that fact. On one of the occasions, it was hilarious to see the shocked looks on teachers’ faces when he walked up to me smiling, then kissed me on the cheek and embraced me, just before briefing in the staff room. I chuckle every time I think of it.
To Shimon's family, I am truly sorry for your loss. Shimon will be hugely missed by all the students he inspired over the years, and of course, all the staff that were lucky enough to get to know him. RIP Shimon x
Mardi Smith – Art
I remember observing one of his lessons as a fairly new and inexperienced teacher. I was in awe of the respect he commanded from the Year 8 students. He'd pace around the room slowly, making his point, and everyone was so engaged, listening quietly and following his every move. Every now and then he'd 'cold call' a student for information and they'd answer confidently, wanting him to be proud of them. I of course attempted this with little luck and soon realised that he was a truly special person and teacher. He will be missed.
Sir Pritpal Singh – Retired Head Teacher
It is with a heavy heart that I write this tribute to Shimon Levison who was sadly snatched away from this earth on Wednesday 2 June.
I had rather hoped that Shimon would go on to become the Mr Chips of Drayton Manor, such was the regard with which he was held in by those he had taught and by those with whom he had worked. It won’t surprise anyone reading this tribute that he was the teacher who was chosen most often by our students, year group by group, as Best Teacher in the end of year assemblies. I can see Shimon standing modestly in the School Hall, with a wry smile, as the wholehearted applause from students and staff resonated round the Hall, at length.
It wasn’t just at Drayton Manor that Shimon was held in high regard. There are a number of certificates that I received from examination boards which were issued by them because academic subjects that he was responsible for, repeatedly, produced some of the finest examination results in England. Not only was his teaching quite remarkable but he inspired those around him to reach great heights, in order to ensure that our students had the very best experience, and highest aspiration. His commitment to quality was indefatigable.
Shimon stands in the Pantheon of the great teachers of Drayton Manor. His many decades of selfless duty to our students shine as an example of how to carry out professional service.
I believe Shimon Levison would have been an extraordinary teacher in any of the 90 years of Drayton Manor, such was the command he had of his subject matter, History, to name one, and so timeless his attributes.
As a new Head at Drayton Manor in 1994 I found him, as the Head of History, thoughtful, measured, highly professional, and diligent. Decades later these very same qualities were still to the fore, so I really should add stamina to his many personal qualities. He took on the greater responsibilities that I asked him to shoulder, such as being Head of the History and Social Sciences Faculty, with his habitually professional and astute manner.
He was very witty, and I would always make time to have a word or two with Shimon whenever I saw him around the school, as that was always uplifting. When he was out and about around the school one can be assured that he would be looking for a student or two who needed some additional advice regarding homework or an assignment he had set.
To Shimon’s family, as a way of condolence, I can say that we were very fortunate to have Shimon Levison at Drayton Manor for so many years, and I very much hope that he felt he had fulfilled his vocation. I certainly felt he had done so, to the very great benefit of our students.
Jaitinder Sandhu - IT
Helping in class with use of technology, he was the only teacher I know of who would not struggle to teach when IT was not available or working correctly. So sorry for your loss. Shimon will be greatly missed.
Gavyn Griffin - English
I will always remember you as a legend of History, a legend of Drayton Manor and a legend of a man. And most importantly, to your students, you were their legend.
Jessica Fenn - Science
Always being a consistently calm and controlled person to be around. He was passionate about the students and his subject which inspire all others around him. My deepest sympathy for Shimon's friends and family.
Ianthe Greenwood – MFL
Shimon was an incredibly compassionate and committed teacher. He was universally respected by the students because of the care he showed them and his passion for his subject.
Dear family and friends of Shimon, I am truly sorry for your loss. Shimon was a real asset to the school and a rare gem of a teacher. His loss will be felt across the school for a long time to come.
Sarah Mitchell - Former teacher of Maths
I always remember Shimon as such a calming influence around the school. Farewell, Shimon, you will be truly missed.
Biruk Bayeh - Computer Science
Deepest condolences to all of the Shimon's family. Lord be with you at this time. He is safe in the arms of Jesus now.
Tracey Carvey-White - Inclusion
I didn't get to know you personally, but hear the echoes of kind, sincere words about you daily. Hearing the sad news ripped a piece of me out. I felt like I knew you as well as others did; I felt like you touched my life as you have others. I felt like the school did not feel the same and I know we're all feeling broken. However, I smile when I heard the lovely sentiments echoing again, and thank you for the mark you made on this community. I pray strength for your family always, and hope some of the strength will come from all the lovely memories we hold in our hearts.
Warmth. Intellect. Humour. Humility. Passion. Empathy. Love for life. Mr. Levison was wonderful. Magnetic. An astute, intellectual man with a supremely humble, disarming and engaging style. Everyone I knew loved him, no-one more so than me.
He somehow totally flipped the teacher-student paradigm on its head by levelling himself alongside his students - who I am convinced he found utterly fascinating, as he often elevated them.
Teaching indirectly and organically, gently even, like water, often through witty and meandering anecdotes, every lesson with him was a riot of laughter and colour underpinned by a rigid, unswerving commitment to delivering the facts we needed to grasp key concepts.
The last time I saw Mr. Levison was in 2019. I told him I was leaving the UK to emigrate to Australia and wanted to say farewell. He looked me in the eye and said, "Well, you've made it then", smiled broadly and gave me a huge, warm hug that I shall never forget. My eternal thanks and most sincere condolences for the loss of such a brilliant, inspiring man.
