About Victoria

Director at Guide to independent Schools Ltd

Cellist Secures School’s Winning Streak

03.07.2023:  Cellist extraordinaire, Alex Lockyer has been crowned winner of the prestigious Essex Young Musician of the Year 2023 competition – the second year in a row the accolade has been awarded to a Brentwood School musician.

The Lower Sixth virtuoso captivated the audience at Sunday’s Final with his magical playing performing three programmes which included many of the seminal works of the cello repertoire. In 2022, Brentwood School guitar phenomenon, Tom Hodgkinson, scooped the title.

A delighted Brentwood School Director of Music and Performing Arts, Mr Florian Cooper, said: “This competition is open to young musicians living or working in Essex up to the age of 28 and the majority of finalists were either young professionals or conservatoire students and for the second year in a row, a current Brentwood pupil won the competition. 

“I am extremely proud that we have had a student win this coveted title for the second year running; iit is a huge achievement and testament to years of musical dedication and hard work.”

In addition to the prize of £1,000 and the Essex Young Musician of the Year trophy, Alex will also be offered various professional engagements. He was presented with his prize at Ongar Music Club by Charles Bishop, the High Sheriff of Essex.

And in another superb performance, Year 8 student Rose Buggle, a Mezzo Soprano, won the U19 Burt Webster award and a £100 prize – no mean feat as she only turned thirteen on Monday. Rose is also through to the finals of the 2023 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod this week competing against 15 singers from around the world. Famous performers at Llangollen have included Luciano Pavarottii, Plácido Domingo and Sir Bryn Terfel.

Cellist extraordinaire, Alex Lockyer

Year 8 student Rose Buggle

School Tennis Star Shines for Great Britain

20th January 2023: Game, set and match….. Brentwood School tennis ace, Edie Griffiths, served up a masterclass following selection for the Great Britain team in an international tennis fixture against the USA.

The 13-year-old rising star travelled to Manchester to compete in a fixture which involved a mix of singles and doubles matches contested across three days by some of the best juniors in the world.

Proud Brentwood School Tennis Coach, Mark Simpson-Crick, said: “It was an incredible experience for the GB boys and girls who were able to challenge the best players of their age groups from America in a really exciting contest. Edie performed exceptionally well and managed to win two out of the three singles matches that she played.

“Edie is doing so well on the international stage and we are extremely proud of her achievements.”

An exciting year lies ahead for the Year 9 student as she will join up with the GB Team again next month for the U14 Winter Cup Qualifying Round. Edie and the team will travel to Izmir in Turkey where they aim to progress through the qualifying rounds to secure a spot in the Winter Cup Finals, which are being held in the Czech Republic. 

We wish Edie and the GB Team the best of luck and will be cheering them all on from afar.


HEREFORD, Tuesday 9 February: Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, Chair of Governors at Hereford Cathedral School, announced this week that following a thorough selection process, Dr Michael Gray of Harrow School will succeed Paul Smith as Headmaster of the co-educational day and boarding school.

Dr Gray, who is currently Director of Studies at Harrow School, graduated from King’s College London with a First in History, after which he completed a PGCE, followed by a Masters and PhD at the UCL Institute of Education. Michael taught at Halliford School in Shepperton and St Edward’s School, Oxford, before joining Harrow in 2013 as Head of Politics. He subsequently became Academic and Universities Director before taking up his appointment as Director of Studies in 2019 with overall responsibility for all academic matters at Harrow. 

Commenting on his appointment, Dr Gray said “I am both delighted and honoured to be appointed the next Headmaster of Hereford Cathedral School and to build on the fantastic work that Paul Smith has done. It is an extremely exciting time to join HCS and there is an impressive momentum across the School as we look to realise Vision 2030 and ensure that all pupils are equipped to thrive in a changing world. 

“My wife and I are relishing the prospect of moving to the beautiful county of Herefordshire and to join this wonderful community in one of the UK’s leading independent co-educational schools.” 

Alongside his teaching career, Dr Gray has published two books and several articles on Holocaust education. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and Chair of Governors at Elmgrove School, one of the largest state primary schools in London. He is Secretary at his local church where he and his wife Angharad worship. 

