Maya Angelou author, poet and civil rights activist
“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.”
There are many ways you can get involved in the life of the school and current students love to hear and learn from the experience of alumnae. If you would be interested in coming to the school to talk about your career, or helping out with careers talks then we would love to hear from you.
Our former students have the most incredible range of careers – you’re educators, entertainers, doctors, authors, artists, architects, entrepreneurs, lawyers, musicians, academics. You’re also parents, travellers, friends, partners. And you are all part of a community that makes the world brighter and better.
We’ve created this short form to capture some of this information and would really appreciate it if you could give us an update on your life.
We are grateful for each and every way that alumnae feel able to support their old school. Thank you.
Our Year 6 pupils in Prep had the wonderful opportunity to engage with a member of our alumni community, Chief Superintendent Rachel Carr. During her visit, Rachel shared valuable insights about her career in law enforcement and the important role it plays in our society.
The session was not only informative but also resonated deeply with our school’s values of being Bold & Kind. We are very grateful to Rachel for taking the time to inspire our young learners with her experiences and wisdom.
The girls were so captivated by the discussion that they eagerly requested Rachel to return for another visit. They’ve also asked if the next session could include doughnuts – Rachel will know why! We look forward to welcoming Rachel back.
“This session gave us a real insight into what it is like to be a police officer, and how brave Rachel had to be when doing this job! We were really impressed by her and her story, and we hope we’ll see her again soon!” Ella, 6L
Members of the winning team from the GDST Women in Politics Day (see below) and two of the organisers of the event were guests of alumna the Rt Hon the Baroness Northover at the House of Lords. Better known to her former classmates and teachers as Lindsay Granshaw, Class of 1972, students were thrilled to spend the afternoon at the Houses of Parliament – a write up of the day is below from one of the winning team. Thank you to all involved!
A Trip to the House of Lords
Charlie , 11 Grey
Three weeks ago today, I was not sitting on my bed trying desperately to complete my music coursework – such is the life of a year eleven with time management issues – but rather enjoying something significantly more exciting (not to suggest that trying to find adequate rhyming lyrics for a musical theatre song isn’t intellectually stimulating). Having spent a wonderful day the week before listening to speeches, writing manifestos, and generally having a lovely time with Wimbledon High and my fellow Brighton Girls Politics and Economics club members (shameless plug, it’s the best way you can spend a Friday lunchtime by far) at the GDST Women in Politics day, I – along with Jen Diab and Steph Gillespie-Bedford – had won the trip of a lifetime; a day at the House of Lords, as guests of the right honourable Baroness Northover. So, at 12.15, I excused myself from class, sent out a terribly apologetic email to Mr Walton (one can really only miss Chamber Choir so many times), and off we went.
The sky was unusually – and mercifully – clear for a November day, and as such the train ride and walk there was very pleasant. Conversation topics included Lord of the Flies, kidney dialysis, the history of medicine (any opportunity to revise; aren’t we great students!) and, most importantly, the day ahead. We knew the basics of the day; we would arrive, sit in on oral questions in the main chamber of the House of Lords, go on a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament, and have tea with the Baroness. Beyond that, though, it was a mystery.
Once we arrived in London – no train delays, so surely a Christmas miracle – we seemed to arrive beneath Big Ben all too quickly (I wasted no time reminding everyone on the trip that Big Ben is the bell, and the building is really called the Elizabeth Tower. I’m great at parties.) Until that moment, the visit – whilst clearly an incredible opportunity – had seemed more of a concept than a reality. But then, standing outside the Houses of Parliament, I was suddenly struck with quite how lucky I was. The oldest part of the building – Westminster Hall – was constructed in 1097, under William II (son of William the conqueror). I was entering a place with nearly a thousand years of history, the home of British democracy, and suddenly I felt rather overwhelmed, and very small. I’m a self-confident individual, so the feeling was alien to me, but I was horribly afraid that I simply wouldn’t belong.