Sometimes he would sit with me and help me with my homework in my free periods. Other times he would sit with me just to chat and actually distract me from doing my homework. In class he would always make me read out my essays and without fail he would critique every line; I would take every critique on board and his praise meant everything to me. He was terrible at using technology, I once had to teach him how to use his phone, but that did not hinder his teaching in the slightest. I will always remember his commitment to every student and the way he helped me to be more confident in myself and in my work.
I will miss Mr Levison so much. I appreciate everything he did for me and I will never forget the guidance and support he gave me during my time at Drayton. He was a teacher, a mentor and a guide to so many and words cannot describe the positive impact he had on so many lives.
I am devastated to think that the world is without a person and a teacher such as Mr Levison. I will always remember him as the most dedicated teacher you could ask for. He worked endlessly for his students and our education and there was no limit to the time and energy that he gave us. I am confident if it were not for him, I wouldn’t have gone on to do History at university and then later work in policy. Recently, I told him in an email that I often think of him and our Politics classes and think how would Mr Levison be trying to make sense of the crazy times we live through. I can picture the board now 'to what extent...' and him asking the class one by one if they watched the news last night. His ability to teach and bring the best out of students was unparalleled. But more importantly, was his ability to motivate students not to throw away their futures.
When we were younger, we thought he was strict, as we got older, we all realised just how much he cared. I will always remember him paying surprise visits to the sixth form common room to catch us not working. I will always remember him dictating emails to me to type, or asking me to fill in his register on excel as he seemed to have an aversion for the computer. I will always remember him helping everyone - and I mean everyone - with their university applications. I was lucky enough to pay him a visit at the school a few years ago, he was exactly the same, inspiring, funny and caring. This is how I, and many others, will remember him.
Mr Levison, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for inspiring me for all these years. I will continue to apply what I learnt from you as a teacher and a person every day.
While I was taught by Mr Levison nearly 10 years ago, it is no exaggeration to say that I spoke about him and reminisced about his lessons even just a few days before I heard of his death. You see, he was brilliant for me and he dragged my lazy teenage self through GCSEs and A-Levels, but he did so with a mixture fear and hilarity.
When we first met in 2005, I was a bright and well-behaved boy, grateful that Mr Levison did not neglect me as he dealt with more difficult children. By 2010 when he taught me again, I was much more concerned with being cool than being smart. But sharp as ever, Mr Levison remembered me. He knew what I was capable of and didn't allow me to rest for one second until I achieved it. Ultimately, I achieved the A-Level grades in History and Politics that allowed me to go to Edinburgh University and I am forever grateful that he refused to allow me to descend below my ability during those difficult teenage years.
But how did he do it?
He was a bit like Sir Alex Ferguson, working out quickly how to motivate different students. Unfortunately for me, he realised that I was fuelled by fear. As we grew older, Levison used to rearrange the tables so that the students were all in a circle looking in at him - a bit like Bentham's Panopticon, you felt as though you were always being watched. One day, as was common, we did a practice essay. Being a lazy 16-year-old, I had done no revision and was exposed by the essay topic Levison chose. Hopefully, he wouldn't pick on me. But of course, he did. He took my paper, read my waffling 300 words and whispered "it's rubbish" before dropping the paper on the floor. "He doesn't know it," he shouted. This was one of Levison's favourite lines.
This humiliation was too much to bear, so I quickly made sure that I would never be exposed to his wrath again. In turn, Levison realised this fire and fury approach was working so made an effort to single me out (or so it seemed). For a teenager trying desperately to remain "cool" this created new problems. Instead of being shouted at for not knowing the topic, I can recall being used as a way to make an example of others! "How come he knows it and you don't," he'd say to one of my friends. The only thing worse for a cool kid than humiliation was to be exposed as a boffin.
And then of course, he was hilarious. One day, we walked in and said "today, we're learning about the police." A student didn't hear and said "what?" "The pigs, the filth, the 5-0 - we're learning about the police," he yelled back to roars of laughter. Every joke came upon you suddenly.
Alongside his considerable scare tactics though, there was a fiercely caring man. Nearly everyone in my A-level class had their personal statements dictated by Levison. He stayed late for when we finally realised that hard work improved your grades. And he never stopped pushing us. He never let us settle for a B when an A was what we deserved.
Although these memories are probably all waffle, with little structure, so if he were to grade my memories of him, he'd probably say: "A star - you've written nothing!"
To Mr Levison's family, I'm very sorry for your loss. I hope that the hundreds if not thousands of messages from students past and present can provide you some comfort, (finally) knowing that he was a truly brilliant teacher who is responsible for unlocking the potential in so many.
Mr Levison was an absolute inspiration to me in my life. His passion, hard work, and determination for his students to succeed has carried me through much of my life, even beyond Drayton after I finished. He taught me how to think, how to write and speak in an articulate manner, and how to enjoy learning. He would always push me harder to study during my breaks and after school. He also taught me how to be more confident by making me read my essays out loud in class, sometimes bringing in the other classes to listen too! He always wanted his students to be the best they could be, not just in writing answers to questions but in life too. He was always spontaneous, and I always wanted to give him 100% in lessons and in exams. And I know that many, many other former students and current students alike gave him 100% too. My academic success is largely due to him, not even just in history/politics but in my other subjects too, and after Drayton at university. No other teacher I have come across comes even close to how amazing and intelligent he was, and I feel that he will never be matched in that regard. He was just too unique and special, and from what I've seen of other tributes, he has inspired people across entire decades; he has changed generations for the better. It was an honour to have bumped into him at the park a few years ago; to catch up with him and spend time with him is something I'll remember for the rest of my life. In many ways he was like a father to me. I'll always keep him in my memory. I will miss him terribly. Thank you for everything, Mr Levison. It was a privilege to be your student.
