Omnia 2022 - Issue 10

Page 78

Reaching for the Stars

OC Alia Ardron

SpaceX Engineer

Hitting the High Notes

Gaming Magic

Breaking Barriers

Women in Esports

Giving Day 2022

Renewable Future

The magazine for the CaterhamConnected community Issue 10. 2022



From science and technology through to business and the arts, this edition of Omnia has something for everyone. The enthusiasm of our contributors (listed opposite) to share their advice about, and passion for, what they do truly is testament to the friendliness and camaraderie of Caterham School.

I hope you learn as much from reading this edition of Omnia as I did from meeting with so many fascinating and driven Caterhamians. If you would like to contribute to a future edition of Omnia , please do contact me.

With best wishes

01883 335091


Alia Ardron (OC 1999 – 2010)

Ron Ayers (Current Grandparent)

Sophie Brown (née Colman) (OC 2003 – 2010)

Emily Buckett (OC 1999 – 2009)

Isabella Burns (Current Pupil)

Ian Chambers (OC 1984 – 1994)

Raymund Chao (Current Parent)

Rosie Craine (née May) (OC 2000 – 2007)

Charlotte Cross (OC 2012 – 2019)

Ben Davidson (OC 2004 – 2009)

Georgia Davidson (née Shrimpton) (OC 2002 – 2009)

Katie Davies (OC 2010 – 2015)

Andrew Denton (Current Parent)

Andrew Elmes (Current Parent)

Nell Fahey (OC 2005 – 2019)

Alex Gordon (OC 2005 – 2010)

Maisie Greener (OC 2014 – 2021)

Mary Jones (OC 2016 – 2018)

Kendra Leaver-Rylah (née Leaver) (OC 2002 – 2007)

Joseph Long (OC 2013)

Jessica Malpas (née Martin) (OC 2000 – 2007)

Geoffrey Martindale (OC 1936 – 1940)

Narayan Minhas (Current Pupil)

Husayn Moosa (OC 2006 – 2021)

Sarah Moule (née Gabriel) (OC 1990 – 1992)

Azuoma Obikudo (OC 2006 – 2011)

Lotty Playle (OC 2018)

Monisha Shah (Chair of Trustees, Current Parent)

Emma Waldren (née Cross Vetriano) (OC 2002 – 2006)

Mai Wallace (OC 2004 – 2020)

Charles Waud (OC 1998 – 2005)

Myles Waud (OC 2000 – 2007)

Max Zhelyabovskiy (OC 2015 – 2019)

OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023 01
Cover photograph of Alia Ardron by Jennifer Pisarcik Omnia designed and produced by Haime & Butler
This edition of Omnia shares the experience of Caterhamians pushing boundaries – from what it takes to build the fastest car in the world, to how it feels to be performing on stages worldwide and to literally reaching for the stars with our cover Caterhamian Alia Ardron through her work at SpaceX.
Hitting the High Notes Gaming Magic Breaking Barriers Women in Esports Giving Day 2022 Renewable Future The magazine for the CaterhamConnected community Issue 10. 2022 Reaching for the Stars OC Alia Ardron SpaceX Engineer


From the Headmaster, President of the OCA and Chairs of the PA.

Forthcoming Events

Exciting events for the whole Caterham School community from Autumn 2022 to Summer 2023.

Reaching for the Stars

OC Alia Ardron talks about her work at SpaceX and ambitions to become an astronaut.

Gaming Magic

OC Ian Chambers, founder of Moshi Kids, on his career in the gaming and apps industry.

Hitting the High Notes

OC Sarah Gabriel offers a candid insight into life as a professional singer, actor and writer.

Recent Events

A showcase of events of the past year.

Eothen: A Story in 10 Photographs

Eothen School’s history through pictures.

Breaking Barriers

Ron Ayers MBE, designer and engineer of the fastest car in the world and grandparent at the School.

