Alumni

 

Welcome to the Alumni of Ringmer Community College.

This page is being set up to show where our ex-students are now and it will show some interesting stories about their lives since leaving school. We aim to keep in touch with a broad range of student's careers and past times.

At a recent Open Evening a number of ex-students had agreed to allow us to share their experiences since leaving, so this page will build on this.

 

Becky Evans - 2005 - 2009

Becky Evans

I just wanted to email to let you know that yesterday I graduated from uni with First class honours! I can barely believe it myself! I have also got my first teaching job starting in September 2015 in a lovely primary school in East Dulwich. I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for me at school because I can guarantee I wouldn't have made it to where I am today without your constant encouragement! And although I may not have appreciated it so much back then, I definitely do now! Thanks so much Mrs Di Paola, you’re the best! 

 

 

Brenda Hall (nee' Hubbard) Class of 1956

Brenda HallMy younger brother and I attended the old school building, opposite the old forge.  We lived in Broyle Close (prefabs back then), down Broyle Lane and walked to school and back.  Later we moved to Green Close which was very handy for the school!  Mrs Richardson, also of Green Close, was the Lollipop Lady.

The photo is of Ringmer School Stoolball team in 1955.  Mr Self was the Headmaster and I am standing on the end to his right.  Mrs Spong was a dinner lady and Mrs Bliss was a teacher.  Mr Baird was also a teacher.  Miss Gibson was my first teacher when I joined the school at the age of 5 in 1948 until 1956. I failed my 11+, was good at English but bad at Maths.

We moved to Newhaven when I was 13 so I was able to take GCE and RSA exams there in the new 5th Year.  I left school in 1959.  My first job was as a doctor's receptionist in Seaford.  I did a short stint at Lewes County Library HQ up near the prison.  In 1963 I married a man from Devon, we had 5 children. I am now recently widowed and still live in Devon.

At Ringmer we used to go by coach to swimming lessons at Lewes swimming pool and used to take part in the inter-schools sports at the Dripping Pan, Lewes.  We went to the County Show with the school and played other schools in sports, home and away matches.  I was in all the girl's teams.  Good times!

Thank you,  Brenda

 

Trevor David Hughes MA MST DPhil 1984 - 1989

Trevor David HughesI was at Ringmer between 1984-89, leaving with a decent fistful of GCSEs.  I seem to recall spending most of my time, when I wasn't doing schoolwork, playing the trombone.

I went on from school to A-Levels (English, History and History of Art) and play my trombone at what had just become Lewes Tertiary College, from there to do a degree in Medieval History at the University of St Andrews, and then post-graduate research at Oxford.  From there I applied for the Civil Servant fast stream - because that's what happens to people who study Medieval History - and joined the Northern Ireland Office.  I moved permanently to Northern Ireland in 2001.  I was promoted to the Senior Civil Servant in 2009, firstly as Head of Police Division.  I am now working in the Northern Ireland Civil Service as a Director in the Department of Education.

I am currently Director of Curriculum, Qualifications and Standards, with a remit to advise the Minister on policies to support educational outcome for the young people of Northern Ireland.  It is instructive for my colleagues - who were almost all educated in Northern Ireland - to get some perspective on their selective education system from someone who benefitted from attending a genuinely comprehensive school.  Where people are used to having grammar schools and secondary schools, there is always a little doubt about whether the most academic pupils can still succeed at the highest level in a comprehensive; as I enjoy pointing out to them, in my year-group alone, I know that Ringmer produced PhDs (as well, of course, as the first winner of Strictly)

I could not have predicted where I have ended up in life. Being a Civil Servant may not be a million miles away from my own thinking in the late 80s (at the time I wanted to join the diplomatic service, even though my form teacher told me I went to the wrong kind of school) but I could not have plotted a course to advising a Sinn Féin minister on education performance.  I believe Ringmer School gave me a very good educational start, plenty of time to play my trombone, and a confidence that there really wasn't anything I could not choose to do in life if I had the right qualifications; I didn't believe my form teacher about the diplomatic service at the time.

 

Andrew Wickham 1977 - 1982

Andrew WickhamI attended Ringmer from 1977 to 1982.  After Ringmer I transferred to Lewes Priory for 'A' Levels and then studied at Aston University, where I obtained my degree.

At Ringmer, I developed an unusual interest in buses, and after university, returned to Sussex to work for Brighton Buses.  After a year, the company bought a small coach company in Lewes and appointment me as manager.  I therefore ran a number of Ringmer's school buses, including the one to Halland and Golden Cross I once used as a pupil.

I subsequently worked in London, Dorset and Plymouth in various bus industry management roles.  I am now managing director of Go South Coast, which runs 750 buses, employs 1,500 people with a turnover of £87m.  It runs buses and coaches in Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

I am married with two children who are 17 and 15, both studying, and live in Dorset.

The picture (I am in the black coat, third from the left) was at an event launching some new buses in Dorset, in February 2015.

