Case Studies

Charlotte Long

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Joining Gresham’s in 2004 from Langham Village School I enjoyed two years at Gresham’s Prep before being welcomed into Edinburgh house at the Senior School. Despite being a day girl right from the start I always felt part of the Edinburgh family and have lots of happy memories from Year 9 antics right through to Sixth Form ‘BOP’ parties and dinners. I was always focused mostly on academic endeavours however, I really enjoyed playing high-octane netball with the netball A teams – an experience that was crowned by our tour to Barbados in 2011 and earning my colours. In the Sixth Form I was fortunate enough to win an Academic Scholarship and tried to support this by taking opportunities such as joining the Colloquium Forum and marking the School’s anniversary of its evacuation to Newquay in World War II with a historical trip to Cornwall.

During my time at Gresham’s, I was lucky enough to be supported by some inspiring teachers. I was taught A level history by Mr Kinder and I am very grateful that he nurtured my passion for History with his expertise and enthusiasm. I am equally grateful to Mr Gillingwater who persevered in teaching me A level biology which was always more of a challenge for me. These two examples highlight the merits of Gresham’s teaching staff who, in my experience, are just as willing to give their time to encourage a love of a subject or coach you through any difficulties.

Subjects taken at A level

History, English, Biology and Chemistry (AS level). Although some of my closest friends chose the IB Diploma, I felt A levels were the only choice for me. My subject choices at AS were split between Sciences – Biology and Chemistry – and Humanities – History and English. Despite this split in subjects I felt that A levels focused me on two paths where it allowed me sufficient opportunities to investigate both. By the time the university application process began, it was clear to me that History was what I really excelled in and enjoyed.

University

I achieved a First Class Degree in History at the University of Bristol, which I found hugely enjoyable and challenging. It was a big change moving from the community of Gresham’s to the independence of student life but I believe Gresham’s prepared me with the mind-set to seize all opportunities presented.

Plans for the future

At the time of writing this, I am enjoying post university employment at our family restaurant and I am saving up with a view to travelling through Central America. Whilst at university, I have been fortunate enough to have had several stints of work experience in the legal profession and this is a career path I may seek to pursue in the fullness of time. For the moment at least I am looking forward to what prospects are on the horizon.

Tanadet Pipatpolkai

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I joined Gresham’s from Thailand in 2011 where I became a member of Howson’s boarding house.  Life as an overseas student can be difficult at times but with the support of the Overseas Co-ordinator, the Housemaster and House staff and many of my teachers I soon settled into life at an English Boarding school and grew to love everything it had to offer.  In the Sixth Form, I was delighted to be made a House Prefect.

Despite being an extreme Scientist, I really love Drama. Gresham’s gave me opportunities to learn how to act, sing and play in a variety of musicals. There will always be a space at Gresham’s for people to try new things and find out what they enjoy be it: Debating, Music, Art, Sport, Science, Drama etc, which is just amazing.

When I was in the Upper Sixth, I gave two presentations for The Hodgkin Society (Biology Society) which helped me share my love of Science. I also competed in a Biology and Chemistry Olympiad where I  achieved two silver prizes and took part in some fund-raising for charities close to my heart which included a Thai dinner to support “The White Room Charity” which aims to increase appreciation of science in rural areas in Thailand.

The staff at Gresham’s provided me with some of the best support I have received whilst in education. Academically, all the staff were absolutely fantastic and many from the Biology, Maths, History and English as a Second Language (ESL) departments continually went the extra mile to support me during my studies, prepare me for my exams and university applications.  I am sure I would not be at Oxford without their support.

The housemaster and house staff provided me with so much support, guidance and kindness when I needed it.  Whenever I felt stressed about my exams Matron would provide a helping hand and once took me for a walk along the beach after a long busy day to help me relax.

Why I chose A levels

I chose A levels simply because I preferred the Sciences and wanted to specialise in the subjects I loved. The school also kindly provided me with extra Japanese lessons.

Subjects taken at A level

Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics (AS).

University

I am studying Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (C700) at the University of Oxford.

Plans for the future

I hope to get a Ph.D. and continue to academia as I’ve found it extremely interesting. Last summer, I was working at the Oxford Centre of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM) where I was working on electrophysiology of pancreatic beta cells insulin secretion. Having taken a language course at International House, which had been recommended by the ESL department, this has now given me a job as Activity Leader since 2012, where I have organised activities for international students from all over the world.

