Alumni

The interviews below are from 6 young people all born in 2000 and who were all in the same year at Skippers leaving in 2013.

They talk about their journey since leaving Skippers, the choices they have made and what their hopes for the future are.

Former Pupils

Harriet Long - Theatrical Agent: Film, TV and Theatre

Years attended
I attended Skippers Hill for 8 years.

Which Senior School did you attend after Skippers?
St Leonards Mayfield

What is your current occupation?

Theatrical Agent

What have you done since leaving school and what achievements are you most proud of?

After Skippers Hill, I went on to St Leonards Mayfield. I choose Mayfield as I was horse crazy and it had such great opportunities for horse riding and competing for the school. After finishing school, I decided to take a gap year where I went and taught at Camp America and then travelled around California and Southeast Asia. I also did a lot of work experience as a runner on numerous television shows to help me gain a place at Bristol University where I studied Drama.

I’m most proud of being driven from such a young age and always knowing the career path I wanted to follow.

What are you doing now and what do you enjoy most about it?

I work at a Talent Agency in London where I represent actors in Film / TV and Theatre.
I absolutely love finding exciting upcoming actors that I nurture and manage to get them booked on their dream roles. I’m also extremely lucky and get to go and see lots theatre (I saw Hamilton… It was AMAZING)!

In what ways did Skippers prepare you for life?

I made life long friends that I still speak with every day. Skippers provided me with so many amazing opportunities to do different things and find out exactly what it was I enjoyed most.

What is your fondest memory of your time at Skippers?
School Sports Day! I loved and always really looked forward to this event every year as it was such a fun day for everyone.

How would you sum up your experience at Skippers in one word?

Enjoyable!

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

Skippers Hill is where I first met with my now Fiancé! We got engaged at New Year in Sri Lanka and we are getting married next May. A lot of fellow classmates from both of our years will be attending the wedding!

Rachel Shepherd - Studying Law, University of Dundee

Years attended
2000-2011

Which Senior School did you attend after Skippers?
Mayfield School

What have you done since leaving school and what achievements are you most proud of?

I am about to go into my third year at the University of Dundee where I study law. During the holidays I come back down to East Sussex and work at a local childrens home for young people with learning disabilities. While it is often very challenging, the work is incredibly rewarding!

In what ways did Skippers prepare you for life?

Instilled the importance of inclusiveness and recognising the worth of each person as an individual.

What is your fondest memory of your time at Skippers?
The Jersey Sports Tour in Year 7 and 8!

How would you sum up your experience at Skippers in one word?
Happy.

Jessica Arnold - Associate Brand Manager at Lilly Diabetes

Years attended
1995 – 2007 (Kindergarten to Year 8)

Which Senior School did you attend after Skippers?
Mayfield

What is your current occupation?
Associate Brand Manager at Lilly Diabetes.

What have you done since leaving school and what achievements are you most proud of?
At Mayfield I completed my Chemistry, Biology and Maths A levels and then studied Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacology at the University of Southampton.

Since leaving Skippers I am most proud of achieving my Grade 8 in flute and singing, being the head of the advanced choir (Schola Cantorum) and Deputy Head Girl at Mayfield, running Live Crib, my degree (especially my research and library dissertations on Osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s), being President of Southampton Marrow at University (Anthony Nolan foundation), getting my work placement and being kept on, my programme at work that was adopted by the global team and being promoted to my current position.

What are you doing now and what do you enjoy most about it?
I work in the Diabetes marketing team at Lilly. This involves working with different departments, as well as healthcare professionals and patients, to communicate information about our medicines to those who can benefit from them. I enjoy being busy in my role, knowing our brands inside out, managing multiple projects/programmes and working with lots of different people. It is important to me to make a difference and I enjoy seeing how our medications can make life better for the people that we serve.

I also try to keep up my music, sport and cooking that I love!

In what ways did Skippers prepare you for life?
Skippers gave me the confidence to try anything that interested me and taught me about the great feeling of achieving something you are enthusiastic about. It showed me how rewarding hard work and working with others can be and the importance of respecting people, supporting those around you and setting a good example.