Dr Gray will take over when Paul Smith steps down from his role in September 2021 after 16 years at the helm. Mr Smith gave a ringing endorsement of his successor’s appointment: “I am delighted that the Governors have appointed Michael, who is clearly very able and experienced and who seemed to me to be an excellent match for what Hereford Cathedral School needs for the next stage of its development. I have enjoyed meeting Michael and look forward to welcoming him to Hereford in the coming weeks.” Dr Gray was selected from an extremely strong field of over 50 applicants. Chair of Governors, Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, who led the interview panel said “We were extremely impressed with Michael’s vision for Hereford Cathedral School and his undoubted commitment to developing yet further the quality of teaching and learning across the whole school. “The Governors wish to also pay tribute to Mr Smith as he continues to provide outstanding leadership to the School, especially in these challenging times. Michael is clearly excited and energised by our future plans and the panel were unanimous in their view that he is the right person to be a worthy successor of Paul.” 

The School looks forward to welcoming Dr Gray and his wife Angharad to the community in a few months’ time. 

Journalist and Former Cabinet Minister, Michael Portillo Visits Dauntsey’s

portillo audienceDauntsey’s has recently welcomed journalist, TV presenter and former cabinet minister, Michael Portillo, as part of the School’s Mercers’ Lecture series.  Michael presented his lecture to an audience of 900 pupils, staff and members of the local community, talking about his life in politics and, more recently, in the media.

Born to a Spanish civil war refugee and a Scottish mother, Michael gained fame at an early age as the face of Ribena. After studying history at Cambridge, he entered politics in 1984, serving in Margaret Thatcher’s government.   

Michael held a variety of ministerial positions and was seen by many as the natural successor to Thatcher until a shock result in the 1997 election saw him voted out of office in what is now known as the ‘Portillo Moment’.  Michael gave many entertaining insights to his time in cabinet and enlightening behind-the-scenes tales of the Iron Lady herself. 

Since leaving politics, Michael has reinvented himself as a media presence both in political discussion programmes and documentaries.  The audience was fascinated as he related stories of how chance encounters, along with his passion for steam trains, fuelled his second career in television.

Before the public lecture, Michael spoke to a small group of Sixth Formers about his working life and answered their questions with great enthusiasm.

Megan, a Sixth Former from Dauntsey’s who attended both the lecture and the informal group discussion said:

“From his flamboyant dress sense to his bewitching descriptions, Michael held the audience spellbound both at our Sixth Form discussion and during the evening lecture as he gave us a colourful and very entertaining review of his life. 

“We would like to thank Michael for one of the most charismatic and amusing lectures we have had the pleasure of listening to.”

College U13 Boys’ Hockey Team Crowned County Champions

hires_3566x2728Bishop’s Stortford College U13 boys’ hockey team have been crowned County Champions.

The Bishop’s Stortford College U13 boys’ hockey team have been crowned County Champions at the U13 County Finals held at Oaklands College, St Albans, for the 8th time in the last 10 years.

Having won all of their group matches against Haileybury, Merchant Taylors’, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and Hitchin Boys’ School the College team cruised through to the semi-finals at the top of their group.

Facing St Alban’s in the semis, the game ended with a 1-1 draw, despite the College team dominating the match play. This resulted in a set of penalty strokes to decide the winners; the College boys held their nerve with two great saves from goalkeeper Ollie F and advanced to the final.

Up against Hitchin Boys’ School once again, the boys had saved their best until last and gave an outstanding performance on the pitch. Two goals from Finn B and another from Paddy A-L saw the team emerge with a decisive win of 3-0 and being crowned County Champions.

Nick Prowse, the team’s coach, commented, “All the boys should be incredibly proud of themselves for an excellent display of hockey. Special mention must go to Miles L-T who captained the team superbly, was a real driving force in midfield and was awarded Player of the Tournament by the Officials.”

The College would like to extend its congratulations to the whole team, Ollie F, Ethan B, Felix R-D, Miles L-T, Cam W, Finn B, Fred B, Paddy A-L, Jake B and George L on this fantastic achievement and wishes them the best of luck in the East Finals in March.

DofE Awards aplenty for dedicated King’s Ely students

Silver DofE achievers January 2020

MORE than forty King’s Ely students have been presented with Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award badges.

A total of thirty King’s Ely Senior students have received their Bronze badges and twelve have achieved their Silver DofE, eleven of whom are now working towards their Gold awards.

King’s Ely’s latest Silver award achievers are: Thomas Biggs, Benjamin Biggs, Oscar Hills, Oliver Johnson, Thomas Kim, Matthew Larmour, Jennifer Liu, Alexander Scarborough, Molly van Poortvliet, Eleanor Wallace, Molly Whymark and Natalie Youssef.