My deepest condolences go out to your family. I often think fondly of lessons with Mr Levison. I remember him as a dedicated teacher and interesting person, who encouraged students to think beyond the curriculum, engage with politics, and current affairs. I have no doubt that my good grades were mostly down to his teaching!
Mr Levison was integral to fostering my interest and passion in history and politics. I don’t think any other teacher of mine has had more of an impact on my day-to-day life, as his teaching on writing style and structure have lived with me ever since.
Nidhi Madhani (or as you liked to call me, Nidz)
Dear Mr Levison,
You were a true angel, a true gift from the divine and a true legend. Thank you for changing my life forever, thank you for making my Drayton experience so memorable and special. I wish I could have said goodbye... Just once. You are forever loved. You are a legend. I hope I make you proud.
Tania, Michael, Tia, Nina and Tyler Tamou
Thank you for your help, guidance, patience and kindness over the years. You have taught us all and consistently pop up in our fondest memories. Rest in peace.
Mr Levison was one of the most caring and dedicated teachers I ever had growing up. He was so well loved by his students, and I know so many of us want to send our condolences to his family and celebrate our memories of him. The history department at Drayton was always a lovely environment because you could tell all the teachers had genuine friendships with each other and Mr Levison was at the heart of that. He made us laugh, he made History really interesting and he never let anyone fall through the gaps. I am so grateful for all his support while applying to university, he was so important in giving me the confidence that I needed to get in and inspiring me to study History. He brought the best out of so many students, and one thing all Drayton Manor students seem to have in common is their respect and care for Mr Levison.
Mr. Levison was the kind of teacher who got the best out of you. He took teaching seriously and cared that you properly understood the subject at hand. Ten years on, I can still feel how he made me a sharper, more focused writer and thinker. I feel so incredibly lucky to have had him as my history teacher.
Mr Levison was probably the biggest influence on me as a teacher, a similar story for many of my peer group, 50% of whom went on to study History at University largely as a result of his passion for us to learn. I can certainly say that he set me on the path that I remain on today and my life and development would have been very different without him.
Mr Levison was such a dedicated and passionate teacher who genuinely wanted the best for all of his students. I remember during half term he offered up his spare time to give feedback on some of my work which really helped me. His style of teaching always challenged us to think constructively rather than simply to learn a list of facts which helped how I approached my other subjects in school and really prepared me for studying history at university. Such a big loss for future generations of students.
Mr Levison was truly an amazing teacher. Helped his students achieve the best, hanged back after school to offer more support, offered sessions during end of term and half term which helped me a lot personally. He pushed me to work harder and aim higher and thanks to him, and him only, I did well in the subjects he taught me. He will be missed.
Mr Levison was without a doubt the greatest, funniest, most dedicated and committed teacher I ever had the privilege of being taught by. He was an incredibly intelligent man who always bent over backwards to ensure every single one of his students reached their maximum potential. He had a real passion to engage young people with some of the world’s most important issues and debates preparing them for their next chapters. He was more than just a teacher, he was an inspiration, a role model, a legend. You’ll always be in my thoughts and memories Levo. Rest in peace.
My condolences over the loss of one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Mr. Levison truly changed my life and inspired me to chase my career, without him I wouldn’t have the spark and passion I have for what I do. To hear the news today, I was heartbroken and I’m truly sorry for your loss.
Mr Levison was a fine teacher, in fact, he was the best. His passion for the job, alongside his steadfast desire to see his pupils succeed in and enjoy the subjects he taught, was unwavering. He played no small part in making my time at Drayton, and that of many of my classmates, one which we look back on with joy. He made studying both History and Politics fascinating, and elevated the process of writing and analysing - to a 16 year old at least - an art form. His approach to all his pupils was spirited, optimistic, genuine and human. Thanks for making my schooldays some of my very best days. Rest in peace, Sir.
I was lucky enough to be taught by Mr Levison for Year 9 History and was saddened to hear of his passing, I hope that his family and friends are surrounded by much love through this time. I didn't like History in my previous years, I didn't take it so seriously and I felt that this was something I had no love or passion for. That was until I started Year 9 in Mr Levison's class, and that’s when I realised that I really do have a lot of passion and love for this subject, I just needed the right teacher, and Mr Levison was the greatest teacher to have. I remember we once had this test, and at the start of the next lesson after the test Mr Levison called me up to read my paper saying I had done the best in class. I was thrilled I had done so well but I was nervous since I had never done so well before and felt anxious to read in front of the class, yet sir encouraged me, assuring me that I had done brilliantly writing the paper and filled me with confidence to stand and read it. Voice trembling slightly, I started to read and carried on feeling more and more confident in my speaking. I felt accomplished, I felt confident and calm. After reading, Mr Levison congratulated me and I sat down on my seat feeling proud of myself. I wasn't so lucky to get Mr Levison for GCSEs or A-Levels, but he is the teacher who showed such passion for the subject, and such care in ensuring that his students were getting on well with understanding it as he would always go above and beyond by helping struggling students who needed it after class for a one to one on how they could improve. Being in his class was everything I needed to see how much I loved this subject as it inspired me to learn at both GCSE and A-Level today. I can gladly say I found my passion as result of being taught by a teacher like no other, one of the smartest, most helpful teachers there has ever been, doing more than most to see his students succeed. Rest in peace, Mr Levison, you will be missed.
