Alumnae Profiles

Alumnae Profiles

This month, we meet Dr Sarah Berry class of , a scientist and lecturer, whose research focuses on the effects of diet on cardiovascular health.

Tell us about your current role and what the job entails

I am a senior lecturer at Kings College London in the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the School of Medicine. My role involves undertaking cutting edge research in the area of diet and cardiometabolic disease and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students. I run clinical intervention studies to study the effect of diet on cardiometabolic health which involves developing research proposals, managing research teams, overseeing the implementation and running of dietary intervention studies, and writing peer reviewed journal articles for publication. Every day is different, exciting and stimulating. My research takes me all over the world to collaborate with international scientists in my field and present my work at international conferences. I love the variety of skills that I use in my job; I am a scientist, a team leader, a project manager, a teacher, a communicator……and much more. It’s tough to balance all my different roles, but doing so has built my resilience which reaps benefits in all other aspects of my life.

Briefly describe some of the key roles you’ve held in the past and how they have helped you in securing your current role

Following my BSc I took a year out and worked in many varied roles (admin, bar work, reception work). I also worked in healthcare PR, following my MSc and prior to commencing my PhD. Although these roles were not instrumental in securing my PhD and future academic career, I learnt many transferable skills which have been fundamental to allowing me to fulfil a successful academic career. A well-rounded individual with experiences, however brief, outside of their chosen career path, often goes on to be the most successful in their career.

What do you think are the top three qualities/skills required to be successful in your role/field?

Critical thinking, resilience and flexibility

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what other career path might you have taken?

I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than what I do now.

How do you think your education at Streatham & Clapham prepared you for life after school?

I joined SCHS half way through Year Seven and I found the difference in the level of education that I had received previously, versus that of my classmates, quite daunting. However, with the support of the teachers and encouragement from the head teacher, Miss Ellis, I quickly caught up with my classmates. Streatham & Clapham taught me to strive to be the best that I can and that putting in 100% effort was more important than the final achievement in grades. This approach to learning developed me as an individual and allowed the learning process to take precedence over the final mark. The school, and Miss Ellis, also taught me that I was ‘an elastic band’ to be stretched to full learning and skill capacity! This gave me determination and resilience which prepared me well when facing challenges in my future studies and academic career.

Tell us about any further/higher education that you undertook after you left school

I obtained my first degree, BSc Physiology, at Sheffield University. Following this I undertook an MSc in Nutrition at King’s College London, where I also gained my PhD (Nutrition).

Who inspires you?

There is no single person who inspires me – we all have varied skills and numerous flaws! I am inspired by people who are able achieve a happy balance in life and are content with whatever path that they choose to take.

What piece of advice would you give to a current pupil contemplating a career in your sector?

As we spend the majority of our life working, I strongly believe that we should strive to love our job. Therefore, I would advise pupils not to decide too early on in their school or work lives what career path to follow. Allow your interest and passion for any given subject or skill to determine each step you take. As long as you give your energy and commitment at each stage, you will end up in the career that’s right for you.



SCHS Pupil 2003-2010

“When I started at SCHS in Year 7, I would never have imagined myself studying at university in the US.”

I completed A-levels in Biology, Physics and Geography at SCHS in June 2010.  In my last year I went through the usual process of applying to study at UK universities and received a number of offers, including the Elite Athlete Scholarship at University of Ulster.  However, during that time I also had a desire for change - to try something new and different.

In Year 11 I became captain of the SCHS hockey team and in 2009 our team entered, for the first time, the GDST hockey tournament in which all 26 Trust schools competed.  I was proud to lead the SCHS team to success, finishing in second place after an exciting final against Ipswich and, as goal keeper, equally pleased to concede only one goal throughout the tournament.

My love of hockey and visits to relatives in the US led to thoughts of applying for an athletics scholarship at an American university.  This was not a route any pupil at SCHS had taken before.  However, staff members were supportive and encouraging and helped me with the process along side my UCAS application.

I researched the process of applying to American Universities and found the first step was to sit the SATS, five hours of multiple choice papers in English and Maths which I completed at an International School in Surrey.  The next stage was more unusual – producing a video of me playing hockey and performing training exercises.  The assistance and enthusiasm of my hockey coach and head of Physical Education at SCHS was invaluable.

I posted the video on YouTube in May 2010 and soon had over 75 responses from different American universities in under a month!  I then went through the long process of researching each of them, particularly their academic standing.  I was offered scholarships in June and July from various universities and accepted a place, with final confirmation in February 2011. I begin a four year course in Biomedical Sciences (with an athletics scholarship with hockey as my main sport) at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut in August 2011.

My scholarship covers around 90% of the $40k annual fees and I will be staying on campus.  I will be expected to undertake training for my sport for over 20 hours per week.  I will arrive at the end of July to take part in pre-season training and undergo fitness tests to ensure I am ready for my first match on the 29th August.  I know it is going to be a lot of hard work, with a commitment to stay fit and play a full season of matches while achieving good academic qualifications – something I have been well prepared for at SCHS.  Excitingly, this also provides the opportunity to travel the whole of the East coast – without missing any classes!  The priorities are academic, sporting and social – in that order. 

During my gap year and while the application process has been on-going, I have been employed as a teaching assistant in the Learning Support Department at SCHS and, on Sundays, I have coached the Juniors from the London Wayfarers Hockey Team and as a result have achieved my Level 1 hockey coaching award.  This has given me time to prepare for my new life in Connecticut.  Although it’s been hard seeing many of my friends go off to university a year ahead of me, as the time to depart approaches, I am increasingly excited and pleased I chose to do things differently.  When I started at SCHS in Year 7, I would never have imagined myself studying at university in the US. 


SCHS Pupil 2003-2010

“Can one combine acting and animals as a career? Maybe”

Drama has always been my first love – closely followed by animals!  While studying at SCHS for my A Levels in 2010 – Drama, Music and Psychology - I dreamt of having a stage career, and accordingly my UCAS entries were for the top acting schools in the country – RADA, LAMDA and Central.  The competition was fierce and my biggest surprise while waiting to do my auditions was the commitment and apparent brilliance of other auditionees who were trying for a place on their fourth or fifth attempt.  I felt inexperienced by comparison and stopped attending auditions, withdrawing from the process in order to re-evaluate my future plans. Although LAMDA offered me a place on one of their shorter acting courses, I felt I needed time to mature and gain life experience.  During this time, even after I had left SCHS, I was continually supported and encouraged by SCHS’s Head of Drama, Mrs Garner.