What is your fondest memory of your time at Skippers?
How do I choose! Skippers was a big family to me and so I have many happy memories. I used to love the big group events like sports days, plays/performances, trips and matches. I can also think of enjoyable moments in lessons with each teacher.

How would you sum up your experience at Skippers in one word?
Perfect.

Toby Plummer - Director of Photography in the United Arab Emirates

Toby Plummer spent a happy five years at Skippers Hill, from 1998 to 2003. He then went to Cranbrook School and to Ampleforth College for sixth form. Being dyslexic, Toby never found academic work particularly easy but chose to follow his passion for filmmaking, which he had from an early age and for the past 8 years has been running  his own company in the United Arab Emirates.

Toby recently returned to Skippers to capture video footage of the school grounds using a flying drone.

You can watch Toby’s video below:

A Graduate of Falmouth University, with a BA Film degree focusing on documentary filmmaking, Toby took up an internship with a media company in Dubai, which soon became a permanent position. His passion for filmmaking combined with a creative flair meant that he was quick to learn and develop his own style. Having built up contacts in the United Arab Emirates, Toby decided to become a freelance cinematographer. Although mainly based in Dubai, his work has taken him to countries all over the world, working on documentaries, commercials and fashion shoots.  In 2015 Toby set up his own company Capture DXB where you can view his latest work.

 

Guy Quittenton - Archaelogy and Anthropology, Oxford

What was the best bit about your school and why?

Skippers Hill was a place of friendly smiles. Not only from the caring teachers, but also from the genuinely happy pupils. From Reception to Year 8, grins were seen across the playground, on the sports fields and in the classrooms.

Of course it was not always smiles, but everything was done to restore them. Part of being in the older years was to make the effort to know all of the pupils’ names, which created a sense of community across all years. My favourite thing was that at Skippers, you were never alone and it was easy to be happy.

What was the most valuable life lesson that you’ve learnt during your time at Skippers Hill?

Skippers taught me that there is a way to enjoy all challenges and that was as a team.

However, the most valuable life lesson that I learnt, was that making other people happy and being positive, results in being happy yourself.

Matt Cro - Space Technology & Exploration, EADS Astrium

Name: Matt Cro
Age: 23
Time at Skippers: 1992 – 2002

I started at Skippers Hill in 1992, starting right at the beginning in Kindergarten. Rising up through the years, I discovered my passion for science, particularly in the field of space exploration. Looking back on my time at school, every teacher that taught me always took an interest in my passion, and would try and help and push me that little bit further to fulfil that passion, and help me prepare for my education beyond Skippers.

After finishing the (dreaded!) Common Entrance exams, I left Skippers in 2002 to start at Brighton College (where I met my future wife!). From there I went to the University of Leicester to study Physics with Space Science and Technology, and after graduating in 2010 I joined EADS Astrium, fulfilling a lifelong dream of working in the space technology and exploration industry.

My fondest memories of Skippers would perhaps be during the summer terms and Sports Days. While not being particularly sporty myself, the day of competitions, spent with family and friends on what was (usually) a wonderfully hot and sunny day was great fun, and in my last year I finally won a race! I did however use to detest the walk up and down what seemed like an endless hill after a long afternoon of sport, although I did miss it when I then had to walk a mile to a from the sports fields in Brighton! The summer terms were always enjoyable, lessons on the grass in front of the swimming pool, plenty of time spent outside, and once the exams were over with, the fun activities that would follow as well, and I’m sure all former Common Entrance sitters will agree the Dorset trip was well deserved!

It is a testament to the school that not only I, but other ex-pupils, still speak so fondly of a school that has been teaching children for over 50 years.

Imogen Williams - Sport Development Manager, The University of Manchester

I started at Skippers when I was about 3 or 4 years old.  I can’t remember precisely, but it was definitely the start of my journey in full time education.

My first impressions of the School were of being excited at having so many other children to be with and so much to do. I remember it had a very warm feeling as a school and each time I go back I always chuckle at the fact the child within me always remembers it being so much bigger than it seems to be when I see it with my ‘adult eyes’!