Whenever the other teachers were never around for me, you were always there. You were an inspiration, a mentor, and a friend. May you Rest in Peace Mr. Levison.
Dear Mr Levison, I wish I could’ve said this in front of you but you had to go sooner than expected. I remember my first lesson in Year 7 with you where I used to sometimes mess around and would get scolded by you however thinking about it now, I deserved it. You always inspired me and my classmates to do the best we could no matter what. I remember when I had you again for GCSE History where I was your student for two years and once again, I loved your smile and hilarious jokes and harsh criticism of my essays, that’s the reason I got my highest grade in History GCSE. Last year when I had started Year 12, I changed one of my A levels to Politics where I had you again and I must say the lessons were amazing. I always looked forward to coming to your lessons even though we had two teachers for Politics. I wish I spent the whole school year last year with you but covid had to ruin it. I remember your amazing help you gave for my friends personal statement you were always there for me and my friends and I will never forget that. Thank you very much Mr Levison for all the good memories from year 7-year 12 hopefully I get to meet you again somewhere where we can have a nice chat about politics or watch Horrible Histories. You will always be remembered as one of my best school teachers. Farewell Mr Levison.
Mr Levison was one of the most inspiring individuals I have ever met. In my first week as his student at 14 years old, I was quietly writing an essay he set in class and I felt a tap on my shoulder - I had been chosen to read out my work. There began my wonderful relationship with the best teacher ever. Kind-hearted, passionate, and wonderfully straightforward, Mr Levison taught me so much. My favourite thing he taught me was the difference between being “smart” and being “clever”. “Smart is how you look, clever is how you are”. He was very particular about not mixing up these two words! Ten years on, I still share this little line he said with people who weren’t luck enough to have a Levison in their lives. Whenever my friends and I are together we would mention something, he’s said or done. His presence in our lives has had such a strong and lasting impact. We love you Mr Levison. Thank you for everything. You will always be in my heart.
Mr Levison was a very important teacher in my education. His style of teaching pushed me harder than I would have pushed myself. I have no doubt that without Mr Levison I would not have been able to get through university the way that I did. I owe a lot to him and what I learned from him.
Thank you for all you have done for so many students, you taught a lot more than history. Your lessons will stay as a valued memory of my high school journey. My sincere condolences to your loved ones.
I will always owe you a lot for your support during my time at Drayton Manor. You had a huge impact on me as a student and I knew you cared about my future. I honestly don't know if I would have made it to where I am without your guidance during that time. Rest in peace Mr. Levison.
Mr Levison was one of my favourite teachers. He taught me GCSE and A Level History. He was so passionate not just about teaching History, but also making sure that pupils had a firm understanding of the impact of history on everyday life. He taught History in the context of ‘today’ and that made the lessons more engaging and enjoyable. He always sought out the best in his pupils, especially those who knew could achieve more than they thought they could. I was one of those students, and Mr Levison poured so much time into working on my writing style, comprehension and confidence. A large amount of my academic success stems from the skills I developed in high school, and many of these skills were formed in the History classroom. The A that I achieved in A Level History was my highest grade and I have Mr Levison to thank for that.
Mr Levison was a fantastic teacher and mentor who shaped the lives of many students. He will be dearly missed. Mr Levison taught almost every single member of the Bolaji family that attended Drayton Manor High School in his many years teaching. This includes my three siblings and around 6 of my cousins. Mr Levison was quite fond of my family but none more so than my eldest sister, Janet Bolaji (who is arguably the most academic of us all). We would often discuss who the ‘best Bolaji’ was, and despite his hesitation to commit to any individual, on my last day at Drayton I managed to coax him into admitting it was me!
Mr Levison was a name that used to float around all students’ mouths, when I finally got to be in your history class it became apparent why. You made me love history even more than I already did and brought passion, vigour and humour with you. Whenever I speak about school you are always spoke about highly and regarded with fond memories. I remember when you become our tutor in 6th form and were not the most techy person so I would do all the registration and computer forms for you. It was our bonding time which will forever be engraved in my memory. You were always pushing me to achieve better and helped whenever and wherever you could. Even during half term you would be there and willing to give a hand. I especially remember us sitting and writing through the history coursework about Russia and reading Kobe of the Dread for quotes which you already had at the tip of your tongue without needing to reference the book. I just want to say a huge thank you for being a role model and an inspiration to so many of us. I am grateful to have known you and hope you are resting in peace.
I am so saddened at the news and wish his family all the best through this tough time. Mr Levison will always hold a special place in my heart and memory.
Mr Levison taught my four children in the 80s and 90s. He was a fabulous teacher who gave them insight into history beyond their years. They all had the most enormous respect for him. The teaching profession will be the poorer without him.
Mr Levison was not only an inspirational History teacher but he was also involved in the school productions. I remember auditioning for Mary in The Crucible in 1996 and he was part of the audition panel. He told my sister Vicky Bowman that I made him cry. Fantastic teacher, wonderful memories.
I was lucky enough to be taught by Mr Levison for both GCSE and A level history and thanks to his effective style and his commitment I passed both times. Then, 4 years after I had seen left DMHS and seen or spoken to Mr Levison and about 6 hours before my UCAS deadline I called him out of the blue to ask for help finishing my application. Even though he had no warning and hadn’t seen me in years, he invited me into school sat down with me and Ms Fairhall and helped me finish a successful university application. Mr Levison’s teaching style was unmatched in my opinion and even though he sometimes could seem stern he obviously cared a huge amount about his students and subject and to this day I use him as an example of how teachers can make huge positive impacts on peoples futures. Thanks for everything you did.