During this analytical period, I undertook my ‘Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools’ qualification and worked in a local primary school, supporting a Year 4 class and in particular one pupil with no English.  My dramatic and musical skills were a real advantage; this interaction confirmed to me that I should reapply to university for an acting degree but with an educational aspect. The only slight downside was still my tendency towards self-doubt and concerns regarding my dyslexia.

Further research showed that the leading university offering this style of degree was Central School of Speech and Drama, in particular their ‘Drama, Applied Theatre and Education’ course. However, I still had the huge challenge of an audition to undertake and an interview to pass.  One point in my favour was that I knew I had more than enough UCAS points with my A Level and LAMDA performance success.  Once again, Mrs Garner helped me to hone my personal statement and supported me throughout the application process.

During my interview, I found that I had a wealth of examples of educational dramatic work to support my application; from SCHS Theatre-In-Education projects to our Royal Opera Tosca education project with another school which was shown on the BP big screens around the UK.  The interviewers also wanted to see external school dramatic commitment, and my involvement with our local community theatre, as well as being a member of Pineapple Performing Arts School, certainly helped.

To my absolute delight, I received an unconditional offer from Central! I start in October and cannot wait to begin. I know   that as students we spend much of the summer term working on a production down at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. My huge concerns with my dyslexia are being addressed – I undertook a three hour dyslexia diagnostic assessment at Central and this will help me enormously, as I understand that I will get a grant for some recording equipment and receive some one-to-one tuition.  Currently, I am trying to understand what one of the titles of our required text-books actually means:  ‘Drama and Diversity - A Pluralistic Perspective for Educational Drama’ – Mrs Garner – help!!

I have enjoyed the most fantastic summer.  I applied to Game Rangers International to become a project assistant on an elephant orphanage and, with my savings from my teaching assistant work, jetted off to Zambia, swapping the comforts of my bed for a single tent in Kafue National Park, the second largest park in Africa.  The role ranged from feeding the orphans, to an elephant orphan rescue at night, to educating local communities about the costly impact of the illegal wildlife trade.  I was lucky enough to see and live with an huge range of animals, although I was somewhat wary of the rather large crocodile who lived nearby, a little too close for comfort!  This experience has also shown me that my chosen degree could lead me back to Africa and thereby actually achieve my dream – drama and animals. 

Laurie Anne

SCHS Pupil 2002-2009

“If you want to go to university, staying at SCHS could be the best decision you could make – A-levels are an exceedingly important time of your life..”

When I started in Year 7 I couldn’t wait to leave school, but as time went on I began to love SCHS and its atmosphere. I hadn’t originally intended to stay on for Sixth Form because some of my friends were leaving after Year 11. But I couldn’t find any good reason to leave SCHS, so I stayed. I was so glad I did, because if you want to go to university, staying at SCHS could be the best decision you could make - A-levels are an exceedingly important time of your life. Having to worry about making new friends, finding your way around a new place and establishing yourself as a pupil all over again, can distract you from your main goal and where you’re headed in life.

Staying at SCHS for Sixth Form meant that the teachers I had always known and who knew me were able to help me develop into the person I am now.

After GCSEs I was not entirely sure which A-levels I wanted to take so I sought advice from teachers who knew me best, as well as the teachers of the areas that interested me. This was an opportunity I would not have had if I had left for another sixth form or college. I was also able to take subjects I could not have taken in other places: it was difficult to find anywhere else that taught Italian as a mainstream subject. The teaching also suited me really well: the way the Religious Studies course has made me into the very philosophical person I am today.

I learnt so many valuable skills in the Sixth Form, skills I was able to share with my peers and to take forward with me into my adult life. I had such a wide range of abilities that I was not certain on how to use them. I knew that ultimately I wanted to help people. Initially I chose a Law/ Criminology based degree and sailed through the first year but I was not happy. I contacted the staff at SCHS for advice; with their support I moved from a Law based degree to a Medical based degree without great difficulty. I am now a student Midwife at City University London.

I managed the applications to both degree courses without too much difficulty, thanks to the fantastic support and advice I received from SCHS. Although I’d applied late for the Midwifery course, I was offered interviews and unconditional places within weeks of my application being sent. It was only when I started my Midwifery course that I realised how hard it was to get a place on the course. I have to thank SCHS for making the transition so easy.

The Sixth Form at SCHS provides a learning environment with limitless boundaries and teaches you that you will achieve whatever you work for. Initially I found it hard to meet the levels of self-discipline that are required for A level work, but with the support of the teachers and my peers I became motivated and carried on through my A-levels and my adult life with a firm grounding and the ability to learn outside and beyond what I am taught in class.

Besides the valuable life skills and academic grounding that SCHS gave me, I made genuine lifelong friends which I treasure. Girls I never thought I’d talk to in Year 7 became some of my closest friends in the Sixth Form. At the end of A-levels I got engaged and the whole of my year – and my teachers - celebrated with me. So beyond the books and beyond the work, SCHS Sixth Form set me up with friendships for life and a sisterhood that is truly inestimable.  Even today our year group continues to meet up for reunions; it feels just like yesterday that we were all together in the common room! 


"The trauma of UCAS was surrounded with extensive support and a guiding hand whenever it was needed" 

‘First Year. Law. Durham’. These three statements quickly began to represent the limited questions asked of me during fresher’s week. For so long I had associated myself with Streatham; proudly labelling myself as a ‘Streatham girl’, and I felt myself unwillingly separated from this comfort zone. One year on, I have come to realise that I have never stopped being a ‘Streatham girl’. My time at SCHS was not a finite experience; the things that Streatham allowed me to experience, as well as the people that I met, have stayed with me. I have no doubt that being a ‘Streatham girl’ was the very thing that has allowed me to become a ‘Durham girl’. 