Caterham to Hong Kong

An interview with parent Raymund Chao, Chairman of PwC Asia Pacific and Chairman and CEO of PwC China.


Women in Esports

OC Emma Waldren shares her experiences working in sports and now Electronic Arts Sports.

Renewable Future

Parent Andrew Elmes shares his insights on the future of renewable energy.

Mentorship Matters: CaterhamConnected

The benefits of CaterhamConnected for everyone in our school community.

The Development Report

Caterham’s first Giving Day and Development work across the past year.

Partnerships Progress

Read about the Caterham Partnerships with schools and organisations that flourished last year.

Developing Enterprise

Parent Andrew Denton shares his insights in building Alfa Systems, the world’s leading asset finance software company.

Memories from Our Oldest Cat OC Geoffrey Martindale reminisces on life at school in the 1930s.

Caterham to Crystal Palace

OC Joe Long reflects on his memories at Caterham and career leading to Crystal Palace.

Next Generation Shadow Board

Our ground-breaking Shadow Board to the Board of Trustees.

Meet the Chair

Monisha Shah, our Chair of Trustees, reflects on her career and ambitions for the School.

Caterham Voice for Change

Our pupil-led initiative putting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the heart of school life.

Innovating Education

Caterham School continues to drive forward innovation.

Old Cat News

News from former pupils including reunions, weddings and births.

Your Legacy to Future Generations

Help safeguard Caterham’s ability to provide an inspiring education for future generations.

Heads of School Hand Over the Baton Heads of School give their advice to their successors.

Welcome to the OCA

Class of 2022 become Old Caterhamians!

Why Study

Read advice from OCs currently studying at university or through apprenticeships.

In Memoriam

Giving thanks for the lives of Caterham School community members. 02
04 07 11 53 73 17 57 11 57 59 53 50 77 59 61 65 67
73 19 22 71 81 83
84 87 90 91 96 97 98 99 107

CaterhamConnected Join our online networking platform today

CaterhamConnected offers the whole school community a professional and social network


for iPhone, iPad & Android

Connect with the huge community of Old Cats, parents and friends of the School

Stay updated with news and events

Benefit from this invaluable professional resource to find mentoring, work experience and career opportunities

For desktop version:

• Log in online to:

• Join using LinkedIn, Facebook or your email address

• Customise your settings and get networking

Download the mobile app: Visit your app store…

• For Apple iOS users, download ‘Graduway Community’ and find ‘Caterham School’ in the dropdown when asked for the name of your institution

• For Android users, just search for ‘Caterham School’

OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023 03
Caterham School Graduway Community Download the CaterhamConnected app
by the Old Caterhamians' Association For friends of yours not yet connected – please do spread the word, the more people on this platform, the greater the professional resource and benefit to all. #CaterhamConnected


The past two years have seen our Caterham community grow closer in every respect. The numbers of people reconnecting with the school has continued to grow as have the opportunities and reasons for connecting. CaterhamConnected has really started to become the place where the experience, expertise and interests of our global community are showcased, benefitting pupils in the school but also all those who have ever had a connection to the Harestone Valley.

Over the past twelve months we have had a combination of physical and virtual events attended by students, current and former parents, alumni and friends of the school – from the Climate and Change Insight Evening held at the Royal Academy of Engineering, to the webinar on US History given by Professor Robert Cook to our dinner with the American Friends of Caterham School in New York City in March. We are really hoping to visit other parts of our global community over the coming year as travel restrictions are removed.

One of the highlights of the year was the Giving Day the school held in March raising funds for causes which are of central importance to Caterham School – Transformational Bursaries, Lerang'wa School in Tanzania and the East Surrey Learning Partnership (the network of local primary schools that we work closely with). All of these projects demonstrate our commitment to not just providing an outstanding education to pupils here at the school, but also to ensuring that we continue to support individuals and communities to achieve great things, and that we all have a role to play as change makers in the world around us.