I was very happy at Ringmer, although I now live some distance away.

 

Issy Hoole 2005-2010

Issy HooleI am Issy Hoole, I attended Ringmer Community College from 2005-2010 and was Head Girl in my final year. 

I went onto study Psychology, Sociology, Drama and Dance at Park College (Eastbourne) after loving my performing arts experience at Ringmer as well as enjoying studying Citizenship GCSE.  I found, whilst at Park, that the social sciences were my thing, and I am now in my final year at the University of Exeter studying Sociology.  My dissertation is exploring the reputation of 'ology' subjects in relation to Social Classes and Gender. I have a place to do a PGCE at UCL next year, to train to be a secondary school teacher in Social Sciences (Psychology, Sociology, Politics with PSHE and RE).  The teachers at Ringmer really inspired me to want to go on to teach.

 

Hannah Burnham 2001-2005

Hannah BurnhamI decided that I wanted to become a lawyer when I was about 15. At that stage I had heard it would be hard work but I assumed if I did well in my exams everything would go through smoothly. I left Ringmer and went to BHASVIC college to study English Lit and Lang, Maths, Law and Human Biology. At that stage I started to do a bit of work experience to get a feel for the job. I came out with the A Level's I needed to go to Exeter University.

I loved my years at Uni. It was hard work and hard to find the balance between studying and having a good time but it is possible if you make the effort to go in and get the work done. I started to realise that even if you get the required results (a 2:1 or a first is really needed to get into the role of a solicitor) you also need to have everything else ticked off the list. I was lucky that I did D of E whilst at school and had some other sports and activities that I could put on my CV together with some part time work I had been doing whilst at School and college. Even with all that I needed a lot of work experience so spent a few weeks at different firms (predominantly tea making and paper shuffling) doing what they asked me to do.
 
In my 2nd and 3rd year I started applying to big firms for a training contract. My ideal was to work in London and be a family lawyer. I was pretty shocked and devastated to get hundreds of rejections despite having everything they wanted. I did get a selection of interviews and made it pretty far with a few firms but in the end nothing came to fruition. I signed up to do my LPC which is the post grad course you need to take to become a solicitor. I had to move back home to Sussex and commute to Guildford to do this which was a struggle and the work load is intense. Luckily during that time I got a job offer as a paralegal in a big firm in London doing high value personal injury. I thought that was the perfect job and started in the summer after my LPC.
 
Within about 2 weeks I realised my dreams of a glamorous office and being a hot shot lawyer were not a reality. I hated every moment being treated like a cog in a machine and the long commute into London each day.
 
Luckily one of the work experience placements I did in Swindon offered me the chance to do a training contract with them. I left London and moved to my current firm. From there I have completed my training contract (which is the 2 year training period you need to complete after the LPC to qualify) and I've qualified as a solicitor in the firm. The firm is a small high street firm but we have big ambitions and some big national clients. I now work in the litigation department (which involves people fighting over money predominantly) and I also do some personal injury and a bit of property when I need to.
 
I've recently been asked to become a Director of the firm which is great and a lot earlier than I had hoped for.

 

Dr Lesley Kay MA, MSc, FRCP 1977 - 1982

DR Lesley KayI was at Ringmer School (as it was) in its first comprehensive year, from 1977 to doing O levels in 1982. I was a school librarian, a member of the school orchestra, school council and hockey team and deputy head girl.  I went onto Lewes Priory School for Sixth Form and then Brasenose College, Oxford, to read medicine.  I worked in Oxford for 6 months after I graduated and then have trained in medicine and public health in the North East.  I've been a consultant rheumatologist in Newcastle since 2000, and am also an honorary Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University, Clinical Director for Patient Safety and Quality, vice-chair of the Northern Clinical Senate Council.  I am a medical advisor to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and have recently been appointed to the 5th cohort of the Heath Foundation Generation Q Fellowship.  I still have family in Sussex but am definitely an adopted Geordie: I am a season ticket holder at St James' Park and love living very close to Hadrian's Wall.  It wasn't until I came north that I realised you could have beaches without shingle.

I do remember many teachers at the school really wanting the comprehensive experiment to succeed.  They really looked after us and were very flexible - I was allowed to do 3 O levels a year early - a class of us did maths early but I was the only one who sat English and French at the end of the 4th year and was relieved to live up to their expectations and get 3 As.  In retrospect I really appreciated them working to help me as an individual who may well have got bored and done less well without the challenge of sitting these exams early.  It was really good for me to be in classes with people who worked very hard but struggled to be able to read.  I think it's helped me understand that people do not necessarily get rewarded for their effort and that I was very lucky that reading and writing came easily to me.  It has definitely made me a better doctor and able to relate to the huge variety of people I meet as patients.

