Alumni

Barton Court Grammar School would like to keep in touch with former students and is always happy to hear of their life experiences and successes.

If you are interested in becoming part of our Alumni Network, then please contact Ms. Haley at the school via e-mail: ahaley@bartoncourt.org.

Statements from Alumni

Robert Green:

Since leaving education at Barton Court I went on to study Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. Initially focussed on physics, my education drifted to my interest in how the earth works and I specialised in geological sciences and geophysics. Through this I travelled across the world, conducting geological mapping in the Chilean Andes, studying earthquake tectonics in Greece and the Aegean, and braving harsh weather on Scottish Islands. During my time at university I was part of many societies, as well as captaining a university sports team and representing Great Britain at Ultimate Frisbee, a competitive and rapidly growing new sport. Having completed my bachelors degree with a first class honours, I am currently finishing a masters of science, before moving on to either further PhD study or employment in the hydrocarbon industry. My long term goals are to be involved in seismic hazard assessment and monitoring agencies, and as such I may relocate to areas of the world such as New Zealand or Western USA, where these hazards are greatest.

Toby Green:

I went straight to University upon leaving Barton Court, having decided a gap year was not for me. I managed to gain high grades in my three higher subjects, Physics, Maths, and Chemistry, thereby getting into Cambridge to study Natural Sciences. Currently in my second year, the last year and a half have been intensive during term time to say the least. Despite the heavy work load, this can be exciting as well, and of course there’s a lot of fun to be had along the way. Taking the International Baccalaureate in sixth form really made me consider my options in terms of choice of degree: History and English were at times equally if not more appealing to me than the sciences, even though ultimately I settled on the latter. I was initially attracted to the Cambridge Natural Sciences course by its breadth of content, and so took Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry, and Maths in my first year - though I harboured a suspicion that anything that was interesting about any of these was really just Physics anyway. Upon arrival my suspicion was swiftly confirmed, and so for second year I chose to just study straight Physics. In some ways I felt like I had missed out on the gap year experience many of my friends had had, and so in the summer after my first year I went to Nepal, and spent time there teaching in a school in the Himalayas, as well as trekking. As for the future I am still not sure what it holds for me, and for the time being I will proudly continue to employ the “keep my options open” style response when asked the unavoidable question, “ and what are your plans for after Uni?”.

Priska Komoroni:

After attending Barton Court for Sixth Form, I was accepted to study History at Cambridge, and am currently in my second year of this course. I feel that the independent learning aspect of the IB prepared me for university style learning, which, at times, and especially for subjects such as History, requires a lot of self discipline and individual commitment.

Whilst at university I have been involved in many other rewarding activities, such as rowing and being part of a ballet production. Last summer, I was lucky enough to be able to teach English in Nepal for 3 weeks and found the experience so rewarding that I have since formed part of a committee promoting the Nepalese charity and recruiting new teacher volunteers in Cambridge. At university I have been able to delve deeper into many things that interest me, in order to discover what it is that I would like to pursue after University.

Christopher Lancefield:

I started at Barton Court in 1999 and enjoyed 7 productive and successful years of study there. During those years many changes and improvements were made to the school but the unique and friendly atmosphere that first drew me to the school always remained. It was this atmosphere together with excellent and attentive teaching that I believe contributed to the success of myself and my peers during those years. After studying chemistry, physics, maths and environmental science to A-level I completed a degree in Chemical Sciences at the University of St Andrews, graduating top of my class in 2009. Following the completion of my degree I returned to a much changed and improved Barton Court for 2 very enjoyable and informative years in the role of Faculty Learning Mentor. In 2011 I returned to St Andrews to take up a PhD position in the Westwood group where we work in the multidisciplinary field of chemical biology and natural product synthesis. I'm currently working towards the total synthesis of the natural product Melohenine B.

Keely West:

I joined Barton Court Grammar School in September 2005 and have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. In my 7 years at the school, I not only achieved 13 GCSE's which included seven A*'s , five A's and a B, but was able to participate fully in school life , taking on roles including Student Voice representative, Prefect, and ultimately the role of Barton Court's first Head Girl. In the 6th form I choose to study the International Baccalaureate. My Higher Level subjects were Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. I also studied English, Maths and Spanish all at Standard Level. Having completed the IB Diploma, I have been offered a place to study Medicine at St George's, University of London. I have a particular interest in the brain and hope to pursue this further in the future.