At first, it seemed my worst fears had come true – we passed through security after arriving and I immediately had my scissors confiscated, which I had foolishly left in my bag from that morning’s lessons. Never have I been more embarrassed. Thankfully the ordeal was over very quickly, and we all passed through, where we met the Baroness. I admit I was a little concerned beforehand – what if my manners didn’t pass muster, or I said something inappropriate for the setting? But truly, I have never met anyone so kind, understanding, and genuinely funny. We all introduced ourselves and chatted about the journey up before heading through to outside the House of Lords’ main chamber. Every step of the way was awe-inspiring – the artwork, the architecture, even just those who work there going about their business prompted me to grab Jen’s shoulder and whisper to her about this or that. I could have stayed there for hours just taking it in. The idea that this was where laws were put forward, discussed, and passed – the very same laws that shape our nation – was incredible.
We gathered together outside the main chamber, along with other members of the public who had been invited to observe politics in action, and waited. The Baroness explained each step of the process to us all, as well as answering our (many) questions, and I felt reassured that I would not, in fact, commit some awful fois-pas and be escorted out of the building. After a few moments, an announcement was made, and a brief pre-business ceremony took place, involving prayers by the Bishop of London. Regular attendees of Politics and Economics club will be thrilled to hear that we did, in fact, encounter Black Rod in person! The Baroness moved to enter the chamber, and we were escorted upstairs to the viewing gallery.
The experience of sitting within the chamber was, I think, too spectacular to put into words. Later in the day I asked Baroness Northover if she ever got used to working in such an incredible place, and she replied that it’s only when people like us visit that she really becomes aware of the spectacle of it. The main chamber in the House of Lords is a magnificent room, full of ornate paintings and chandeliers, and that’s even without considering what takes place within it. We were only able to stay for the first 40 minutes of the proceedings, but discussions would continue to take place until 7pm that night (they began at 2.30, for context). These first 40 minutes were taken up by oral questions, involving issues such as the Windrush policy, HS2, COP28, and support to children affected by climate change and conflict in fragile states. This last point was of particular interest to me, considering how many girls’ educations are affected by such matters (which was a point raised in the meeting). I spent the time entirely enthralled by the discussions taking place, and was quite amazed when Ms Parsons told me that yes, we did in fact need to leave now.
Next on the list was a tour of the Houses of Parliament, on which we were guided by Baroness Northover. I fear using this phrase too much rather dilutes its meaning but, once again, I found the experience wholly awe inspiring. Regrettably, though understandably, we were not permitted to take many photos, although attached at the end is my photo of the Elizabeth Tower (or, I suppose, Big Ben) which was technically taken from within Westminster Hall – or at least, with one foot in it. We entered St. Mary’s undercroft chapel: a beautiful building in itself, made even more fascinating when the Baroness showed us the cupboard where Emily Davison hid on the 1911 census night to prove that women were, in fact, in Parliament. Though I’m unable to name a highlight of the trip – it was all far too amazing to pick one part – this was certainly up there.
After this, we continued on our tour, with the Baroness pointing out notable areas, paintings, and rooms, before proceeding to the House of Commons – keeping to one side of the hallway, as the Baroness instructed, as it has to stay clear in case a message needs to be passed between the two houses. I briefly considered the concept of emails, but considering that there were more pressing matters, quickly shelved the question. Compared to the House of Lords, it’s a little less grand, but I still spent plenty of time staring at walls, ceilings, et cetera, and we sat in the chamber there, too. In the many times I’ve sat watching Prime Minister’s Questions, I never expected to be in the very room on my screen – but it was, undoubtedly, a day of new experiences.
We returned to the House of Lords, and the day finished up with tea (I can thus confirm that our governments’ brand of choice is Twinings) as well as asking any questions we had of Baroness Northover. It was a far more relaxed atmosphere than I had feared, and the opportunity to talk to someone who works so closely to uphold democracy was amazing. I believe I speak for all members of the trip when I say we could easily have spent hours discussing the workings of the government, especially through the lens of a woman, and hearing how attending Brighton Girls had aided the Baroness’ growth made me appreciate even further how beneficial my school, and the GDST as a whole, really is.
Tea was cut short only by a hesitant reminder that we did, sadly, have a train home to catch, prompting a typical brisk walk to the station whilst Ms Parsons, reliable as ever, ensured we’d get home – unfortunately, our transport-related luck had run out and strikes led to us having to change at East Croydon. A small price to pay, I thought as we shivered in the late-autumn evening, testing each other on the dangers of kidney transplants, for one of the greatest opportunities I would ever have. The trip to the House of Lords was an incredible experience, and I can’t thank those who organised it, everyone who attended the GDST Women in Politics Day, Miss Baldwin, Mrs Findlay, Ms Parsons, and, of course, The Right Honourable Baroness Northover, enough.
