I joined Ribston Hall in 2006 after being one point away in the grammar school test from another grammar school in Gloucestershire. But that one point was a life changing event, as my experience at the school has contributed greatly to my journey after leaving sixth form in 2013.
Ribston manages to create an environment whereby students look forward to going into the classroom to learn and this is something which was achieved in my school time but continues through caring high quality teachers, great facilities and long-standing traditions which instil a touch of warmth and fun into education.
My years at Ribston were so enjoyable that I was passionate about becoming Head Girl, and this became a reality in my final year of Sixth Form which presented me with so many opportunities which would help me post-school: time-management, event organisation, public speaking and the ability to work as a team (just to name a few). You might think that adopting a demanding role during sixth form would take away from the importance of commitments inside the classroom, but the support of teachers for students in their final years meant that I left with two A* and two A grade A-Levels – opening up many opportunities.
I chose to go to university to follow my interest and passion for Marketing and began a degree in Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations at Worcester University. This is a sandwich degree which encourages students to partake in an industrial placement and, after a challenging recruitment process, I was successful in gaining a placement at Volkswagen Group UK Limited based at their head office in Milton Keynes.
During my 12 month paid placement with VW, I am working as a Marketing Communications Assistant for VW Commercial Vehicles. It sounds good, but what does that mean? It means a lot of things and involves an unusual amount of responsibility for a 20-year-old from such a huge organisation. My role involves supporting the Local Marketing Manager and National Communications Manager to ensure we provide VW Van Centres with the materials to be able to market their vans to their best potential and then ensuring we create capturing and creative advertising and marketing campaigns to help enhance the VW Commercial Vehicles brand on a national level. Three months in, I have organised Product Content videos which will soon be on social media as well as working on a partnership with The Telegraph, with much more to come.
The benefits of my placement are indisputable, but I would have been extremely unlikely to have got the role unless it was for the opportunities that Ribston presented me with, such as Head Girl, but also the high-quality teaching which fostered my learning and extra-curricular activities such as Debating Matters and the opportunity to write regularly for The Citizen.
I look forward to the opportunities after Volkswagen and university but I will certainly always remember my true “Ribston Spirit” roots.
I'd been wearing green and yellow at Ribston Hall for five years before I entered Sixth Form, feeling slightly reluctant because at the time I felt like a change of school scenery. In hindsight, staying at Ribston was definitely the best decision! The Sixth Form didn't only support me academically and encourage my plans for the future; it importantly gave me a lot of fun and shaped us into (more or less!) well-rounded young adults. I am currently a music finalist at Jesus College, Oxford and am considering continuing my research into applied music psychology in Nursing Homes next year. Continuing the pattern set at Ribston Hall, however, I'm involved in more than just academia: have just spent two months teaching music in India and am recording a C.D. with Alistair Anderson.
The grades from Ribston Hall speak for themselves - it is possible to achieve here and I am very grateful for the tremendous about of effort my teachers spent on our education! The best teachers are those who love their subject and I was fortunate to be taught by teachers like that.
Sixth Form passes so quickly and you are barely half-way through when you start looking at where to go next! Ribston Hall supported me wonderfully through my applications to music colleges and university. Though I was sure I could never go to Oxford University, the encouragement, pushing and nagging of a few diligent teachers persuaded me to at least go to an open day there. One thing led to another and before I knew what was happening I had proved them right, had the grades I needed and was enrolling somewhere I never imagined possible!
Sixth Form was, more importantly, a lot of fun. At Ribston Hall, academics did not prevent fun and challenging opportunities which developed those necessary life-skills and love of life. So many memories spring to mind to exemplify this - forgive me if I sound sentimental! I was shot at with paint-ball guns, forced to find and use my singing voice (something I will be forever grateful for!), given a Year 7 choir to run, put on stage with my peers in fancy dress to entertain the whole school . . . . the list is endless. The school's friendly and helpful atmosphere was more important than the A grades on results day.
The award for the Gloucestershire Apprentice of the Year went to Roseanna Meek (Ribston Hall 2004-2011), now of EDF Energy in Barnwood, who also won the Outstanding Apprentice, Financial and Business Services title.
Roseanna has supported all the functions within the supply chain department and was described as an outstanding professional "beyond her years", mentoring other apprentices and the first to volunteer for charitable activities. "It was a surprise and also a great honour to win two awards like this," said Roseanna."I think young people should go for it and try to get themselves onto an apprenticeship. The best part of it is you can learn while being at work."
Since leaving Ribston Hall in 2011 with A grades in Advanced Level Politics, History and English Literature, Bronwen has recently completed the second year of her degree in Law & Politics at Queen Mary University of London.
In addition to her studies, Bronwen has completed the Undergraduate Parliamentor Programme, winner of the UN Award for Intercultural Innovation, a leadership development programme designed to equip aspiring leaders with experiences and networks they need to advance their careers.
The programme through which she was mentored by Steve McCabe MP has enabled Bronwen to create her own social action campaign funded by a charity entitled 'Generation Aspire'. (Link opens in new window)
She is also currently working as a Social Policy Activist for the BB Group, on campaigns such Beat Bullying which is an international bullying prevention charity working and campaigning to make bullying unacceptable, in the UK and Europe. Bronwen’s role involves increasing the number of influential figures and organisations who support the BB Groups mission and its campaigns, working to influence national policy by contacting and meeting MPs and other influential individuals.
Here she is being awarded her Parliamentor Graduation prize from Baroness Sayeeda Wars