Cassandra Neal:

I graduated from Kings College with a 1st in Film and Art History and then went straight into the London Film Festival as an Events Assistant. I had continued to do this throughout university part time with my studies (the first and second year as a non-paid intern) and then moved to full-time from July in a paid position. I managed 9 events (5 premiers, 4 workshops) and 20 volunteers, all very nearly the same age as me which was slightly daunting. Luckily they never found out how old I was! I also developed my 'Networking for Beginners' workshop with 15 speakers including Robert Bernstein (Nowhere Boy/Wuthering Heights Prod), Simon Bird (Inbetweeners), Irfan Hussein (Spielberg's Warhouse) and the Commissioning Editor of Channel 4 to talk to 40 young people about getting into the industry. It's quite a fun idea - set up in a speed dating style where they get 30 mins with each category of speakers. (acting/ writing/work experience/ editing.) We've had a lot of good feedback from attendees which is really nice.

I'm now organising some events for Ken Loach up until early December before an internship at an events company in London for a couple of months.

In early February I'm hopefully (if I can find a flat) moving to Edinburgh to work on the Edinburgh Film Festival until late June. Similar work to LFF, events organising which is what I seem to have stumbled into.”

Mike Mills:

Having been in doubt whether to go to university after my A-level study, I was encouraged to submit an application by some of my A-level tutors part the way through the year (leaving it a little late, to say the least!). However, from that point onwards I have never looked back - I graduated with first class honours in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Kent in 2011 and have continued on to post-graduate study. I'm now part-way through an MA in Methods of Social Research, having received a scholarship from the university that covered my tuition throughout this course of study. This is to lay the groundwork for next year, when I hope to begin a programme of PhD study (still at Kent): conducting a criminological investigation of vigilante action amidst the August riots of 2011. I believe its fair to say that I have thrived at university, and so I owe a lot of thanks to those teachers who persuaded me it was the right choice! I'm now in the process of seeking funding for this study and am currently waiting on responses from the Economic and Social Research Council and University funding bodies before I can progress to a PhD level (uni's no cheap ride these days!). Outside of university, I have maintained involvement with the debating competition that I competed in as part of a school team as a Year 13 student - assisting as team mentor, judge and chairman throughout different stages of the competition (www.debatingmatters.com) - another reason to thank Barton Court for the opportunities and encouragement it has offered me.

Alistair Steward:

After leaving the hallowed corridors of BCGS I decided that I needed a bit of a break from formal education so deferred my university place in order to take a gap year. My vague plan was to visit some of the places we’d talked about in Mrs Grayson’s geography classes.

I spent the summer working on a farm then flew out to Australia in November, where I spent a few months backpacking, fruit picking (character building…) and getting sunburnt on the beach. It was quite a daunting experience initially but I left with the travel bug.

I’m now a few months away from completing a BA Geography degree at the University of Southampton which I would thoroughly recommend. Without sounding too corporate, they offer some great courses and the city is ideal for students – we have everything here from 3AM curry houses to 50p pints (seriously!), and as we’re a campus university we have a strong community feel.

During my time here I have followed on from my stint on the Courtside team by becoming editor of the biggest student news site at the university, it has completely taken over my life but has been a lot of fun as well.

Oh yeah, I also went to India last summer for a couple of months to scratch that travel itch. I worked in a boarding school for a little while and then had a few weeks to wander around the Himalayas and Kashmir - I honestly can’t recommend it enough, it is an absolutely insane/beautiful/amazing part of the world, and I can’t wait to go back.

Ed Noel:

Being a member of the Barton Court sixth form community equipped me with the attitude, skills, and qualifications which have been so valuable since I left in 2008.

I am currently in my final year of a four year philosophy course at the University of St Andrews. I could not have made such a step had I not had the support and encouragement offered to me as a member of the sixth form; my teachers guided me through my UCAS application and wrote generous references.

My experience with the school newspaper encouraged me to pursue journalism when I came to university and have partially funded my degree with photography work. My participation with the debating club also gave me a hobby I have followed here and have subsequently represented St Andrews at the world debating championships on multiple occasions.

By far the most valuable asset of the Barton Court sixth form is the liberal environment which welcomes individuality and freedom of thought. Students are encouraged to pursue their own interests and develop their personalities in a safe and friendly atmosphere.

The school provided me with a fantastic education which extends far beyond the grades I received; Barton Court really is a place where life lessons are learnt, transforming experiences are had and great friends are made.