I never felt as though I was being coached to get into university. The mentor system in Sixth Form and the program of speakers who came to talk to us had much subtler ways of giving us an insight into what to expect. Sixth Form was not simply a transitional period between the lower school and University; it was an experience within itself. I was given once in a lifetime opportunities; from travelling to China with the GDST to taking part in breaking a world record, I never had a dull moment. Similarly, the trauma of UCAS was surrounded with extensive support and a guiding hand whenever it was needed and yet I never felt hounded into ‘ticking the boxes’ in order to get a place at University.

Whilst the prospect of University was undoubtedly daunting, because of my time at Streatham it never seemed impossible. The opportunities and encouragement in Sixth Form to organise my own timetable and free-periods were complemented by being shown how to find a balance between working hard and playing hard. This has helped me to handle the copious amounts of seemingly free time my university timetable now affords me. With only six hours of lectures a week it could be tempting to become lethargic and underestimate the amount of private study that’s required. A key aid in structuring my day is the fervour with which I have thrown myself into societies and clubs such as the Mooting Society, Wine, Dine and Debate Society and the Law Society and the demands they have on my time. I feel certain it is easier to pick up extra-curricular activities as Streatham had always encouraged me to get involved with every aspect of school life. 

Happily, this has also meant that I met a lot of people very quickly. Certainly Streatham’s ethos of interaction between years, and not pigeon-holing the type of student they admit, meant that I found it easier to relate to people from all walks of life. I found my future housemates quickly and felt at home in the community atmosphere created by the Durham collegiate system. 

I will always reminisce nostalgically about my time spent at SCHS, in particular recalling the fun I had in Sixth Form. I have no regrets; the friends I made, I made for life and the wisdom of the staff will never be forgotten.


SCHS Pupil 2001-2008

"When I started German in Year 7, I liked it but I never thought I would take it so far. Thanks to the great teaching and experience I have had, I now understand the importance of languages and how vital it is to take them as far as you can."

I did my A-Levels at SCHS in German (A), English Literature/Language (A) and Geography (B). I was also Head Girl, alongside Rhiannon Atkins. In Year 13 I applied to Exeter University to read English and German (although I subsequently changed course to German only), but decided to take a Gap Year working as an au pair in Germany. I went to live in Regensburg, working for a family with five children for the year. It was challenging at first and quite daunting not only being away from home for the first time but also living in a different country! However by the end of the year I found it very difficult to leave and am still in regular contact with the family. It was a great year and had a huge impact on my German, which I particularly noticed when I started my course at Exeter; I realized (in the least arrogant way possible!)how much more I knew than the people who had come straight from school. 

Having spoken to Mrs Wilkinson, Head of German at SCHS, I am hoping to be in contact with some of the Year 10 German students to tell them about life in Germany and maybe partner them up with some students of English in the German school.

Last summer, having saved up in First Year, I went travelling for two months to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, and this summer, having saved up in Second Year, I spent two months in Indonesia. Both trips were really amazing and it was great to see such different cultures, and to try all the delicious food! I am now preparing everything for my Year Abroad, where I will be working in a German School as an English Language Assistant. This is part of my degree. In addition, having spoken to Mrs Wilkinson, Head of German at SCHS, I am hoping to be in contact with some of the Year 10 German students to tell them about life in Germany and maybe partner them up with some students of English in the German school. This is called the EXE-change scheme, which is run by Exeter University. It is not compulsory to take part but I wanted to take advantage of the possible contact with SCHS.

When I started German in Year 7, I liked it but I never thought I would take it so far. Thanks to the great teaching and experience I have had, I now understand the importance of languages and how vital it is to take them as far as you can - knowing another language opens so many windows to so many other opportunities, both in England and abroad. It sounds cheesy but it's so true! 


SCHS Pupil 2001-2008

“The staff immediately picked up on my individual skill and passion – sport - and allowed me to develop it.”

At SCHS, I studied English Literature, Mathematics and Physical Education for A Levels, as well as Latin for my AS Level. Even whilst I was completing my education, I was never quite sure what field of study I wanted to go into at university level or what profession I wanted to undertake. It was talks with my teachers and the excellent personal support that the school provides that enabled me to make my decision

My time at SCHS was an interesting one, to say the least. When I first joined the school in 2001, I was not the most attentive of students, but my passion was sport! This is one of the reasons why the relatively small size of the school was so important for me; the staff immediately picked up on my individual skill and passion and allowed me to develop it.

From Year 8 onwards, I was heavily involved in teams across a variety of sports ranging from football to athletics. I was given a position of responsibility every year, culminating in being made Games Captain in 2006/7. This was a role I felt deeply honoured to be given. A personal highlight of my time as game captain was leading our Rounders team in the annual Trust tournament. Although we did not win, a number of girls (including myself) were scouted for a regional team and given the opportunity to trial for the national team. At university, I continued to participate in sport, captaining my college basketball team and playing basketball for the university first team, which this year, was the most successful BUCS team at York.

My decision to stay at SCHS to do my A levels was an easy one. Not only would I be working with staff I was familiar and comfortable with and who were excellent in their respective fields, but we were also given the chance to contribute such a lot to the school. The main reason for my wanting to stay was how the teachers treated Sixth Formers. They recognised that we were no longer children but that we still required their guidance and gave us respect.

My time at the school gave me many valuable life lessons, especially teaching me the importance of structure and routine. 

One of the reasons I undertook my undergraduate degree at The University of York was that it reminded me of SCHS. Being such a small (but elite) university added an intimate feel to the environment that I didn’t experience at any other university that I visited. Undergraduate life helped me develop skills that I learnt at SCHS such as teamwork and leadership. I have just graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Accounting, Business Finance and Management and am about to begin an MA in Human Resources Management. In July 2011, I undertook an international Internship in a global investment bank. In a few years, I hope to complete my CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) qualification or an MBA specialising in Financial Risk. 


SCHS Pupil 1994-2008

"The tight-knit community and camaraderie that were fostered in the Sixth Form were my favourite things about my time at SCHS.  Small form size also proved advantageous when it came to UCAS because we were each given so much individual attention and help with our University applications."