We are thrilled to share the highlights of our recent GDST Women in Politics Day, where we had the pleasure of hosting esteemed guests: current parent Rebecca Bailham and alumnae Daisy Wright (aide to Peter Kyle MP) and Margaret Joachim MBE. The event was a resounding success, inspiring our students and those form our fellow GDST schools to consider the dynamic world of politics and related fields.
During the event, our speakers shared personal insights and experiences, emphasising the diverse paths one can take within the realm of politics. Whether it’s working as an aide to an MP, engaging in grassroots activism, or contributing to international organisations, the opportunities are vast. The message was clear – a career in politics is not confined to a single trajectory but rather an evolving journey shaped by passion, dedication, and a commitment to positive change.
Looking ahead, we encourage all students to continue to participate in our lunchtime speaker programmes. These sessions will bring professionals from various fields, including entrepreneurship, business, law, engineering, and more. It’s an excellent opportunity for students to explore a wide array of career possibilities, gain valuable insights, and consider their next steps beyond Brighton Girls!
We were delighted to welcome back Eleanor Hyland-Stanbrook, Class of 2015 for our Culture Vulture Talk in November. Eleanor left BHHS to go to Central St Martin College of Art and Design to do a BA (Hons) Graphic Design focused in Design Interaction from Central Saint Martins, followed by University of the Arts London and BFA Design, School of Visual Arts New York. After working as a designer and also freelance illustrator she set up her own design company in 2019. Creative Director at And-Now Studio, based in North London.
Eleanor is an experienced Creative with a demonstrated history of working cross-media in visual communication, skilled in Print and Digital Design, Illustration, Editorial Design, Printmaking, and Brand Strategy.
Eleanor talked to the students about her ‘design thinking’ sharing her process and planning with regards to her work and clients. She touched upon design being part of all of our everyday experiences and the process that go into planning how we interact with design.
Many thanks to Eleanor for taking the time to come in and talk to the students.
Current and recent alumnae under-graduates joined us in person and online to deliver a session on their Sixth Form and university experiences for our current Year 10 students in June. The students enjoyed two days of A Level taster lessons and a series of talks.
It was brilliant to have so many different areas. Special thanks to the following alumnae for their support.
Alex Dam 2019, Warwick, Maths
Marieta Goodband 2021, Birmingham, Liberal Arts and Sciences
Sophia Hussain 2019, Brunel, Financial Maths +Industry
Emily Kennard 2019, Sussex, Law with Criminology
Kalea Stagg 2019, Brunel, Physiotherapy
Molly Kronhamn 2022, York, PPE (Politics, Philosophy, Economics)
Eleanor Reynolds 2022, Guildhall, Production Arts
Marianne Scotland , Nottingham, Medicine
Yidan Chang 2018, King’s College London, Economics
Annalise Kelly 2018, Cambridge, Modern Medieval Languages followed by University of Law, Law
Eleanor Thomas 2018, Birmingham, Liberal Arts
Theodora Dowglass 2021, Durham, Computer Science
Ellie Mackechnie 2019, Manchester, Biosciences
Eleanor Briddock, Loughbourough College of Art, Art & Design
Zahra Batool 2019, Brighton, Medicine
Rebecca Linford 2017, Oxford, Law with European Law
We have enjoyed a few guest speakers and workshops over the term – and last Friday, 10 March, we heard from alumna Joanne Boyd (Class of 1999) who works with the beauty and merchandising with brands such as Versace as well as being a personal stylist. Joanne, who studied Fashion at the London College of Fashion talked to students about Sustainable Fashion, and also about her pathway into fashion from Brighton Girls.
Prep enjoyed a brilliant Science Week (Spring Term) – with particular thanks to Vet Lucinda Preston (Class of 2005), Engineer Andrea Catlow (Class of 1999), Associate Professor in Plant Molecular Genetics Juliet Coates (Class of 1992) and AI specialist Jennie Lees (Class of 2000). It has been wonderfully inspiring to have alumnae deliver all of the STEM talks – you are our heroes!