50 up

On 22nd April we opened the doors and invited our former students for the day, to help us celebrate 50 years since Middlesex County Council brought together Kingsbury County Grammar School and two secondary moderns, the Tylers and Croft Schools.
With no idea of what numbers to expect we hoped to see some familiar faces and groups coming in to share their experiences with us. No one could have expected such a fantastic turnout and such excitement from former students and staff. People travelled from near and far to walk through the entrance that ‘only teachers were allowed to use’ and take a walk down memory lane. Some used the day as an opportunity for an organised reunion, some wondered in to see who they might bump into. The expressions on their faces were the same when they spotted familiar faces. Tears and laughter followed by ‘do you remember that time when…’ being the most used phrase of the day, captures the day.

Previous Headteachers Mr Mitchell and Mr Snell honoured us with a surprise visit, showing that they still like to recollect their days at KHS.
In K Hall and library a selection of documentation were displayed for the visitors’ reminiscence of their days back in the school. Photos were laid out on tables, free for anyone to take away and numerous old publications were available to read on the day. Groups gathered and enjoyed reliving memories over a cup of tea in the Hall whilst watching the presentations on the screens.

Hourly tours were offered to the Lower School on Bacon Lane, which allowed the guests to stick their heads into their old classrooms, after signing in at the school register. Group photos were taken to recreate those old class photographs.

Thank you to everyone that joined us on the day and made it such a memorable day.

Year 10 Motivational Workshops

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During March and April, a group of Year 10 students participated in three motivational workshops to raise their confidence; provide them with a connection between their studies and the world of work; and to get them to think about their future career paths.

At each of the workshops, organised by Future First, four former Kingsbury High School students were invited back to school as role models.

The first session aimed to increase students’ knowledge about the various jobs that exist; expose them to different career pathways; and motivate them to think about the right career for them.

Working in small groups, students rotated round a bank of tables where alumni volunteers were stationed. Students were able to find out information about their working lives and how they got there.

Louis Cheshire left Kingsbury High School in 2007 and currently works as a Support Worker and a Freelance Photographer. Louis attended the first session and said “When I was that age I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after education. When I thought about getting a good job, I always imagined that it came down to getting high grades in school and moving forward in a very rigid, linear fashion. I found that a very daunting prospect. What I wanted to convey to the students is that there isn’t one universally ‘right’ way to do things – that there are countless ways of getting to the place in life you want to be. Sometimes you have to take a chance and try something new – it doesn’t always work out the way you imagined it would – but as long as you learn from the experience and better yourself for it, it should never be considered a mistake. The students seemed pretty perceptive of that. I saw some keen minds in that workshop and with the support and guidance of the school and Future First I’m sure they will achieve great things.”

Following on from Louis’ thoughts, in the second session, students heard from alumni volunteers about how both good and bad grades can impact on future education and employment opportunities. They also found out which skills, gained from subjects studied at school, the volunteers use most in their jobs. Volunteers then helped students identify how their subject and extra-curricular interests can be applied to different jobs.

The third session saw alumni volunteers act as coaches and helped students to create their own ‘Picture of Me’ guiding them into thinking more laterally about their talents and achievements. The activity culminated in a conversation about future career options based on the students’ strengths and skills.

Shazma Roshan also left Kingsbury High School in 2007 and now works at KPMG as Audit Assistant Manager. Shazma attended the final session and said “I thought the session was really well done and interesting for the students because it was so interactive. Students responded well, some were initially slightly less communicative, but by the end of a conversation, they really got talking and it was very interesting to hear about their worries, their hopes and their dreams. It was very enjoyable and I really hope they’ve taken something from it!”

On behalf of Kingsbury High School and Future First, we would like to thank the alumni volunteers for giving up their time to assist in these workshops.

Oxford University Visit

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In March, 24 Year 11 students took the opportunity to visit the University of Oxford at the invitation of two former Kingsburians, Amro Nagdy and Sahar Abas, who are currently undergraduates at the institution. Oxford is ranked at the top of The Times Good University Guide in the UK and is in the top five of the World University League Tables for the “high quality of its resources, teaching and research”. Amro Nagdy is reading PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at Trinity College, and Sahar Abas is reading Law (Jurisprudence) at Christ Church.