I have just graduated with a 2.1 in Anthropology from Durham University and in October 2011, after a month of travelling in the US, I start on a training contract at KPMG (one of the 'Big Four' financial services firms) in Canary Wharf. To get a job nowadays you need to be able to pass interviews that consist largely of ‘competency questions’, e.g. ‘when have you been a leader?’ or ‘tell us a time when you have dealt with conflict within your team’. Having strong academic results alone will not get you through this; your extra-curricular experiences will. It was the extra-curricular opportunities at SCHS where I could do the Duke of Edinburgh Award and take part in activities such as the Model United Nations Conference that were a factor in my deciding to stay on at Streatham for Sixth Form and I now appreciate these more and more. I am certain that it was these activities, my sporting resume, and the positions of responsibility I’ve held that enabled me to succeed in getting a job in Canary Wharf in an exceedingly competitive job market.

It was the extra-curricular opportunities at SCHS where I could do the Duke of Edinburgh Award and take part in activities such as the Model United Nations Conference that were a factor in my deciding to stay on at Streatham for Sixth Form and I now appreciate these more and more.

The activities I took part in at school gave me confidence to play an active part in University life. I played rugby for the University and football, cricket, and badminton for my college; my sporting commitments culminated in my being named 'Sportswoman of the Year' by the college. I was also a member of my college's Finance Committee in my second year, which supports the Treasurer in the financial management of the JCR. 


SCHS Pupil 1997-2008

“There are so many decisions I had to make during the Sixth Form and one key reason I feel I am now in the right place was the fact I stayed on at SCHS.”

At the time that I was taking my GCSEs, it was fashionable to move schools for the Sixth Form in order to try something different and to meet new people. What many didn´t realise at the time was that once your two final years of school are over that is exactly what you have to do- make new friends, meet new people and start afresh with a completely different lifestyle; be it university, work, or moving away from home. In effect if you move at Sixth Form, you have to face not only the stress of exams, but also the challenge of forming new friendships only to repeat that process a few years later. There are so many decisions I had to make during Sixth Form and the main reason I feel I am now in the right place is the fact that I stayed on at SCHS. The teachers knew me, could give me honest advice, and my friends whom I had known since Beanie Babies were in fashion were there to lighten the work load!

SCHS is a small, familiar community, and that is a valuable thing when everything else seems so alien. The process of filling out UCAS forms and writing personal statements for courses or jobs that you have no real idea you are going to like was helped by the fact we were all doing it together in Year 13, and our teachers had done it a hundred times over.

I chose to go to Bristol University and am now writing this piece from the tropical island of Florianópolis in Brazil. As part of my year abroad studying modern languages I am spending sixth months in a fantastic new environment, speaking a completely different language and making new Brazilian friends.  This has been a far bigger step for me than moving to a new Sixth Form college would have been, and I can honestly say that my time at SCHS gave me all the skills for coping with the change. My next stop is Buenos Aires and then back to finish what has been a brilliant degree!

Luci is currently in Brazil studying Journalism as part of a Spanish and Portuguese degree at the University of Bristol.


"Teachers in the Sixth Form train you to become independent, confident and organised, skills important for life and not just university".

Having been a part of SCHS since the age of 11, the time finally came to decide whether or not to stay for Sixth Form. Was it time for a change? Had I been there too long? Would a different Sixth Form be better? Trying to make a decision was mind-boggling; every question was met by another and I knew I had to make a choice and stick to it.

I stayed. And it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. Aside from the usual A-levels and endless studying, Sixth Form is a period in every student’s life where they learn to make the transition from secondary school to university. Without the support and teaching I had at SCHS, I realised I wouldn't have settled in as easily as I did at George’s. I became accustomed to everything from day one as opposed to some students who took weeks to settle in. 

Every student’s interests are catered for. Whether it is being part of the Head Girl Team or becoming Sports Captain, there is always a role to fill (even though there is a lot of competition!). Learning becomes more independent and, near the end of Year 13, the system is similar to that you would expect at university.

One of the main goals of every Sixth Form is to help students choose the right course to study and the right university for them. Although it sounds like a hard task, the support system at SCHS knows exactly how to help students feel at ease while doing this. Meetings are held with students to discuss the range of universities and course choices and thereafter each student is allocated a personal tutor to liaise with regarding the UCAS process and to discuss any other problems they may have.

Putting studies aside, the Sixth Form has a range of facilities such as a common room, kitchen and even a garden area with a pond, all of which provide a relaxation area to cope with the stresses of A-levels.

As well as all this, the main reason I decided to stay was because I knew that I was in safe hands with teachers with a wealth of experience and years of knowledge. 


SCHS Pupil 1999-2006

“I applied for a Business Management course having enjoyed Business Studies classes so much at SCHS”

In August 2006 I received my results for A-levels in Business Studies, Geography and Maths. I didn’t quite make the grades for my conditional University places but knew that I would be happy at any University on a Business Management course, having enjoyed Business Studies classes so much as SCHS. So, with a huge amount of support from the staff at SCHS, especially at such a nerve-racking time, I started the process of going through clearing. After many hours on the internet and nervously making calls from a room just off the Sixth Form common room, I had a number of invitations for University interviews all around the country.

As soon as I drove onto the campus at University of Southampton I knew it could be somewhere I could call home, but first I had to get through an interview with the Undergraduate Admissions Tutor from the School of Management! The University already knew my grades, so the interview was more about my enthusiasm for their BSc Management course and how I had prepared myself for it. Without a doubt, the various extra-curricular activities I did at SCHS helped the tutors decide to offer me a place, particularly the leadership skills I’d developed from being St. Andrew’s House Captain, tutoring the Year 7 dance club in my lunchtimes and completing Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. Just goes to show- grades are important but make sure you’ve got some relevant extra-curricular activities to make you stand out from the crowd!

After throwing myself academically and socially into University life- holding positions including Course Rep, President of the Management Society and Social Secretary of Bencraft Halls, I graduated with a BSc (Hons) Management (2.1). In such troubled financial times, I decided to jump straight into the job market, even though many of my friends decided to go travelling.

