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News > School News > Former Pupil & Staff Association > Celebrating the 30th anniversary of King's Girls' Division - Memories from the Head Girls

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of King's Girls' Division - Memories from the Head Girls

We spoke to several of our former Head Girls about their memories of their time at Fence Avenue, namely Sarah Abrahamse, Aiman Aslam, Anna Beesley, Lottie Dennett and Lauren Firth. Thanks so much for participating, read on to see what they had to say! 

1. What are your fondest memories of Fence Avenue? 

Anna: My memories of Fence Avenue are predominantly ones of laughter. Both the teaching and the opportunities outside the classroom were full of support and fun, which was an amazing atmosphere in which to learn.  

Aiman: Cliché though it may be, there are too many memories to recount but it goes without saying that the five years of senior school at Fence Avenue were aptly summed up by the words of Mrs Spence (Principal): "work hard, play hard and be kind!"

I particularly look fondly upon GCSE science lessons with my set - we would all leave lessons with stomachs aching from laughter amongst one another and Mrs Broadley (Biology), Mr Street (Chemistry) and Mr Carpenter (Physics). I also thoroughly enjoyed Fence Avenue sports, and the associated luxury of wearing sports kit during lessons ahead of a hockey match or athletics meet. House competitions such as the Talent Show, Gymnastics, Christmas Carols and Fashion Show generated a palpable sense of community and good spirit, with students and teachers coming together, they were a wonderful way to round off term time.  

Sarah: I really enjoyed GCSE science lessons because they were entertaining as we had a bigger set and big personalities which made lessons enjoyable. The teachers we had were lovely and tried to make lessons interesting. House competitions will always be a fond memory but also the simplicity of sitting with friends in the form room laughing.  

Lottie: My fondest memories are about the atmosphere. It would go from a lovely, somewhat calm environment to competitive and frantic as soon as any house competition was announced. House events for me are where some of my best memories were formed. The Christmas Song Competition was a particular highlight that seemed to step up a gear every year. I’m sure I will never forget when Mrs Talbot, Miss Hughes and Dr Williams entered the chaos on scooters or when Pablo frolicked down the isle to Feliz Navidad! The house lip sync competition and of course sports day will also always be remembered fondly. Looking back I really thrived in this environment and loved the sense of community at Fence Avenue. 

2. Which member of staff do you have the best memories of?

Aiman: It would be impossible to single out one member of staff as all were fantastic sources of knowledge, support and guidance in both the Girls' Division and Sixth Form. Nevertheless, if I was pressed to name just a few from my time at Fence Avenue: Mrs Broadley (Biology) whose handwriting remains the most elegant I have seen to date, Mr Jones (Maths) who displayed an admirable patience with my friends and I on the front row, Mrs Adams (Latin) and her infectious enthusiasm for role-playing Virgil's Aeneid, Mrs Locke (Science) who was the first to impress upon me the importance of a calm approach during practicals, and Ms Walwyn (Librarian) who fuelled my thirst for reading with her weekly recommendations. Madame Schué, Mrs Seth and Mr Fico (Languages) must also be mentioned for inspiring my love for languages and desire to become a true polyglot as must Dr Banner (English) who led the small but mighty Writers' Group, with myself and other members receiving weekly hand-written invites for literary discussions over lunch. However, I am grateful to all for their dedication to teaching and pastoral care, which made Fence Avenue such a dynamic and positive environment.  

Anna: This is a hard one to narrow down! Collette Buckley was an inspirational coach to our netball team, and it's hardly surprising as a result just how many of us still play on a weekly basis - she really instilled some great skills and enthusiasm within us. And without being too biased (!), the area of what the school offered that has had the biggest impact on shaping my life was the music, and Jo Beesley's dedication to this was unwavering. 

Academically, I can still today quote the exact way that Eileen Olsen taught us some of our history topics - her delivery was incredible and her passion for the subject infectious. And finally, from a pastoral perspective, Jim Street was a wonderful form tutor. Additionally, the experiences he gave us through World Challenge were unrivalled. 

Lottie: It’s really hard to pick one member of staff since I have great memories and I’m very grateful to many.  I do have fond memories of Miss Hughes who taught me history for the whole 5 years of seniors. Her enthusiastic approach to not only teaching but also house events (a fellow very competitive member of Capesthorne) will really stick with me- a very fond memory I have is spending a large proportion of the lesson figuring out how to attach her angel wings to her in preparation for the Christmas song competition! 

I’ve also shared many a laugh with Mr Street in Chemistry which will remain a fond memory I’m sure. I must mention all of the Sports staff as well who have played a a huge part in my school career. I have great memories of Miss Hopkin for the dedication and time she took to transform the hockey at King’s and make it such an important, enjoyable aspect of school for me and many others. I will also remember Mrs Booker, especially for the time a crow flew off with her crisps! 

Mrs Broadley’s phrase at the end of every assembly: ‘Work hard, play hard but most importantly be kind’ will also always stick with me.  