Duncan Howley:

I finished Exeter University in July 2011 after three fantastic years there and came away with a 2.1, which I was really pleased with.  In the end I focussed much more on the physical side of Geography, specifically climate change, the polar regions and palaeo climate science.  Due to the economic situation in England I decided that it would be much more beneficial in the long term to move to Australia.  So in August 2011 I flew out to Perth and within two weeks secured a job with the Western Australian Department of Water.  My job was as a GIS Officer mapping floodplains and defining flood prone areas.  I found this enjoyable and GIS is an incredibly employable skill to have.  Although the only side of the job I didn't really enjoy was that it was a support role to the engineers who did all the project managing and had far more responsibility.  This job gave me my first experience of 'town planning' (if you can call it that) where I would receive architectural plans for development in flood prone areas and either refuse or condition them. I decided to get a job in Sydney and was lucky enough to get a job as a Floodplain Management Officer for Warringah Council on the Northern Beaches.  I am currently responsible for defining all the flood prone land in the LGA by engaging consultants to undertake flood studies.  I am also responsible for implementing flood risk mitigation schemes, be this hard engineering solutions or 'softer' solutions such as community education or simple development controls.  Therefore my job is very varied which I love, on Sunday we had some floods so I've been very busy this week on site visits, taking photos and meeting affected community members.

Mat Gladdish:

I attended Barton Court between 1998 and 2005. After 7 enjoyable years at the School, I completed my A Levels and had a decision to make. Whether to head to university and pursue a law degree or take a bit of a risk and begin my full time working life straight out of school. After choosing the latter, I immediately started working in a sales role, in London, for a small telecommunications company. Spending 6 months in a 'hard-core' customer facing sales role such as this taught me all the basics I needed to know and allowed me to move on to what would be the start of my career. I spent a year working for a successful recruitment company placing temporary workers across Kent. Following on from this I decided to work back in London and began recruiting senior finance professionals into the  London offices of some of the largest Oil and Gas companies in the world. After spending some enjoyable time working for a big agency, I was fortunate enough to be headhunted to work for a boutique executive search firm, with a focus on placing Directors and Senior Executives in to the world’s largest mining companies. This allowed for working with and travelling to clients in Africa, North and South America, Australia and the Middle East.  During this time my role evolved into working with large NGO's and charitable organisations which is how I ended up where I am today. In December of 2012, I decided to become self-employed and set up  the recruitment division of New Vision Funding Ltd, a Charity sector consultancy, established by my father in 2011.

Jake Hollis:

After I left Barton Court, I was lucky enough to go to the University of Cambridge to study History. I owe a great deal to Barton Court teachers for encouraging me to apply, helping me with application essays and arranging mock interviews for me. Though initially something of a culture shock/huge workload step-up, my experience at university was really fantastic for me. I was surrounded by intelligent, interested people and I look back on my three years at university as an invaluable mind-broadening exercise. I encourage any current BC student who is even faintly interested in Oxbridge to give it a shot.

Since leaving Cambridge, I took a job as a graduate trainee reporter at a financial newspaper in London. I worked there for a few months before heading to India and Sri Lanka to do some travelling. This was another mind-expanding experience. I made a short film in India, which was featured in the 2013 London Short Film Festival. After that, I spent a couple of months living in Berlin and teaching English. I am now teaching English in a primary school in Kurdistan (northern Iraq) through a charity called Komak. It is highly interesting stuff. After this, I am hoping to do a master's course in 'Global Studies' at the University of Leipzig, Germany.

I cannot exaggerate how fantastic the teachers at Barton Court were. I was privileged to be taught by such humorous, interesting people. My present situation teaching seven and eight year old Kurdish children is shedding a lot of light on how tough teaching can be!

Julian Steward:

From 2005 to 2012 I spent 7 busy years at Barton Court, working hard towards my GCSEs and IB but also taking advantage of other opportunities such as being a member of the school orchestra, an enthusiastic debater and becoming deputy head boy.

Having always had an interest in the natural world and ‘how stuff works’ it seemed inevitable that science would become my discipline of choice so I successfully applied for physical natural sciences at Cambridge university.  This course had particular appeal due to its flexible structure; I studied both physics and chemistry at higher level IB and could not choose between them, now I can do bits of both!

I am currently on a gap year and have just returned from East Africa, where I spent 3 months teaching maths and english at a secondary school in Tanzania and another 3 months backpacking around Kenya and Uganda.  A brilliant experience during which I spent most of my time living with local people learning about their lives and culture.

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