The school’s latest Bronze Award achievers are Amelia Shaw, Eliza Iles, Sam Barber, Joshua Isaacs, Isabella Boutwood, Abhishek Kale, William Buckingham, Alexander Loke-Hassell, Henry Bullivant, Peter Lonsdale, Holly Burke, James Lott, George Collier, Eleanor MacGillivray, Miya Cundy, Sandra Massoud, Molly Egan, Edward Pepper, Charlotte Ellis, Laurence Ray, Joel Ezana, Alexander Scarborough, Harriet Froud, William Senior, Richard Garrard, James Spofforth, Emma Garrett, Alice Wallace, Tessa Hawes and Emily Williams.

Former King’s Ely students (Old Eleans), Ed Chittenden and Rebecca Garrett, also achieved their Gold DofE awards recently.

King’s Ely offers students the chance to undertake their DofE Award at all three levels as part of the school’s outdoor education programme, Ely Scheme. While most independent schools have an outdoor pursuits programme, the Ely Scheme is both unique and central to the whole King’s Ely experience, as young people from Year 9 upwards are given tangible opportunities to push themselves to achieve beyond anything they ever thought possible.

The aim is to develop each individual student through outdoor education and adventurous activity, concentrating on eight major elements: personal skills; self-confidence; teamwork; leadership skills; social and environmental awareness; problem solving; ability to cope with difficult situations and healthy respect for nature and the outdoors.

LVS Ascot Infant & Junior School Spreads Christmas Cheer Amongst Elderly

Pupils as young as four combined to spread Christmas cheer within the Bracknell Forest 
community last week as LVS Ascot’s Infant & Junior School laid on lunch and a special 
Nativity performance for some of the area’s elderly. Members of Warfield Church’s Autumn 
Club, a group for older members of the congregation, were special guests at the school on 
Tuesday 10th December. 
The LVS Ascot Infant & Junior School’s nativity play is one of the highlights of the school’s 
Christmas celebrations, and Warfield Church’s Autumn Club enjoyed this year’s premiere 
before proud parents packed into the school the following day to enjoy the show. Over 30 
members of the church enjoyed a lunch at LVS Ascot served by the Infant & Junior 
School’s Year 6 ambassadors and prefect team. The pupils also chatted to their older 
counterparts and made them feel welcome at a fun social occasion to get them in to the 
Christmas spirit.  
It was then the turn of the infants in Reception class, Year 1 and Year 2 to entertain their 
visitors with this year’s Nativity play ‘Hey Ewe’, an inclusive event which allowed every 
pupil in those years to have their moment in the spotlight. All pupils at the school are 
studying for their Infant & Junior School Diploma, learning about a number of LVS 
Learning Values and Skills, and clearly demonstrating on this occasion creativity, 
resilience, collaboration and self-confidence. 
that LVS Ascot stands for, it is a time for each child to shine by themselves and pull 
together as part of a team”.  
Parent Andy Collins said: “It was outstanding and put the hairs up on the back of my neck. 
My son Arthur was a sheep and my daughter Ruby a narrator. Their self-confidence was 
plain to see todayIt made me so proud to watch it with my father”. 
You can watch and embed a short highlights film from the LVS Ascot Nativity, including 
parent and teacher reaction, here: bit.ly/Nativity19Highlights  
Further LVS Ascot Christmas community celebrations included a church service at Holy 
Garrison Church in Windsor and carol singing at Savill Garden’s café in Windsor Great 

Dauntsey’s December production of In The Heights is a hit

A cast of 160 pupils, supported by more than 30 technical crew and band members, have delighted sell-out audiences with a challenging, energetic and exciting production of In the Heights.

From the writer of Hamilton and Disney’s Moana, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical tells the story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighbourhood.

The show received standing ovations from audiences totalling some 3,000 who watched performances over the five-night run. The cast was made up of pupils from years 7 to 13 and, for some, it was their stage debut.

As always, the School’s hi-tech sound and light system brought the musical to life in spectacular fashion, and the band performed the extraordinarily challenging score with great skill, energy and enthusiasm.

Chris Walker, Director of Drama, said;

In The Heights is a show about community. The fast-paced rap, sharp dialogue and belting songs fused with Latin rhythms and culture make for a show that lives long in the memory.

“Our young cast, dancers, musicians, stage team and technical crew have worked intensely for 10 short weeks to make this a simply extraordinary experience for audiences and pupils.

“Dauntsey’s has once again raised the bar for what is possible for school productions. Taking on this hugely complex show was a mountain to climb and the young people and staff truly scaled the peak. Our show was as close as possible to the West End production.

“We were fortunate to have the wisdom and guidance of Jimmy Norden (who played drums, in the original West End cast) and Cleve September (original West End cast member of In The Heights and Hamilton) to help the pupils achieve excellent results.