Katharine O’Brien (nee Gaskell)
Mr Levison was one of three of the best and most special teachers from my school life that I will remember forever. He ignited my passion for history that I went on to study as part of my degree and is a keen interest to this day. Not only was he so passionate about the subject and enthused others, but he took a genuine interest in each individual pupil. I felt he believed in me in a way others didn’t. He helped me so much with my UCAS form for university until it was something I felt so proud of. He definitely improved my English writing as well with his outstanding use of words. I will never forget him and the impact he has had on my life.
Mr Levison was an amazing teacher; he was incredible at what he done and pushed me to be the best I will forever be grateful and thankful for him. A true legend and he will be missed by me and for sure all students he taught.
He was an amazing teacher and told me and my class some great stories, he liked to keep the class concentrating but when he made jokes, they were hilarious. Me and my class loved it when he smiled. The only reason why I was doing well in History was because of how good of a teacher he was. He will always have a place in my memories and will never be forgotten.
A truly great teacher who really understood the development of sixth formers from children to young adults. He was always available to help out and never hesitated to stay back if you needed support. A key factor in my university selection process and preparing me for those university interviews. Most people have a teacher that helped mould and guide them to be the person they were meant to be. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr Levison was that man for me, I could've quite easily gone off the rails but instead I chose to try university and have the life I live today as a result.
Truly saddened to here of Mr Levison's passing, my thoughts and prayers are with his family xx
He was fiercely witty, so kind and pushed all of us so hard to achieve top marks. No student was left behind. I remember one student joined the school in year 9 from Germany, spoke hardly any English. They got Ds and Es in their GCSEs but Mr Levison got him that B in History.
I remember his love of music and relished teaching us about the cultural impact of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. He even had a nickname for me - pronouncing my name “Jah-day”, based on the name of the singer Sade. There was another student, his name was Kenneth, in my class who would often get distracted and start talking to other students. Mr Levison stood next to me and shouted “KENNETH!” and under his breath said “what’s the frequency”. We had a little laugh together, as we often talked about music and he knew I liked REM :)
Thanks to Mr Levison, I got an A* in History - the only subject I achieved this mark. I went on to get an A at History A Level, which I was so proud of. I remember meeting him in the pub when A levels were over and remember seeing students surrounding him all wanting to have a chat with him before leaving.
I still often think of the History classes - I had a difficult time of things with other students but he helped me build my confidence by always getting me to read out loud in classes. Without his encouragement, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. I know I’m not alone in that. Thank you, Sir - I will remember you always.
Mr Levison’s legacy will live on in thousands of students. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Mr Levison was a well-respected teacher. He was funny, sarcastic and obviously very passionate about his subject. He tried his hardest to get the best out of everyone and it worked! I’m certain many pupils left his lessons with a passion for history they didn’t know they had. The fear I had of turning up to one of his lessons without having done my work meant that I worked really hard and revised even harder and then went on to study for a degree in History. Without him pushing us, I don’t think that would have happened so I am always grateful to have had him as my teacher. I was so sad to hear of the passing of Mr Levison, he was a brilliant teacher who inspired many.
It was always a challenging, fun and thought-provoking lesson with Mr Levison. He treated us like the young adults we were. Everyone looked forward to those sessions. Thanks for helping to shape my critical perspective. You were a great teacher Sir.
To a deeply liked and respected teacher, with deepest sympathy to the Levison family and to the school at large, he will be deeply missed.
Always throwing my Arsenal scarf in the bin as he wrongly believed Spurs were the best. Made history fun to learn. One of the best teachers I ever had, you will be greatly miss. R.I.P
Once in his class we were discussing how the citizens of a town had revolted, another classmate piped up and said that she "was bored and that she was revolting." I then responded that yes indeed it was true she was revolting. Although I did get in to quite some trouble with Mr Levison, I will never forget his face as he admonished me whilst he beat back laughter. A great teacher, condolences to his friends and family, may his soul rest in peace.
I will forever be grateful to Mr Levison for inspiring my love of history and for seeing potential in me. As a result of his teaching, I went on to study history at the University of Bristol and will always remember the encouragement and support he gave me to get there! A truly fantastic teacher who will be really missed. Condolences and sympathy to his family.
Claire Crashaw was Eustace
As much as history was not my favourite subject at school, he made the lessons really interesting and enjoyable. A wonderful teacher and one that is very clear in my head 25 years later. My sincere condolences to his family.
Mr Levison has always been remembered fondly as one of my favourite teachers. His humour and strong character always shone through our lessons, making them memorable and fun. He was truly one of a kind. He will be missed.
Farah Ahmad (Jaffree)
He used to sit in the history block office with Mr Shave. They were both so funny together. He was a good man and very rarely got angry … but when he did … I’m glad I was never on the receiving end!
Wishing his family the strength to get through this difficult time. Rest in peace.
Mr Levison was a fantastic teacher, who brought history lessons alive for us. Although I was at Drayton about 20 years ago, I still remember every lesson vividly and he was definitely always one of my favourite teachers. He could control even the worse classes and would have the class wrapped around his little finger, on the edge of their seats, hanging on to his every word. As soon as someone's attention drifted, he would pounce on them. He was animated, charismatic, full of energy, passionate and so so melodramatic! His lessons were compelling and inspiring! He was hilarious and had us unsure whether to laugh or cry! He will be missed enormously.