Benjamin Chandler

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Whilst I was at Gresham’s I was part of the Combined Cadet Force from Year 10 until I left school. My other interests included playing for the school’s rugby team where I was selected for the 1st XV rugby team in the Upper Sixth.

It was during my last two years at school that I decided to pursue a career in the Army.

Subjects taken at A Level

I studied Maths, Chemistry and Biology at A Level.

University and further study

I attended the University of Liverpool and studied for a Masters in Town and Regional Planning, graduating in 2014 with a 2:1.

During my time at university, I was part of the Liverpool University Officer Training Corps for four years. In my third year, I passed the Army’s entrance exam known as the AOSB Main Board and was also awarded the Army’s undergraduate bursary. In Summer 2013, I completed the Army Reserve Commissioning Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and became a Commissioned Reserve Officer for my Officers’ Training Corp (OTC) for my final Masters’ year.

Alongside OTC I was also part of the University’s Rugby League 1st team for three years.

Following University, I attended Sandhurst in September 2014 to complete the Regular Commissioning Course, 44 weeks of training designed to instruct future young officers in various fields including both military and academic studies. During the second term, I underwent the Regimental Selection Board and was offered a place with the Royal Tank Regiment.

Following Sandhurst, I started the Armoured Troop Leaders Course in Bovington where I was taught the disciplines of Driving, Maintenance, Signals, Gunnery and Tactics of the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank.

Plans for the future

In January 2015, I took up command of my Troop in Bovington, which consists of 15 men and four Challenger 2 tanks, where I will command for up to three years both in barracks and on any future operations. In addition, I hope to help run the Regiment’s Alpine Ski Team next season with a view to qualifing as a Ski Instructor in the future.

Felicity McDermott

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I joined Gresham’s in 2003 from Beeston Hall Prep School and spent five very happy years in Oakeley House. One of the things I most enjoyed about my time at the School was not only the quality of academic provision alongside the huge range of extra-curricular activities on offer. I performed in many concerts and shows and because of this experience was able to gain a choral scholarship to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. I went on to continue performing in operas, musicals and concerts as well as various tours, recordings and radio broadcasts and I think the musical opportunities offered to me at Gresham’s gave me an excellent basis on which to continue my love of singing. Whilst at the School, I also undertook my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, captained the 2nd VII Netball team and went on to become Head of School, all activities that gave me invaluable skills to draw on in later life. I was very lucky too to make a lifelong group of friends during my time at school.

Subjects taken at A Level

I studied History, Music and English at A Level and gained a top five national result in English.

University and further study

I went to Cambridge University in 2008 where I read History with a choral scholarship. However, I didn’t enjoy the course and decided to change to English and Education. This was a multi-faceted course and the Education component consisted of the Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology and History of Education. I thoroughly enjoyed the broad academic scope of the course as I had always felt that my strengths were in the Arts subjects across the board rather than in just one area. I had also begun to see teaching as a future career choice and felt that the theoretical understanding of Education as a subject area would be a valuable asset as well as a solid grounding in English Literature offered by the other half of the course. Whilst in my final year, I conducted my own oral history on corporal punishment for my dissertation, a project I really enjoyed and graduated with a First, winning a college book prize.

After graduating I spent a year as a Graduate Assistant at St Mary’s Ascot which solidified my plans to go into teaching. I then undertook a Secondary PGCE in English at the Institute of Education and taught in two secondary state schools in London as part of the course. I thoroughly enjoyed the course at The UCL Institute of Education as it had strong theoretical, as well as, practical elements and I felt this really helped to develop our identities as teachers. I graduated from the course with a Principal’s Commendation for quality of written and practical work.

Plans for the future

I now teach English at St Mary’s Ascot and absolutely love teaching. Being a teacher has really made me appreciate the excellence of the academic provision at Gresham’s as I can now see it from both sides of the classroom. The teachers at Gresham’s cater to a range of abilities but there is a strong sense that the able are always challenged fully but the less able pupils are also strongly supported. The teachers I came into contact with were inspiring and dedicated individuals who clearly had an immense knowledge of their subject field as well as a deep understanding of what enables children to learn most effectively.