After a stressful four months of looking, I got accepted onto the Graduate Trainee Scheme at a marketing agency based in Richmond. At the end of 2009, I was offered the role of Digital Marketing Executive working on a number of clients. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work on award-winning digital marketing campaigns (mainly emails, websites, social media and display advertising), been promoted, put on a performance based fast-track programme to become an Account Manager and recently achieved the promotion to Digital Account Manager. This March, I was recognised as one of the UK marketing industry’s rising stars as the youngest winner of Promotional Marketing’s 30 under 30, definitely my career highlight to date.

Without the continual support from friends, teachers and staff at SCHS, I wouldn’t be the confident and driven young woman I am today. I still live in South London, meet up with lifelong friends I first met at SCHS and will always have such great memories of SCHS, even though I left five years ago.

Although I’m usually too busy at work to keep it up to date- you can see what I’ve been up to on my blog -


SCHS Pupil 1999-2006

“When you challenge yourself, you feel so much more confident about your abilities.”

After studying English Language and Literature, German and French at A-Level, I went on to study German and Spanish (for beginners) at Durham University. Studying foreign languages at university was one of the best decisions I ever made. My course was really varied which was a big plus for me- not only did I learn the languages themselves, but I also learnt to translate and I learnt about foreign history, culture and literature.

For me, the highlight of studying languages at university was the compulsory year abroad where you have the opportunity to study or work abroad in order to improve your language skills. I spent five months doing a university placement in Cologne in Germany, where I also taught English part-time, and then five months in Barcelona in Spain doing the same thing. Living abroad gave me a whole new level of independence and confidence and was an incredible experience I will never forget. Working and studying in Cologne and Barcelona made it easier for me to make German and Spanish friends and with practice; I became almost fluent in the languages.

I graduated from Durham in June 2010 and I then worked for several months and saved up to go and live abroad again. I have been living in Berlin for the last five months and I am currently doing a work placement in the advertising department for a German media agency. I love living in Berlin as it’s such an exciting, creative and vibrant city and I can build on the German language skills I already have.

I would never imagine living in a foreign country while still at school because the thought would have terrified me! While it’s natural to feel a bit nervous initially about living abroad, you settle into your new life and meet new and interesting people and it’s a really exciting experience.

If I could give advice to the girls at Streatham, especially girls in Sixth Form, I would encourage them to look into summer language courses in Europe and perhaps even consider the option of studying or working abroad in the future.

I also think it’s important to challenge yourself every so often- at school or university or even in life in general. If you think something seems scary, like taking part in a public speaking competition or something along those lines, give it a go anyway. When you challenge yourself, you feel so much more confident about your abilities. 


SCHS Pupil 1998-2005

"Throughout those vulnerable teenage years SCHS provided me with a secure environment not only for academic and physical training, but also for personal development".

People say that your school days are your best days; I can certainly say that my seven years at SCHS are some of the most memorable in my life. Throughout those vulnerable teenage years SCHS provided me with a secure environment not only for academic and physical training, but also for personal development. Looking back, I realise how well that environment prepared me for the uncertain path ahead. 

Making choices has never been my strong point; that’s why I opted for the broad-ranging Natural Sciences MSci at UCL. Somehow or other I ended up specialising in Medical Physics; I am now in the second year of my PhD and my research involves measuring blood flow through tumours using a novel technique called Photoacoustics. I have flown twice to San Francisco to present the results of my work at an International Conference. It is exciting to have reached this point, but I still look back with gratitude to my time at SCHS. 

There are three things about SCHS that I hope will never change; the first is discipline. I wasn’t exactly the sort of girl to run riot, but I still feel I benefited from the rigorous rules, deadlines and timetables: basic organisation skills such as turning up prepared and on time are invaluable in all walks of life. The school nurtured a hardworking ethos that I think has stayed with me ever since. It wasn’t just about reaching the top – it was how we got there: effort was graded as well as attainment. Throughout school, university, work and home life I have found that self discipline and motivation is usually the key to success; SCHS certainly trained us to work hard and pull our weight. 

Another thing I will always be grateful for is the wealth of opportunities offered at SCHS. We didn’t just work hard within the curriculum; we were encouraged to participate in as many extra-curricular activities as possible. My lunchtimes were spent running science clubs, playing netball, playing in orchestra, singing in choir, sewing...Other opportunities included helping out at the Junior School and participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. In the Sixth Form every girl took the Community Sports Leaders’ Award, which was an excellent opportunity to develop confidence; in addition we were each expected to take on an extra level of responsibility within the school, whether it was lunchtime duty or roles such as subject prefect or deputy head girl. My position in the head girl team did a huge amount to boost my public speaking and leadership skills. This has encouraged me to broaden my experience at UCL: teaching sign language, running volunteering projects, representing my peers at staff-student committee.

Probably the thing I loved most about SCHS was the personal care: our needs were catered for on an individual basis. During GCSE years each girl was allocated a personal tutor, and similarly in the Sixth Form. Those tutorials were important in helping me to make and meet targets, and decide my future directions. The support I received at SCHS not only helped me settle into UCL, it has also inspired me to help out in various tutoring, mentoring and student buddy schemes: I hope that in some small way I can do for others what SCHS did for me.


"The most important skill Sixth Form at SCHS helped me to develop was independent learning".

Mariana left in 2004 to study Medicine at University College London and is now working as a junior doctor in North London.

Having stayed at SCHS throughout secondary school meant that when I started the Sixth Form, I had continuity of teachers and school life in general. It also meant that I did not have to adjust to a new system. I could begin this new chapter with friends I already had and teachers I already knew and who knew me, my strengths and weaknesses and were therefore able to help me achieve my full potential. Studying in the Sixth Form really helped me prepare for university and working life. Obviously a huge asset was the academic side; without the support and guidance of fantastic teachers, small groups to study in and impressive facilities, I would not have achieved the grades I needed in order to study medicine.  The careers department gave me invaluable advice regarding the necessary A level, personal statements and desirable assets I should develop in order to succeed in my University application.

The most important skill Sixth Form at SCHS helped me to develop was independent learning; teachers encouraged self-learning, designed projects, presentations and workshops, from basic but crucial ones such as note taking to the more complex team building training days.

I also had many non academic opportunities that gave me a foundation on which to build in later years. I was encouraged to run a Science Club during Sixth Form which helped me in developing my teaching, organisation and administrative skills. I have put this to use throughout my academic career so far, setting up a South American Society at University and also teaching medical students.