3. As Head Girl what did you see as your greatest responsibility? 

Anna: I felt I needed to represent the student body to the best of my ability. I wanted to be a role model for younger girls, an approachable confidante for anyone that needed it, and to share my love for the school at open days and external events. 

Lottie: I think an obvious responsibility as Head Girl was to represent King’s in the best light possible, whether that was in sport’s fixtures or Open days. My main aim was to be involved in multiple aspects of school life  and be an approachable figure to anyone.  

Sarah: I think the greatest responsibility was representing and treating everybody equally. I wanted to make sure everyone felt that their voice was heard and that they felt comfortable to say anything. I wanted to be a friendly face that everyone knew and felt comfortable with.  

Aiman: Although the role of head girl is multi-faceted, I regard my biggest responsibility as being a reliable bridge between students and staff, relaying perspectives between both sides and thereby promoting a healthy bond within the Girls' Division community. It was really important to be a source of support and advocacy for my peers and to ensure that everyone felt comfortable approaching me about their opinions and thoughts. I am grateful to have enjoyed their trust and confidence and to have worked with Mrs Anderson (Principal) and the teaching staff closely on a range of important school decisions.  

Lauren: As Head Girl, I saw my biggest responsibility as being a good role model for other pupils and being a good representative of the school, especially on things like open days, when I really enjoyed giving tours and showing off our school.

4. What did you want to be when you were at school and what have you become? 

Anna: From a young age, I always wanted to be an Optician, even choosing to spend my work experience week shadowing an Optometrist, and a summer holiday working on the reception there. However, having chosen all but one of my A-Level subjects with this in mind, I had a change of heart in sixth form, as I loved French so much that I couldn't see myself ending those studies. I went on to study French and Arabic.  

What I do now isn't actually linked to my degree: I am responsible for landing large scale transformation programmes at a telecom, supporting our 20,000-strong workforce in embracing change in order to deliver benefits for the business. I am also very lucky that my work has recently supported me in training to become a Magistrate, and that they will continue to enable me to juggle both of these responsibilities. 

However, I am very much someone who works to live; work is but one piece of the jigsaw! What I love most is doing things in my community. I volunteer with a Birmingham-based charity called Restore, who aim to welcome and integrate refugees into society (the Arabic degree has come in pretty handy here!). I perform with a local Musical Theatre group, but also help to run the parallel juniors section - we have about 40 6-16 year olds involved. I have been the Musical Director for numerous of their shows, which whilst being a mad undertaking in many ways, is incredibly rewarding as you see their passion, talent and confidence grow. 

Lauren: When I was at school, I wanted to study English Literature at University and then become a journalist. I did study English Literature and do some journalism at university, joining the radio and the newspaper, however, I now have a job in sales - but I'm hoping to do some journalism in my spare time, and hopefully pursue that later in my career. 

Aiman: At the risk of sounding like my university personal statement, I have always been keen to become either a doctor - for my love of science - or a barrister - for my love of conversation - and am grateful to the Girls' Division for playing a large part in shaping my character, values and ambitions. Having just graduated from the University of Cambridge after an immensely challenging but satisfying six years, with a medical degree and a neuroscience bachelors, I now look forward to moving to London to work as an Academic Junior Doctor. Ultimately, I aim to specialise as a surgeon or radiologist, and to combine my clinical career with involvement in academic research, global humanitarian aid and health policy.  

Sarah: I wanted to be a forensic psychologist when I was at school and now I’m studying German, French and Spanish at University. I am about to start my third year in Paris and south Germany.  

5. What is your biggest advice to students who are in school now?

Anna: Make the most of the wide array of extra curricular activities on offer. The breadth of experiences on offer at Kings really is what sets it apart, and can give you life-enriching skills and opportunities. The things I went on to love doing at university and beyond were shaped by the experiences I had at school, and the confidence this gave me. 

Lottie: Everyone says it, but do get involved in as many activities as possible, especially house competitions- it is honestly some of the most fun you’ll have. 

Also, it’s important not to take you’re school days for granted. I know it’s very easy to wish them away but they are some of the best days so be happy to spend everyday with your friends even if it means you have to do work along the way!  Finally, work hard and put in the effort, you will be rewarded for it and don’t stress about the little things; you’ll realise that problems you thought were unmanageable at the time really aren’t big when you get some perspective.  

Aiman: Throw yourself into extra-curriculars as these develop important skills and interests, and provide outlets and mechanisms for you to rely upon in times of stress. Always ask for help at an early stage - it can be difficult to reflect on and acknowledge one's weaknesses, but this is a skill that will serve one well in and beyond school; I learnt so much more when I asked questions, and chances are that others are also wondering the same thing! Finally, live in the present, enjoy the moment, and build kind, humanised relations with your peers, especially in today's increasingly digitalised world!  

Sarah: Try hard. Do your best it will set you up so nicely for later in life. Figure out what revision methods work the best for you as early on as you can because it’ll make it so much easier when you have lots of content to go through. Enjoy school as much as you can I know sometimes it’s boring or hard but it’s something you’ll always remember. Be true to who you are.  



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