My time at Skippers prepared me by giving me choices which has helped evolve my decision making skills. It gave me many friends and developed my socialising skills as well as my realisation of how much I enjoy hearing other people’s life stories.  Skippers sparked my passion for sport which has become part of every hour, of every day of my life!

After Skippers I went to Marlborough College, a boarding school in Wiltshire, which was exciting but also terrifying! The transition was interesting since I had been a year ahead of my age group at Skippers and, on the guidance of those around me, repeated my final year at Skippers to ensure I was one of the older students at Marlborough as opposed to the youngest.  It was certainly big fish, little pond moving to be a little fish in an ocean!  Looking back on it now, I am eternally grateful for the skills that my time at Skippers has given me and have only really started to appreciate its impact.

I now work as the Sport Development Manager at The University of Manchester, where I oversee a great team who grow and develop our programme of sporting opportunities for students at the University. Our programmes range from providing opportunities for students to play a social game of badminton right through to those studying a degree in a competitive academic field who need a support network to enable them to balance their studies alongside aspirations of representing their country and potentially being the next Olympic/Paralympic Champions in their sport. I recently featured in the October edition of The Leisure Review.  Outside of work I also volunteer, running a very successful netball club with some amazing ladies.

I am currently planning my wedding to a very special man (I am very lucky!), and my Chief Bridesmaid and closest friend, Josie Dade*, also happens to be a Skippers Alumni.  Josie was actually my biggest rival on the athletics track and I seem to recall she was in most sports, but despite our competitive natures, Josie and I have been best friends since I left Skippers.

I have lots to thank Skippers for.  It provided me with so many opportunities to learn and try many different experiences, but I think I am most grateful for the lifelong friendships it has given me. Anyone who goes there is extremely lucky and will have the foundations to help them have the tools to make their life whatever they dream it to be.

I have so many fond memories from Skippers, most of which are sport related.  The top ones would be:

– The Wadhurst rallies and netball moments we had as a team with Mrs Barkworth.  I loved the tournaments we used to travel to despite the cold, hard netball courts and typical British weather.  There was something rather special about our team and experiencing it all together.

-Getting through the early morning training sessions with Mr Breakwell encouraging me to be as successful as I could be, representing Skippers in the Shot Put at the National Schools Athletics, and cracking at the worst point imaginable for a 12 year old.  I was at the event, throwing my best ever distance (and speculation says the winning distance) and in all my excitement stepping out of the front of the circle to see the joy on Mr. Breakwell’s face drop to sadness and frustration in a split second. I think it has taken me until now to get over it!

– My primary school ‘sweetheart’

– School breaks and the games and great socialising that always used to happen on ‘top quad’

– Speech and Drama and the competitions we had access to

– Sports Day- I always loved that day

– Getting told off for running in the corridor

– Mr. Burfield (4B, I think, was my favourite class) and many other inspiring teachers

– ‘Matron’ and her delicious cookies!

– The cheesy annual school picture..in fact all 8 years worth are still displayed in our living room!

– The school ski trip ……Oh I could go on……

* Skippers recently supported Josie in her sponsored bike ride from London to Gibraltar, raising money for the Yellow Fish Hutchins Foundation. Read more here.

Andrew Burnett - Runs his own Estate Agent in Mayfield

What are you doing now?
I run my own Estate Agents in Mayfield, just down the road.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Every day is different!  We live in an exceptional part of the UK, in a village a community where the people and properties are so diverse and, on the whole, unique.

I love being part of that community, contributing to various events, local sponsorship of schools, sport clubs and events, as well as using the local trades and shops.

What are your interests outside of work?
Sports of most kinds – Hockey, tennis, golf, skiing, pool, shooting, swimming – anything to stay fit and keep up the exercise that I miss from my School days!   Cooking, family and spending time with my fabulous friends, many of whom I was at Skippers Hill with and I have now known for 21 years!

What have you done since you left Skippers?
I have done a bit of travelling, mainly through Europe, specifically France, but also a bit in Australia and Peru.  I learnt a lot about wines by working for a few months in the Vineyards at grape harvesting time in France – it was a tough job, but someone had to do it!

