Holistic, Academic, Education



Did you go to King Edward VI Grammar School? If you’re a former student who would like to support current students, the school would love to hear from you!  Right now, there are students in the assembly hall where you once sat, facing similar challenges and opportunities that you did. Being connected to you could really help them.


The school in Edward Street is one of nearly 400 state schools and colleges across Britain which have registered with the charity Future First to set up networks of former students or alumni.  Future First’s vision is that every state school or college should be supported by a thriving, engaged alumni community that helps it to do more for its students.


More than 90,000 former students across Britain have already signed up to stay connected with their old school. They’re inspiring young people in a number of ways; as career and education role models, mentors or e-mentors, work experience providers, governors, donors or fundraisers.  It doesn’t matter when you left school, whether you’re in further education or employment, whether you still live nearby or have moved further away, there are still ways you can help!


“More than 39 per cent of state school students don’t know anyone in a job they’d like to do,” said Alex Shapland-Howes, Managing Director of Future First. “If they see that someone who went to the same school, grew up in the same community, has achieved a fulfilling and satisfying job, it helps them see it’s possible for them too. It’s really important for all students to be motivated to succeed in the working world and hearing first hand  from relatable people in interesting jobs can make a huge difference.”


Please add a quote if you wish e.g.:


(Name of school spokesman and job title), said, “We signed up to Future First’s scheme straightaway. A network of past pupils with all their valuable experience will be vital in helping us to broaden current pupils’ jobs horizons and equip them for the world of work.”


Angela Morton is waiting to hear from former students on   [email protected]. Former students can also sign up to Future First’s alumni scheme by clicking on the “Former Students” link on the website 


Teachers wishing to sign up another school to Future First should click the “Schools and Colleges staff” link.


For further information about Future First, log onto Alternatively contact our Press and Publicity Officer Sue Crabtree on  [email protected] our Programme Director, Megan Clatworthy on [email protected]  or call one of the team on 0207 239 8933.

John Patterson

Since leaving KEVIGS in 1987, I went to Manchester University and had a great 3 years there. My 20s were spent in the City in the Lloyd's Market which was a great (unexpected) introduction to commerce, people, developing relationships and generally becoming capable of dealing with all sorts of people and situations post University.


Towards the end of my 20s however I did not want to be reliant on the 'Square Mile' so I studied for my Risk Management exams and sought to meet people in the industry about moving across. It was a catch 22 situation for some time but the key was networking…


After securing my first role in this area I enjoyed a couple of years travelling across the world in the role and then moved to a Worldwide marine installer of fibre optic cables…this was a catalyst for moving into Project Management in my early 30s which was a great move and has developed really transferable skills. This role was very enjoyable and involved managing projects in the USA, Asia, Europe and the UK.


At the age of 37 it was time to take a break and I travelled round the world for a year knowing I needed time out to recharge the batteries, which I did. After returning to the UK, I set my own project management consultancy business and worked on several commissions including two project for my previous company…always seeking to maintain good relationships and never burning my bridges.  


Life has had many ups and downs but as I get older I am more and more open to taking risks and confident in the knowledge that the people on the other side of the desk / table need to convince you to work for them as much as I need to convince them.


I have been in senior positions over the last 10 years in particular but at this moment in time I have moved back to coalface project management (albeit larger scale projects) where I am happiest and in my view it's important to recognise what one enjoys doing rather than simply moving up the corporate ladder and further away from what you've enjoyed doing in the past.


One piece of advice:


Own your own market value…don't expect your future to be managed and directed by anyone but yourself…the best way to 'get on' and dig out the right move for yourself is to really think about your strengths and get out there and make your own opportunities through talking to people and showing that you are interested and not just expecting a role to come to you through the post University 'Milk Round' as it was called in the 1980s.


Don't be afraid to take risks and even if you are not the best qualified…you can do it if you are positive, confident (not over-confident) and show that you are willing and able to ask the challenging questions…in interviews remember it should be a peer level discussion…not an 'interview' where you are made to feel grateful…they should be trying to 'sell' themselves to you too.

Sally Anne Bennett

I left school after A levels and went to Cambridge University to study Maths. I unexpectedly ended up at Murray Edwards College, which only admits girls, but after getting over the initial apprehension this wasn't a problem. I had a good three years studying maths (and doing a lot of rowing) before realising that I was getting to the end of my course and had no idea what I wanted to do in the future. So I decided to stay at the university and do a 1 year Management Studies course. During that year, I realised that I wanted a career that used my maths skills, so looked at working in software development. I graduated in June and now work at Metaswitch Networks as a software engineer.


My advice to my 16 year old self would be that, over time at least, being happy socially is more important than being academically brilliant.

Sally Anne Bennett

John Patterson