I remember the first lesson I ever had with Mr Levison. He entered the class after all the students and walked to his desk, opened his drawer and slammed it closed with a huge bang. This startled everyone into silence and from that moment he had won all our respect! I loved the way he made people who hadn't bothered with their homework stand up and read it out to the class and ridicule them. They always would make more effort the next lesson! He always had us on the edge of our seats and his charisma and passion fascinated us.
Mr Levison will be missed hugely and has touched every student he has ever taught. A sad loss for us all. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.
Very good teacher - always made the lessons interesting. He was passionate about teaching. His lessons were always interesting. What a lovely teacher! He was firm yet very down to earth and on a level with us crazy teenagers. I have fond memories of his lessons and his willingness to really help us thrive and learn. Rest in Peace Mr Levison.
Really awesome teacher so down to earth I think everyone enjoyed his class regardless of their ability in history. You have dedicated your life to one of the most sacred jobs in the world - teaching - and you have done it in the best way possible. We all loved your classes. You’re an outstanding teacher and a person. Your family must be so proud of you.
Mr Levison was an iconic teacher, dedicated whole-heartedly to his job. Sir taught me history and politics, and his teaching style was unique but deeply effective. So much so that his teaching ensured I got my highest ever grades in A level politics, a subject I was probably not even particularly talented at! To this day (14 odd years later) I still remember so much of what he taught me. If a student showed they wanted to learn, Mr Levison would go above and beyond to teach them everything he could. I was so sad to hear of the passing of Mr Levison, a teacher, and character, impossible to forget. My thoughts are with Mr Levison's family and friends.
Mr Levison was my all-time favourite teacher and the man who inspired me to study History at university. He went above and beyond to support me through A Levels and applying to uni and I'll always be grateful for that. If I ever get asked who my favourite teacher was, I say him. He was a no-nonsense teacher, someone who always stuck up for those of us who were a bit quiet or for anyone being bullied. That really made him stand out.
My best wishes to Shimon's friends and family. He was a brilliant man and a superb teacher and I know he influenced and inspired many. He certainly influenced and inspired me.
Soft spoken, fiercely passionate, calming presence, a fountain of knowledge. What conceivable impact you had during your time in Drayton, would, no doubt, be an underestimate. Rest well knowing your good will be passed on.
An inspirational teacher who cared so much about the development of his students. Time spent is his classes are among my favourite memories at Drayton Manor. A great loss - such a lovely man and a fantastic teacher. I will never forget him.
Mr Levison's reputation for being a demanding and intimidating teacher preceded him, so when we firsthad him, I remember the nerves weall felt. However, as we got to know him better, it was clear that he was funny, kind and he truly, truly cared about us.I really struggled at Drayton with high expectations from home and low self-esteem. Mr Levison was one of the teachers who instinctively understood this and he always encouraged me to just be my best. It was because of him that I went for the Deputy Head Girl role in 6th Form, as he wanted me to come out of my shell. And for that, I am forever grateful. There are so many wonderful memories that I have of him, that it would take a few pages. So, the one I'll share was how much effort he'd put towards our university interviews. He took time from his after-school hours to grill us over and over again, just so that we can be as prepared as possible.So, here's to you Mr. Levison. I may not remember all the historical dates you taught, but I will always rememberyour toughlove approach, encouragement and overwhelming dedication to your vocation.
Amy Knight (was Firmin)
His wry, often blunt sense of humour. His sometimes-mercurial temperament. His love of the Beatles. His passion and expertise in his subject areas. His quirky, captivating presence in the classroom. He was a truly unique, unforgettable character. Unique is a word that is overused, but in this case, it is truly deserved. I absolutely adored his lessons and he inspired an interest in history and politics that is still going strong to this day. He did things his own way, in his own style. His lessons had no gimmicks, no fads, nothing high-tech, just good old-fashioned oratory, at which he was a master. You would learn by osmosis, just by listening to him speak. He was a pedagog in the purest and best sense. At first, I found him intimidating (and he could be temperamental at times), but very quickly that was replaced by fascination and fondness as I tuned into his sense of humour. His personality filled the whole room. He was funny, always compelling and never dull. Whenever I recall my time at Drayton, Mr Levison is always the first teacher I think of. I have never met anyone like Mr Levison before or since. Deepest sympathies. A great loss, an unforgettable teacher.
Of fondness and kindness. You helped shape my life, thank you.
Mr Levison was such a huge force for good in the world. Every election I think of him when I'm casting my vote, I have his voice in my head, presenting arguments, getting me to question my strong opinions without patronising or dictating. He inspired me to the point where I begged to be able to take up government and politics in my second year of a-levels because I saw how much my friends were learning, and was utterly convinced that a subject I had presumed would be dry and dusty was actually one of the most interesting and vital. All down to the great Mr Levison. I even unofficially took up history in my final year, attending all his classes and writing joke essays about Mussolini which he would roll his eyes at and always read.
It is no exaggeration to say that the influence Mr Levison had on my life, and the life of everyone I know who was taught by him, has been huge. He had a profound effect on who I am now. My friends and I talk about him regularly still, and when I think of how many people must have had the great fortune to be taught by him, I am greatly heartened. He was so funny, generous with his time, wise, dedicated to imparting not just a factual understanding but a way of thinking, questioning, learning. People wanted to be in his classes because he made everything so interesting and relevant. He treated his students with respect, and opened our eyes to the complexities and possibilities beyond what we knew of the world till then.