I am truly thankful for everything the Sixth Form gave me; for the fun I had, for the opportunities I was given, for the teachers that treated me as an equal and took a genuine interest in my education and for the help I was given to guide me in the direction I wanted to go.  


SCHS Pupil 1976-1986

“I have only fond memories of my time at Streatham and what a lovely carefree time that was compared with the big world outside."

On the inside I still feel like the young girl wearing that olive green uniform running up and down that amazing number of stairs to get to and from classes.

After I arrived at SCHS, my three younger sisters also joined. Two of of us became dental surgeons,  both of us graduating with an Honours degree from King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry; we are both currently running successful dental practices .My other two sisters who were at SCHS graduated from Queen Mary’s, specialising in optometry and both are running their own respective optical practices in London .

My parents are very proud and always give a huge amount of credit to the solid base given to us four sisters by the wonderful teachers at Streatham. If we had not been given the opportunity to attend such a school, I'm sure we would not have been able to secure places at good universities.

I honestly never ever imagined I'd see the day that my own daughter may become a pupil herself at my old school; the thought of her running around in the uniform I once wore puts a smile on my face.

If there is one thing I have learnt in life, it is that the good education you receive from your early years through to the time you are ready to enter university markedly shapes your personality. For that I am always grateful to my parents for sending me to Streatham & Clapham High School. It was the best gift they could have ever given us girls and that's exactly what we as parents now are trying to do for our children.  


SCHS Pupil 1960-1968

"Mrs Jan Angerstein, DT teacher at Streatham & Clapham High School, retired in 2010 after an association of fifty years with SCHS."

Jan Angerstein, DT teacher, retired in the summer of 2010, leaving the school she joined as a pupil in 1960. When her family moved to London from Winchester, she joined Streatham Hill and Clapham High School Junior Department, then situated in Palace Road. She describes herself as a “real country bumpkin” and was very nervous at her interview, but was made to feel welcome by the Head, Miss Simmons. She took the entrance exam to the Senior Department, then based at Wavertree Road, now the school’s Junior Department. It boasted a two-storey gym; the top floor was later turned into a spacious Art Studio. The Head, Miss Macaulay, had a reputation for being very severe; discipline was strictly enforced, the Maths teacher shouted a lot, and the girls had to move around the school in complete silence. Detentions were handed out for talking!

Jan’s love of cookery and dressmaking began in lessons at SCHS. The curriculum was different; every girl learnt French, some took German, and there was no IT. Girls in the Sixth Form wore uniform, grey skirts, blouses and a boater. (When girls left the tradition was to “plant” the boaters on the poles outside the school building, but Jan could not bring herself to part with hers!) Jan left after the Sixth Form and trained as a cookery and dressmaking teacher in Bath, but returned to Streatham again after she got married as her mother still lived in the area. She happened to see an advertisement for a teaching post at SCHS Senior Department, and came back to teach. The Headmistress was her old Head, Miss Wulff, and five or six of the staff who had taught her were now her colleagues, which she says she found a little strange to start with!

This was the start of a long association with the school which spanned half a century with only a couple of short breaks for child raising and an office job. Jan was a Domestic Science teacher and a DT teacher, re-training in woodwork, electronics, and pottery. She was an excellent cook – her cakes are legendary – and was renowned for the fantastic costumes she made for school productions (her favourite was the exotic Arabian Nights, although she remembers having to make 25 period costumes with corsets and bustles for one production!). She was delighted to see some of the costumes she made many years ago reappearing at the Year 8 Shakespeare Festival.

Jan had so many memories to take with her – the Centenary celebration at Westminster Abbey in 1987 for which she made a banner which was carried up the aisle by the procession, and the Albert Hall celebration in 1997. She taught five daughters of past pupils, but says she is glad not to be around to teach the granddaughters!

Jan retired to enjoy her hobbies; she has built a model four storey Georgian dolls’ house, and is intending to light it with candles (100 bulbs required!); embroider carpets (needlework!); make furniture (needlework and woodwork!) and bake some miniature cakes (cooking!). 

Dee Dee

SCHS Pupil 2001-2008

“Above all, SCHS taught me that if you grab all opportunities, work hard, and follow your heart you will succeed. I have proved that.”

I spent seven joyful and challenging years at SCHS. The teachers were the most incredible people. Looking back, they were all so supportive and generous with their time and help. I knew from the start that I was an unusual child. My verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests were off the scale but I was totally hampered by what was revealed in Year 8 as dyslexia. The teachers went out of their way to help me develop coping methods, as I knew the information but did not understand the written question and could not explain myself in writing. I became very proficient at Maths. I ended up doing my statistics GCSE a year early. I was chosen by the school to do a 10-week Masters’ Maths Class with maths students from other top schools.

I achieved a B grade average at GSCE. In the Sixth Form I studied subjects I enjoyed – Physiology, by distance learning, in which I obtained a D grade, Physical Education (C grade) and, my favourite, Drama (B grade). I was hampered by my dyslexia but received an unconditional offer from the prestigious East 15 Acting School and could therefore study for the final summer exams without feeling stressed. I also threw myself into extra-curricular activities. I was school stage manager, assisted in sport and drama lessons and clubs, and was head of the school counselling team. I think this taught me more about life than any exams.

I graduated from East 15 after three years of exceptional fun and hard work. I was at university for an average of 50 hours a week of contact time (compared with the normal eight hours at most universities) and had essays to write on top of this. I now have a BA Hons in World Performance (2:1).

After graduating I knew I did not want to be an actor and was offered an internship at a top personal management company almost immediately. Within a couple of months I was promoted to agent assistant, then to full agent and I am now an associate agent within a year of joining the company. I have worked for some of the biggest companies within the entertainment industry, including BBC, ITV and Sky, and have been invited to attend Surviving Actors as a special guest lecturer. More recently I have been unanimously elected to the EABF executive committee. This is the charity behind the Royal Variety Performance and the Head is HRH Queen Elizabeth. I am the youngest member and have already been invited as guest of honour to many functions as a representative. (This has not quite sunk in yet; there are many members who are knighted or have an OBE or MBE. I can't believe that people invite me!) The future holds the opening of an entertainment theatre venue in 2014, carrying on my charity work and, I hope, becoming an executive agent by end of year. I have started a Masters, and hope to develop further as a fair boss, increasing the team of people I employ. The sky is the limit!

