Success stories

Connie Birch

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My time at Gresham’s probably culminated in taking the role of Head of School, but the earlier years were very important too – I boarded in Edinburgh House and enjoyed time in the Navy section of the CCF. I played for school teams in hockey, netball and tennis and completed my Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition a month before my final IB exams. Taking GCSE Drama and making several appearances on-stage at the Auden Theatre no doubt inspired my love of the theatre today. I loved the school for its family spirit – House Competitions, from the infamous House Music to the less well attended but equally raucous House Debating, are memories I will cherish forever.

Why I chose the IB

IB was a helpful choice for me because, after GCSEs, I felt no particular calling to one or two subjects above the others. However, I always knew that I would study the baccalaureate – when I arrived at Gresham’s in Year 9, the school did not offer it as an option and I intended to move to a different school for Sixth Form as a result. Happily, Gresham’s decided to take it up.
IB was hard work, but completing the diploma took organisation skills and not supreme intelligence. Studying it, I liked that you could design your own experiments, set your own coursework questions and your own presentation topics. In retrospect, it set me up fantastically well for my degree as it fostered university-level critical thinking skills and encouraged me to make the most of the opportunities around me in London. The international element of the IB helped differentiate me for a place at UCL (N.B. their slogan ‘London’s global university’) and probably helped with my application to work for an multi-national corporation.

Results

45 points
HL Economics, English, History
SL Latin, Mathematics, Physics

University

University College London, BA History

Plans for the future

I graduated in Spring 2014 and started work at Goldman Sachs in July of the same year. During my degree, I interned weekly in the Theatre and Performance Department at the V&A Museum. In the long term, I hope to be able to take the business skills that I learned at Goldman Sachs in a more creative direction.

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 have just 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 in 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 challenging 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. I also took part in some fund-raising for charities close to my heard 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.

I will always be graterful to my Housemaster and House staff who provided me with so much support, guidance and kindness when I needed it.

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, (recommended by Gresham’s ESL department), this has now given me a job as Activity Leader which I have been doing since 2012, where I have organised activities for international students from all over the world.