I bumped into him only once since leaving school. I couldn't believe my luck! Twelve years later I could finally tell him how much his lessons had meant to me. In classic style however he denied any memory of me, which I have no reason to doubt, since he must have had thousands of students- although he claimed very clear memory of my sister, which still makes me wonder if he was yet again having me on, knocking me off my perch in that inimitable, brilliant way - and interrupting my outpourings of thanks, rushed off, probably to make another 30 young people laugh and think again about everything they thought they knew....
I am so grateful to have been one of the lucky people of the world who got to have Mr Levison as a teacher. I can't accurately convey with words the extent of the impact this brilliant man had, and continues to have on me. I know I'm not the only person who feels this way. In everything I have gone on to do I give a small offering of thanks to Mr Levison, without whom I doubt very much I'd be anywhere near as cool as I am today. He was a rare and extraordinary teacher, and made the world infinitely better. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Mr Levison was a remarkable teacher, who had a significant impact on my life. He pushed me hard to achieve, and made me understand my potential at such a key juncture in my life. I am very thankful to have been taught by him and have no doubt that he played a very large role in instilling self confidence in me, which has stood me in good stead through my life.
Am very sorry for your loss, I hope knowing the positive impact Mr Levison had on so many people provides you with some comfort.
From Year 8 to Year 10, I felt very alone. One lunch time, I was sat alone reading a book and he came over and asked me about it. We spent that entire hour speaking about books and it was the first time that I felt like someone had cared in a while.
I'm very sorry that he's gone, he was a great teacher and a great person. I wish there were more teachers like him, and I hope that his name may live on.
I have many fond memories of Mr Levison. He was the most dedicated, committed teacher and always went the extra mile to support me in my studies, knowing that with gentle (and sometimes not so gentle!) encouragement he could get me to reach my full potential. I remember the time he spent with me working on my UCAS Personal Statement. He found time to discuss politics outside the class curriculum - at the time I took my GCSEs, Blair came to power and I remember the excitement I felt at the time; Mr Levison really did fuel that and took time to explain why the Labour party's majority at that time was so significant. That was what was so unique about Mr Levison - he linked the past to the present and found ways through conversation and amusing stories to make everything relevant (even the Great Reform Act!). He captivated the whole class and always had many amusing stories and anecdotes to tell us. Learning with Mr Levison was always an entertaining and engaging experience. He was by far the most popular teacher at Drayton - even with the pupils who did not study with him. He was the most wonderful person. I often think of him and I shall miss him dearly. You will be greatly missed Mr Levison.
I have so many memories of being in Mr. Levison's classroom. He taught me for several years and through a number of different subjects, supervised my EPQ and was integral in my university application process. He was a dedicated teacher and an irreplaceable part of Drayton Manor.
He was an incredible teacher, with a passion for education and a desire to help all students, and make sure no one was left behind. He went the extra mile to make sure everyone could reach their full potential, and inspired so many to succeed. Thank you for everything you did Mr Levison.
Mr Levison had an amazing grasp of what he taught and an amazing understanding of what made people tick. He could deliver a lesson like nobody else. You always sensed he cared - not just that you understood, but that understanding would change you for the better in some way. And it did. I’m sad he’s gone, but grateful we had such a wonderful teacher.
I’ll never forget Mr Levison rolling the TV into the classroom and playing Apocalypse Now. He’d the tape every five minutes to make a clever joke - with some fact buried in it. I remember them all. Or… for sending me out for being disruptive. And then calling on a Sunday to make sure I hadn’t missed anything important.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
He was such a positive person, who went above and beyond for everyone. I’m deeply saddened to hear the news of Mr Levison. I remember him fondly when I first started at Drayton Manor in 2011, until I left in 2014. He was such a kind, considerate and caring teacher.
Mr Levison was the most inspiring, entertaining and memorable teacher I ever had. What he taught me in History I applied in other subjects for years after. As well as being an outstanding teacher, his deadpan humour about world affairs and sarcastic comments on bad homework were the stuff of legend. 30 years on I don't remember much about most of my teachers, nor what they taught me, but I recall very vividly all that I learnt from Mr L. He made every topic fun and fascinating.
I recall many lessons where he'd go off on a tangent about the state of modern music and argue quite extensively with the students about the merits of that week's top ten. I hope he kept doing that in the many years after I left the school.
My very deepest condolences to his family.
Passionately teaching us about World War 2 and American civil rights. I also remember him telling me off on numerous occasions for talking too much! A fabulous teacher - so knowledgeable and interesting.
An animated, intelligent, wonderful teacher who made every part of history interesting. To this day I still regret not taking History A-Level purely because I know how great it would’ve been to have studied under Mr Levison.
I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Shimon. He taught me and my siblings and he was just such a lovely kind-hearted man.
He was hands down the best teacher I ever had. I loved his history lessons - I did GCSE and A-level with him, went on to do a history degree and then became a history teacher myself. As part of my teacher training, I spent two weeks at Drayton. One of the staff in the history department said I taught just like Mr Levison! What a huge complement that was. He was such an inspiration. My last memories are of sitting in his office while he helped me prepare to interview for my first teaching job.
I am so sorry for your loss. He had a hugely positive impact on so many people.
A brilliant teacher - one of the best I ever had - and a lovely man. Mr Levison's lessons were interesting and enjoyable, fostering an interest in history that I retain to this day. We also shared a passion for Tottenham Hotspur, which we enjoyed discussing together. There are some teachers that you always remember for all the best reasons - Mr Levison is one of them.
My sincerest condolences to Mr Levison's family, friends and colleagues. Myself and many other former students will always remember him with the greatest fondness, and be grateful for the lessons he taught us.