 

 

Andy Goodchild 1978 - 1983

Andy GoodchildI left Ringmer and went to Priory Sixth Form. I dropped out after the first year and started with Natwest in Lewes.  I spent 13-14 years there and rose to Area Manager of East and West Sussex.  I went to Barclays as Regional Manager of their Premier Banking division in South London and the South East.  I left Barclays to become Regional Director of Bradford and Bingley in London and the South East.  I moved onto Sequence/Connells Eastate Agents as Mortgage Development Director before returning to Barclays as Market Leader for 16 branches in The City and Canary Wharf; I commute from Uckfield to London Bridge daily.

I live in Lower Dicker, married to Mel with Alice whose 12 and Ollie whose 16, both now go to Ringmer. I spend most of my time out of work coaching football at Senior level having attained an UEFA B licence.  I have coached at Ucfield Town, AFC Uckfield and most recently Hailsham Town as well as Sussex schools U-14 to U-16.

 

Hollie Craig 2005 - 2010

Hollie CraigI have been working for an insurance company for the last three years since leaving college and have just finished my management course.  I started my new job in November working for Crystal Ski as a holiday rep.

I am most grateful for the memories of Ringmer.  Year 8 Welsh Camp is something I will always remember, it brought the whole year group together and was an amazing week!  Also sports day was always something I looked forward to, seeing everyone get so competitive and my house Arundel always smashing it! 

I learnt to get involved and also learnt that only you can write your life script so make the most of it.

 

 

Alex Grant 2007 - 2012

Alex Grant AlumniI took the medical route to become a Paramedic after leaving Ringmer.  I am doing an A-Level in Biology in one year as well as doing two other A Levels.  I am hoping to study Paramedic Practice at Brighton and I am currently a St John's Ambulance Cadet, where I have treated patients already.

I struggled through the end of Year 10 and especially Year 11 whilst at Ringmer but the best thing was the teachers. I always had a solid few I could go to in bad times and they gave support out of teaching hours, often staying behind late to help with exam revision.  The school made me realise that learning for life was the key that my mind is always growing.

 

Henry Valantine 2008 - 2011

Henry Valantine AlumniI am currently studying Sport Journalism at University which has enabled me to report of the tour de France for a local paper and many other interesting things.  I am most grateful to the staff at Ringmer and how they put themselves out for me in their spare time so I could get the best results possible.  I remember how much passion my teachers showed toward their subject and they were all really interested in my development.

 

 

 

Ed Shrimpton 2006 - 2010

Ed ShrimptonI am currently at the University of East Anglia studying Modern History and International Relations. After school I went to BHASVIC and then had a gap year. My Brother, James is the ex-head boy of Ringmer is now an English teacher.  I am most grateful for the experiences I was offered and getting to know what taking responsibility was all about.

 

 

 

Hayley Packham 2008 - 2012

Hayley PackhamIn September 2008 I started my first health and social care diploma lesson. In July 2014 I graduated with a 2:1 in Midwifery with a full time job working at Queen Charlottes and Chelsea Hospital in London. I am the youngest qualified midwife.

Thank you so much for inspiring me Mrs Palmer!

 

 

Luke Farey 2006 - 2011

Luke Farey AlumniAfter leaving Ringmer Community College, I went to study my A-Levels at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College, in Hove. Having earned four A*s in politics and government, English literature, early modern history and philosophy, I was accepted to read art history at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. When I graduate, I hope to pursue a career in either the civil service or the law, after gaining the qualifications requisite for doing so.

I count photography and the piano among my hobbies, and I read widely across interests including the music of J. S. Bach, fossil hominids and eighteenth-century English literature. Recent projects of mine include a series of articles for a local popular magazine about my town's architecture, and a photo album exploring themes relating to the English landscape and industrial ruin. 

The most important thing about Ringmer Community College is the beautiful setting and the quality of the view onto the Downs at the back. One time I asked to go up to the Sixth Form's roof with one of the building staff, and the view was immense. Opportunities like that have given me a wealth of happy memories from school; it was things like standing on the roof which made my time at secondary school so enjoyable. I stood as a candidate in a mock general election, holding assemblies about random (though important) issues, making a video about the school's environmental credentials - if I asked, there was usually someone to help me follow through with my ideas. In my time at Ringmer, for all of these reasons, I felt delightfully fulfilled. 

Students aspiring to places at England's finest universities need independence of thought. You can argue anything, do what you like, and if you have a personal approach to challenges or topics - things which nobody else would think to say, a line all of your own - it isn't hard to achieve highly. Independence of thought comes from being well-informed, obsessively interested in your 'special subject' and disciplined in all your studies. Usually, an independent thinker draws on a range of other subjects to inform their understanding of their own, special, personal area. It is important to engage with a variety of topics to engender a cross-fertilisation of ideas - adding one body of knowledge with another to give yourself an insight into xyz all of your own.

 

Each week a new member of the Alumni will be added. If you are an ex-student and you are keen to get involved please contact Mr Dean on 01273 812220 or email pdean@ringmeracademy.org