This all seems a long way from the ethnic minority kid from a council house, dressed from head to toe in green, who first arrived at SCHS from a primary school where physical violence was commonplace. I owe so much to the teachers who were amazing and without whom I would not be where I am today. They taught me the basics of everything. A special mention should also go to the careers department which, as I gather from my contemporaries, stands head and shoulders above those in other schools. Their advice was invaluable. Thank you to everyone who helped me in my continuing journey.

Aiden Bungey

Meet Aidan Bungey (Class of 2015) who is studying Aeronautical Engineering with Pilot Studies and is hoping one day to fly you away on your holidays!


I am in my second year of a four year MEng degree in Aerospace Engineering and Pilot Studies at Liverpool University. My course involves every aspect of design, development, manufacturing and operation in aerospace engineering and it’s interdisciplinary so I study alongside students of other engineering courses. The Pilot Studies part of my course requires me to complete 20 hours of flight training in my first year.


Flying a plane is amazing. My pilot training is what’s kept me going during my first year at university and I’ve loved every minute of it. I have to go to Liverpool John Lennon Airport at 5am every Saturday and learn everything to do with flying a plane – pre-flight checks, plotting our course, checking the wind charts and air pressure and so on – before my instructor and I climb into the PA 38 Tomahawk, which is a two person aircraft.

It’s an expensive business though. The 20 hours of flight time is a course requirement and is an additional £3,500, and that’s including a student discount!


I would love to train to be a commercial pilot. I first need to complete a further 25 hours of flying to get my private pilot’s license (45 hours in total) and when I graduate I would then like to apply to an airline such as BA to train to be a commercial pilot.

I also still harbour dreams of becoming an actress, and I remain incredibly jealous of students at my university who do Drama, but I love engineering too much and wouldn’t give it up for the life of me!


I’ve always enjoyed Drama and Maths. My brother is very academic so we were always doing maths at home, and I guess part of me wanted to compete with him. I also really loved DT with Mrs Elton and she encouraged me to do it for GCSE.

I first considered engineering as a career when I had the opportunity to go to the US on a week-long engineering scholarship, and I really loved it – particularly the challenge of it all. I was at a crossroads – would I go down the Drama route or engineering? I have to say the DT department definitely helped and encouraged me. I was set on doing Chemistry, DT, Maths and Drama for A-level but unfortunately all my choices clashed so I ended up choosing Maths, Physics, Further Maths and, for a complete change, English Literature.

Physics A-level was just me and one other girl, Heydi Puertas Agudelo, who I’ve known since year 7, and she’s also at Liverpool doing engineering. I received such support and encouragement from my teachers, which really reassured me in my subject choices. My mum is from Australia where you get to study a broader range of subjects, so she was always of the opinion that, under the British system, you needed to choose the path that would open the most doors for you in later life, and that is also what inspired me to study an engineering degree as there’s so many options available to you.

I chose this particular course because it combines the theory with the practical elements. Rather like in DT, I get to make things and that’s what I really enjoy.


There’s around 400 students doing engineering – and the most popular among women would be civil engineering, then mechanical. I think there’s only  a handful of us doing aerospace, and only four doing pilot studies… but I don’t really pay much attention to it. As a girl you’re told that engineering is full of boys, but if you let that bother you, particularly coming from an all-girls school, then it’s pointless. I don’t see boy or girl, just another engineer. Either ‘we’re all in it together’ or ‘everyone is my competition’, regardless of gender. If you’re going to take a subject where it’s predominantly one thing, then you just have to ignore that fact and be the best that you can be.


I would say definitely give it your full consideration. Once you’re in it you realise it’s not just for men, it’s not as hard as you think it will be and there are so many opportunities. It’s such a broad sector and impacts on every aspect of our lives so there is literally something for everyone.

*If you would like to be featured or would like to suggest an alumna who we could approach please get in touch with Mr Chris Conneely, Development Director

Lauren Windle

This month we meet journalist Lauren Windle (Class of 2004) who shared invaluable careers advice with current pupils at our recent networking event.

• Tell us about your current role and what the job entails

I am a Features writer for The Sun Online and Fabulous Magazine (The Sun On Sunday's glossy mag). It basically involves taking cues from the news and popular culture and putting together articles we think our readers would be interested in. Sometimes those are designed to inform or provoke thought and sometimes we just want to entertain and make people laugh.

With the focus online being increasingly directed towards video content, more recently I've been presenting and producing viral videos for our social media and online articles.

The fun of being a features writer is that you can literally write about anything!

• Describe some of the key roles you’ve held in the past and how they have helped you in securing your current position

After my degree I went straight into the hospitality sector. I was initially the assistant to the head of events and marketing at a big London restaurant group. I worked my way up to help them set up a business development and sales department but even then I continued to write the marketing and promotional material as they liked my writing style. It was taking on this task that made me realise I wanted to be a writer.

Aside from highlighting my passion for writing, I also learned some valuable life skills while working in restaurants. It was long hours and far less glamorous than people often assumed. Especially over Christmas, when the role was more of an endurance test than a job! 

• What do you think are the top three qualities/skills required to be successful in your field?

1. Creativity - As a journalist you trade in ideas. You need to be able to come up with original content for the paper on a daily basis. It's a huge challenge but manageable once you get in the swing of it.

2. Perseverance - You can send off ten incredible ideas in your morning pitch only for your editor to turn down all of them, but you can't take it personally and you can't get disheartened.

Sometimes that's because we recently covered something similar or - even though your ideas were good - someone else's were better that day. The worst thing you can do is get upset about it. You've just got to crack on and keep coming up with original content.

3. Excellence - This goes for all jobs but it's so important to take every task really seriously. Whether you're doing the tea round or going off to interview someone for the biggest scoop of the year, you need to be that person who always delivers what was asked of them. The people who moan and groan about doing the little jobs and then do them half-heartedly don't get very far.