I never went to university – I didn’t really see the point, as I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I grew up.   By chance, I ‘stumbled’ upon my profession which I started after a gap year, and ten years later I still love my job and I am in control of my own destiny, so to speak.

How did your experiences at Skippers influence what you are doing now?
Tim Lewis is an inspiration.  It is that simple.  He inspired a lazy, uninspired 8/9 year old school boy to work and (with a lot of hard work!) I have my own business, and have had since the age of 24.  Moreover, he took a shy and unconfident child and gave me self-assurance.

The sports that I played at Skippers is a passion that has stayed with me, and the outdoor life that I adore and I can still have whilst I work my daily routine, as I am constantly out of the office!

The sporting aspects rest heavily on the shoulders of Tim and Mr Breakwell; the academic side of things with so many teachers, but a specific mention to Mr Burfield, whose dry wit I only think we really understood at a later date.

That wit, that energy, that confidence and that motivation still holds true.  To paraphrase slightly: the harder I work, the luckier I get.

What was your favourite subject at School and is it connected with what you are doing now?
I never really was an academic child as I never really applied myself to a subject (yet I passed my eleven plus and continuation scholarships and went, with several of my School friends from Skippers Hill, to St Bede’s). I was more of an all-rounder, good at various subjects and today, that all-round knowledge is exceptionally useful.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Skippers?
There are a few… Sports Days and matches, the games on ‘top-quad’, the muddy exploration for science in the woods, matron’s cookies and the Durdle Door school trip was great fun too.

I think, though, the best memory is that of my friends – how we were, and how we are now, twenty one years later, still seeing each other as regularly as possible, even though we’re all busy and dispersed throughout the UK!

Laura Marsh - England Cricket Team

2009, what a year!

Most international sportsmen and women dream of playing in World Cups and competing at the highest level. In 2009 I played a leading role in the winning of two Cricket World Cups, an Ashes victory, a series whitewash of the old enemy Australia as part of the England team who were also nominated for BBC Sports Personality ‘Team of the Year’ award. It doesn’t get much better than that for someone whose life is dedicated to international sport. These achievements came as a result of many other significant moments that occurred earlier on in my development both as a person and a sportswoman.

My journey began back in 1989 as a 3-year-old kindergarten pupil at Skippers Hill.

It was evident from a very young age that I had the potential to be good at sport and Skippers was the perfect environment to execute my sporting talents. The opportunities I received were endless. I played netball, hockey, cricket and football, (not only with the girls but also with the boys), athletics, swimming, and gymnastics and even found time for a little ballet! There was never a time when I was not thinking about sport, and the staff at Skippers Hill were quick to recognise my pre-occupation. A funny memory for both myself and my mum and dad was a comment they received at a parents evening. Tim Lewis, who at the time was my English teacher, said ‘Laura seems a little distracted at times. Her body is in the classroom but her mind is out on the sports field!’ He couldn’t have been more accurate! But rather than quelling my passion Tim and his team were encouraging and enthusiastic, and facilitated a great environment to learn new skills and develop my natural ability.

The friendly and family-knit atmosphere that Skippers Hill creates was ideal. The opportunities and experiences I encountered gave me the perfect platform to build on in the future and enabled me to gain the following achievements: National U13 Javelin champion and U13 County level Cricket and Hockey. These achievements combined with a natural all-round sporting ability provided me with a strong case from which to move forward onto College after my common entrance exams. Skippers Hill played a considerable role in helping me gain a sports scholarship to Brighton College and from Brighton College being offered a place at Loughborough University studying Sports Science with Management. This year involves a series tour to India, a Twenty Twenty World Cup in the West Indies and a home series against New Zealand this summer. Hopefully we can continue our winning form. When I’m not on England duty I also coach junior cricket on a 1:1 basis and for small groups.

I will always been extremely grateful for the role that my teachers at Skippers played in helping me to realise my ambition. Whether your passion is sport, drama, music or academic studies there surely can’t be a better place to start you on the road to realising your dreams.

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