The Year 11 students began the day with an introduction to the university at Oriel College led by Emma Bausch, an Oxford outreach officer, and worked through some interesting course research and careers tasks, followed by lunch in the dining hall of the college. Amro then led a tour of Oxford landmarks – including the Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera, and the Sheldonian Theatre – before proudly showing the students around his own college, Trinity, with plenty of anecdotes and tips along the way. Sahar joined the group at this point to give her own perspective on studying at Oxford and advice about applying to the university.

The students were able to ask questions throughout the day and gained a very vivid sense of what it would be like to study at Oxford. Indeed, the visit seemed to have a powerful effect on the students, with some declaring their intentions to get the necessary grades at GCSE and target this institution in the future. We wish them every success in their endeavours!

Awards Evening 2014

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On Thursday 17th December 2014, former students were invited back to Kingsbury High School to attend an Awards Evening.

The evening was made up with a mixture of nostalgia, as alumni looked back at photographs of their time at Kingsbury High School; pride, as they collected their awards; entertainment, as they watched current students perform in a musical interlude; and reunion, as they were reunited with their old classmates.

Awards included Achievement in the Face of Adversity; the Most Outstanding Contribution to the Life of the School; and Outstanding Public Service.

Xhesilda Kurtaj received the Outstanding Public Service award and said “For me it was just a great feeling to be reunited with everyone on such a lovely evening. It was a pleasure to receive an award that recognised my contributions to the school.”

Thanks to Bruce Viveash for the photography.

Alumni Day 2014

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On Friday 5th September 2014, the school was thrilled to welcome back around 40 of its former students to inspire the new Year 12 students during their induction day. The oldest member of the panel left the school in the late 1960s and the youngest members have just completed their A levels and are waiting to take up university places. Visitors included Oxbridge lawyers, economists and astrophysicists; professional insolvency practitioners, lawyers, housing managers and law enforcement officers; undergraduates and postgraduates of a range of degree courses; and apprentices in nursing care and mechanics. Aside from sharing thoughts, experiences and advice, the former students had time to mix with our current students so that questions could be asked informally.

We were delighted, in addition, to welcome one of ‘The Independent’ newspaper’s School Leavers of the Year, Melissa Calleja, a Supply Chain and Logistics Manager for London restaurant chain, ‘Pret a Manger’, who had chosen to go into work after Kingsbury High rather than take the university route; Claire Jamieson, who has developed a highly successful managerial career with a pub restaurant chain since graduating from university; and Norman Womuhai who has set up his own non-profit organisation called ‘Aim Big Think Bang’ to encourage and motivate young people to engage in volunteering and extracurricular curricular activities whilst successfully managing their academic time.

Norman said “I am in a position where I have been successful thanks to the support given to me at school, so it was important to me to attend the Alumni Day to help my younger Kingsbury peers.

The atmosphere at the Alumni Day was very lively; I always enjoy such Kingsbury High School inspired events. I think for me, what made the vibe so exciting and the event buzz, was being surrounded by successful individuals with a wealth of experiences. What is more, I found it personally beneficial, as it was an excellent networking opportunity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day – not only for meeting my peers, but also seeing and thanking the teachers who greatly contributed to my success.”

Year 12 student, Zaki Hassan, said “I thought the Alumni Day was wonderful. It helped me get some insight on how to search for a career and how to utilise my time in the Sixth Form.

Norman, in particular, definitely inspired me to do well in Sixth Form. He also encouraged me to participate in extracurricular events.

What surprised me the most is that the amount of work the former students had to do in order to achieve their goals. It’s daunting but I think it will be well worth it in the end.”

The highly successful alumni gave their time for free on the day and we hope that our new Year 12 students benefit enormously from their examples and insights. We hope to continue this tradition next year. The Sixth Form Prefects should also be highly commended for supporting the alumni whilst also making their own contributions to the induction day. A huge thank you goes to Binda Patel from Pure Potential for offering free university and career advice.

STEM talks at Kingsbury High School

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On Tuesday 8th and Tuesday 15th July 2014, former students, who are now working or training in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries, were invited back to Kingsbury High to speak to current students about their experiences.

Former students spoke to students from Years 7 and 8 to share ideas about what inspired and enthused them to follow STEM routes at A level and beyond. Mr Cumbers said “Each had their own tales to tell, some straight forward and ‘easy’, others a little more complex and at times feeling unlikely in the extreme. We were very grateful to them for their freely given time to support their own science teachers in spreading the word about STEM and the wonderful opportunities it can hold.”