I was very fortunate to be taught by Mr Levison for GCSE & A Level History and he also went on to teach my siblings and cousins in subsequent years. He never fails to come up in conversation when we take a trip down memory lane about our time at Drayton Manor!
I always looked forward to his classes as each one was great. He had a great rapport with students, he was so passionate about and dedicated to the subjects he taught, his knowledge knew no bounds - he truly was an expert!
I will always be thankful for the time he gave to help me be the best I could be - from helping me write my UCAS statement to putting me through my paces with countless mock exams and interviews - he did this sheerly because he had your best interests at heart, wanting you to achieve at the highest possible standard.
He truly is a Drayton Manor legend and was and always will be one of the best teachers I ever had. Mr Levison, you will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his nearest and dearest at this sad time. May he rest in peace x
Mr Levison had a passion like no other for his job. He cared not only about ensuring that his students performed the best they could academically, but also about building them into a good person. Mr Levison helped build me into the person I am today. He will be sorely missed.
Mr Levison was a really great teacher; I loved his way of teaching, and he was very dedicated to his subject. You could tell that he always had your best interests at heart and wanted you to do your best.
I have many fond memories of being taught by Mr Levison. One of the first things that springs to mind is the weekly essay homework he gave us. It was a really good way to revise what we had been learning and practise writing essay answers. Then in class, he would ask a few students to stand up at the front and read out one or more of the answers they had written. We would then debate together how many marks they would expect to get based on what information they included, what they potentially missed out, and if they had gotten the chronology of events right, for example.
Mr Levison put a lot of care and consideration into marking our homework. Similarly, marking them with how many points we would expect to get for our answers, and reviewing them with a grade, helped us know what level we were working at. He also made detailed annotations showing us how we could improve our answers (sometimes finished with an exclamation mark if we missed out something important!). The fact that he must have put the same amount of tremendous effort into marking answers on the same subjects for so many years really tells you how dedicated he was!
I also really liked the ‘fill in the gaps’ exercise we would do, where Mr Levison would write out, in chronology, the initials of important events and people we had to learn on the whiteboard, and we were required to copy down the years and write them out in full. Once we had all finished, we would then fill in the gaps on the whiteboard as a class. The fact he could do that from memory is amazing!
I also remember using the old BBC Bitesize History website both in lessons and when revising at home. We would often watch the quirky recap videos on there in class (the ones where they would write dates on a plate with ketchup and mustard and used puppets of important historical figures, as well as showing interesting videos from the time), and sometimes as a class we would complete the history quizzes on there. Those videos were a funny watch and helped history ‘come alive’, as the saying goes.
I think my favourite memory I have of Mr Levison though is when he put on the music video for ‘We didn’t Start the Fire’ by Billy Joel at the end of class one day. (In what was, back then, one of the rooms newly repurposed for History and Geography in A Block.) As the song was playing, he told us to pay attention to the lyrics and use it in the future to help us remember important events. It was really cool of him to do that, because it was sort of unexpected that he’d put on a pop song for us, haha. It veered away more so than usual from our well-crafted, serious revision, and more into pure ‘fun’ territory. I already liked the song and was grooving to it, and then I began noticing how some of the previously ambiguous lyrics actually made sense-because they referred to events he had taught us about. I’m not sure if he put the song on for other years of students-I can imagine he did-but it’s probably my favourite memory with him nonetheless. Now every time I hear that song I think of him.
The History booklets Mr Levison made for us were comprehensive, really well done and a fantastic tool to help us revise. He was so dedicated and kind to have made those for us! They must have taken weeks to put together in total, and I’m sure they were very well loved by his students-I definitely loved them! I was inspired to make a booklet for myself on one of our topics, based on his, and I thought about giving him a digital copy to look at, or even use (though I would have definitely preferred to see him keep using his iconic ones-!) before I left Drayton Manor, but alas, I never did. But now at least I can tell him in my own way that I was inspired by him to make a booklet of my own.
I am very sorry for the loss of Mr. Shimon Levison, a great person who must have positively impacted the lives of so many! My thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. I hope my memories of him can help bring some comfort and smiles.
Mr Levison was always harsh in and out of class in the best way in that he always wanted more as he knew you could do more. He would love to pick on us individually to quickly call out the answer and ensure if we didn’t know it, we would now never forget.
He would always write a sentence on the board to someone who was talking to tell them to stop which was great humorous discipline. There are many more but history lessons with Mr Levison are my most memorable moments in class and I loved learning because of him.
He once said “don’t be happy you got a 9, it’s not the real thing.” In other words, don’t stop giving 100% as you can always do better. Thanks sir :)
I will miss Mr Levison very much. He was one of my favourite teachers who gave all he had into teaching and caring for his students. I know he made a big impact on so many of us which we have and will carry through life. Thank you so much Mr Levison. You will be deeply missed.
Mr Levison made school fun and invested in his pupils and showed a lot of faith in me.
I also remember the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face when he had to reprimand me and another boy from my class over an incident that happened outside of school that he clearly thought was very funny but had to remain professional about. And also, the way he always compared our year disparagingly to the year above and the year below to try and get the best out of us.
Mr Levison was an amazing and truly inspiring teacher. He believed in me, when I was struggling with the subject and helped me achieve high grades. He also gave me support with my personal statement that had been used in my application for my current job with an international company.
Thank you Mr. Levison for everything you did for me. Rest in Peace.
Only had Mr Levison for a few weeks but that was more than enough to see how much of a knowledgeable and committed teacher he was, wish I’d had him for longer. Rest in perfect peace.
He was a great teacher and he made history enjoyable. So sorry for Mr Levison passing away. May he RIP x