“It was a truly special show and an unforgettable experience.”

Audience reviews include:

“Mind-blowingly good by an enormous cast and orchestra!  Such a depth of singing, acting & dancing talent. Spontaneous and fully deserved standing ovation.”

“If In The Heights is a contemporary call for community, the cast, band, crew, and production team showed just how Dauntsey’s is every bit one quite brilliant community!”

The December production has become a musical tradition for Dauntsey’s and In the Heights follows spellbinding shows including Our House, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia and Billy Elliot.

King’s Ely Rugby squad enjoys unbeaten season – and makes school history!

1st XV Rugby SquadKING’S Ely’s 1st XV Rugby team has made school history by winning every 
single match they played this season.   
The squad won all eleven of their games this season, putting them at the top of the UK Schools Rugby League and making them winners of the East Anglia Independent Schools 1st XV Rugby Trophy. 
Captain of the 1st XVs Callum Hall scored 114 points, winger Arthur Plews achieved 17 tries and Vice Captains Solomon Boon and Tom Henderson contributed significantly. Highlights of the season include a double victory against Wisbech Grammar School, a magnificent 33-22 victory against Wellingborough School and beating Culford School at home. 
The 1st XV team and several other King’s Ely Rugby boys also enjoyed a hugely successful tour to Paris in October, which saw them win all four games against some top French club sides. 
The school’s Under 15A Rugby side also enjoyed a successful season, finishing unbeaten except from one game which ended 24-24 against Gresham’s School. 
Director of Sport at King’s Ely, Jim Thompson, described this year’s Rugby season as “very 
memorable”. Speaking about the 1st XV’s success, he said: “What the boys have achieved is incredible and they are now the most successful 1st XV King’s Ely Rugby team in the school’s history. The main reasons for their unbeaten success are the standards and expectations they set for themselves. They set high standards at training, they pushed themselves to improve, they were hardworking and there are no egos. Most 
importantly of all is that they always enjoyed it and had fun. Everyone has played their part in what has been a hugely enjoyable and very memorable season. They have been a joy to coach and should all be very proud of 
what they have achieved.” 
At King’s Ely, we are passionate about sport and firmly believe that all students should enjoy a wide a range of sporting experiences, whilst at the same time making the most of opportunities to excel. We also support our students in sports they pursue outside school, with many going on to represent their counties, regions, and, in some cases, their country. 

King’s Ely community raises a whopping  £34,000 for good causes 

CRUK Cheque Presentation October 2019

A FEAST of fundraising initiatives has resulted in students, staff, families and friends of King’s Ely topping up a total of £34,000 for the school’s charities of the year.

Over the last 12 months, the King’s Ely community has been doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things to raise money for the school’s two chosen charities for 2018/19 – Cancer Research UK and the Wildlife Trust charity.

An incredible £34,000 has been raised – £10,000 of which is from a Charity Ball organised by a group of King’s Ely parents and which took place in Ely Cathedral’s Lady Chapel in June.

The rest of the funds – one of the highest totals to date – were raised in a whole host of ways, including non-uniform days, cake sales, sponsored challenges, King’s Ely Junior’s Soapbox Race and the inaugural King’s Ely Colour Dash, to name just a few.

Heidi Connell, senior local fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK, attended the school’s Michaelmas Mid Term Service at the Cathedral on October 18thto receive a cheque for £17,685. The Wildlife Trust charity will be receiving their £17,000 soon.

Mrs Connell said she was “overwhelmed” by the amount raised and said every penny will go towards funding vital research at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute – the charity’s hub closest to King’s Ely.

She said: “The King’s Ely community has fundraised tirelessly over the last 12 months and this amazing contribution will enable Cancer Research UK to carry out more research in the labs, which in turn means better education around prevention and better treatments for those who are sadly diagnosed with cancer. All the money donated by the school will stay local and go directly to our Cambridge Institute. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the overwhelming amount raised and for helping Cancer Research UK work towards their ambition of wanting three in four people to survive cancer by 2034.”

King’s Ely is well-known for its community spirit and fundraising work. Just a couple of days prior to the cheque presentation to Cancer Research UK, a team of Sixth Form girls organised a special green-themed non-uniform day, which raised around £1,000 for Greenpeace UK.

The week previously, the King’s Ely community came together to donate a huge number of items to Ely Foodbank as part of the school’s and the Cathedral’s Harvest Festival celebrations.

The school will be supporting numerous charities this coming academic year, including East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Pidley Mountain Rescue Team.