• If you weren’t a journalist, what other career path might you have taken?

A friend of mine's mum works as a taster for Unilever, which involves sampling Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I think that's a job I could get on board with.

Genuinely though, I have never heard anyone describe their job and thought: "I would rather be doing that". My job is rewarding and challenging but so much fun and there are plenty of perks - I'm exactly where I want to be!

• What does it mean to you to be a Streatham & Clapham alumna?

The GDST alumnae network helped me out a lot when I decided to change careers, even organising for me to have some work experience with the BBC, where positions are like gold dust.

• How do you think your education at Streatham & Clapham prepared you for life after school?

High grades were expected at Streatham, and virtually everyone in my year got them. The school instilled a strong work ethic in my friends and me which has really carried us through to incredible jobs. Some of the most dedicated and hard working women I know are ones I met at SCHS!

• Tell us about any further/higher education that you undertook after you left school

After secondary school I went on to study Neuroscience at University of Sussex. I had always done well in sciences and I was fascinated by how the mind worked.

• What your interests and hobbies?

I don't know if it would count as a hobby but I also run a charity programme for people struggling with addiction. It's both the most rewarding and disheartening thing I've ever done.

Other than that I love to travel. I went to live in Paris while I was contemplating the career change from hospitality to journalism. It was the making of me. As a person who always heavily relies on their communication skills it was incredibly humbling to have that stripped from me and have to start learning a new language from scratch.

• Who inspires you?

This is an incredibly weird combination but the two people who inspire me most are The Queen and Russell Brand.

I am in awe of the Queen's sense of duty and, regardless of what you think of the monarchy, you can't fault her work ethic.

And Russell Brand because of the work he does to support those struggling with addiction. He's a polarising character and there's no way I agree with all his views, but after setting up this recovery course, I realised how few people are speaking about the realities of addiction. 

• What piece of advice would you give to a current pupil contemplating a career in journalism?

If you want to be a journalist you have to read. You have to consume all types of news from social media to broadcast and broadsheets to tabloids. But also read a wide range of books, fiction and non-fiction from various eras. Writers are the product of the reading they've done.


This month we meet Dr Jasmina Lijesevic (Class of 1993) who is living proof that, in her case at least, politics can almost be rocket science! Jasmina is a passionate advocate for women in public life and will be speaking to our students on February 6th, to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage.

  • Tell us about your current role and what the job entails

I am a political analyst, specialising in aerospace policy. This involves conducting political research, sometimes working on longer in-depth projects and sometimes providing immediate information. Every job I have is entirely different to the previous one. I have also worked on political campaigns, and most recently I have started to work with a political start-up organisation called More United. They work on a cross-party basis in Westminster and organised the largest political crowdfund in the UK.


  • Briefly describe some of the key roles you’ve held in the past and how they have helped you in securing your current role

I’ve had some fantastic roles over the years, but the one which will always stand out was working for the Airbus Group. I conducted political research for the space sector and got to work on programmes such as Cryosat environmental monitoring and the beginning of what is now the Copernicus earth observation programme. In addition, I gained a great deal of political experience on election campaigns when I worked as a campaign organiser for the Labour Party.


  • What do you think are the top three qualities/skills required to be successful in your role/field?

Determination, diligence, and the ability to make sound decisions.  It hasn’t always been easy, and there have been many times I have had to grit my teeth, persist, and muster up more self-belief and determination than I have thought possible.


  • What does it mean to you to be a Streatham & Clapham alumna?

It’s not only being part of a community of women who went to Streatham & Clapham, but also being part of the wider GDST network. Belonging to a group of such successful, brilliantly fierce women who continue to inspire and achieve so much is very special.


  • How do you think your education at Streatham & Clapham prepared you for life after school?

I’m convinced that my tenacity, resilience, and determination come from my school days. Having to deal with obstacles prepared me for working in challenging environments. Aerospace wasn’t a career that was considered common for women 25 years ago – it probably wasn’t something an awful lot of people considered then – so the opportunities available now just did not exist when I was at school.  Female MPs and women active in public life were also few in number.


  • Tell us about any further/higher education that you undertook after you left school


I read for my BA (Hons) in Politics and Contemporary History at Salford University. I chose Salford because of the high content on the degree of US-Russian relations and military history and intelligence. After I completed my degree, I went to Cranfield University to complete my MSc in Air Transport. After working for a few years, I then began my doctoral research at Swansea University. My PhD was specifically focused on US-Russian relations in space during the post-Cold War period. I conducted a case study of the role of the Shuttle-Mir programme in US foreign policy.


  • Who inspires you?

I’ve been lucky enough to meet several people who have continued to inspire me. It’s impossible to be uninspired when sat in a room with people who have flown in space several times. And it’s unbelievably humbling when they want to discuss your own research. When I was at school, I watched the first generation of female astronauts embark on their NASA careers; Sally Ride launched and was followed by over a dozen more women by the time I’d left Streatham. To be honest, I never thought at that point I’d ever work in the space industry, but I found what these women did completely amazing.


  • What piece of advice would you give to a current pupil contemplating a career in your sector?

As someone who works in politics, I would encourage all women to become politically active. I believe strongly that we need more women in public life. I have been lucky enough to combine my love of politics and aerospace, and the latter industry has endless career options. I have met women who have flown several times on the Space Shuttle and on the Russian Soyuz, and it never, ever gets boring going to NASA to conduct research. When I was at school some jobs weren’t available to women, but that’s not the case now. If you dream of flying a fast jet, or being an engineer on an A380 aircraft, want to design and develop the next generation of aerospace vehicles, or be the CEO of an airline, then this is absolutely possible.

Be determined, seek out opportunities, and get involved in extracurricular activities. Join professional organisations and become active as student members. Network. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and your abilities and enjoy all the experiences you have.

Politics can change lives, and you have the ability to help people, affect change, and work with some tremendously committed people. Aerospace is always progressing and it is an industry always at the cutting edge. It can be very exciting to be part of that.


EARLY YEARS OPEN MORNING Wednesday 18th April 9 am - 10.45 am PREP OPEN MORNING Friday 16th March 9 am - 10.45 am SENIOR OPEN MORNING Friday 9th March 9.15 am - 10.45 am