You will see from this edition of Omnia that Caterham School has always been a school that encourages pupils to go out into the world to make

a difference, and that diversity has always been one of our strengths. I am delighted that collectively our community continues to share these values and that so many of you are actively supporting the school in so many ways – I am very grateful.

Over the past few weeks we have added even more to the diversity of our school community by welcoming a number of Ukrainian refugees to the school – working with Caterham School families who are hosting Ukrainian families locally.

I am incredibly proud that we are a school that lives its’ values and that our instinct remains to look outwards to play a meaningful role in the world around us.

On behalf of all in our community I thank Old Caterhamian Ian Edwards, a long-standing supporter of the School who relinquished his role as Chair of Trustees at the close of 2021. Ian’s support for the School has been immeasurable. I am sure you will join me in welcoming Monisha Shah as our new Chair of Trustees. Monisha brings a wealth of experience to the role, as you will read in this edition.




I think the Caterham community has taken these words to heart if the numbers turning out for events is anything to go by. Whether that is the Over 60s lunch or the spring OCA day, the attendance and sheer enthusiasm has been incredible. The latter featured a really wide range of sports and hosted the most exciting end-to-end hockey match the Astro has witnessed in a while. The family atmosphere was a real celebration of Caterham and featured past, present and future (I have no doubt) Caterhamians.

Staying with sport, Patto (Andrew Patterson) has been weaving his magic on Old Cat sports and we now have alumni teams competing in a range of sports against other schools and in competitions. If you want to get involved have a look at the website as there is really something for everyone

As far as reunions are concerned, we have focused on getting as many OCs attending as we can and on holding events at school where possible. It seems to be a popular strategy and we will be ramping that up over the next year. The first US reunion – hosted by the American Friends – took place this year. This is a great milestone and adds to the growing number of OC groups outside of the UK – a trend that we will support wherever possible.

The focus of the OCA has been firmly on supporting the School wherever possible and I would like to thank the Old Cats who continue to support the current pupils and the wider community through career advice, job opportunities and mentoring.

Omnia reflects the diversity and breadth of our community and it, rightly in my opinion, receives many plaudits from the readership. This edition will be no exception. To try and deliver more, we are adding online content as well and you will find interviews posted on our networking platform that augment the articles found within these pages – such as my interview with OC Ian Chambers.

OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023 05
“It’s times like these, you learn to live again” Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters.


The last event of the outgoing PA Committee was The Comedy Night on Saturday 25 September 2021, held in person in the Humphreys Theatre. It was so good to be at a live event again and all those that attended celebrated being ‘out’ out!

The PA Cheese & Wine AGM on Wednesday 6 October felt very special. Our previous Chair, Sam Kensey, had held the role for three years and in celebration, a presentation depicting all the activities the PA had done in those three years showed what a diverse programme of events we had created from Summer Balls, Quizzes and Prep Fairs, to celebrating our younger children with ‘You Are Amazing’ rainbow badges, together with many virtual events, including tea-tasting!

The incoming Committee decided to share the main role as Co-Chairs. Our first event was Fireworks Night where the PA ran the bar, sweets and glowstick stalls. It was lovely to see so many families in attendance, with the event sold out many days before. We also ran the bar at the OCA Sports Afternoon the next day, refuelling the spectators with Westerham Ale, mulled wine and donuts. The PA Christmas Dinner & Dance was another successful event held at the Surrey National Golf Club.

2022 started well with a PA Quiz Night held for the first time in the Wilberforce Hall and PA Coffee mornings re-started, so life is starting to feel as it was. The School’s bee-themed Giving Day used our Cats On The Move race to Hong Kong, then to Tanzania, to encourage donations. In May we hosted ‘Happy’s Circus’, this had been planned since 2019, so it was great to finally see the acts perform. A wet afternoon, but the children and adults loved it.

The Summer Ball this year was ‘Casino Night’ held on the evening of Speech Day, Saturday 2 July. This year’s Upper Sixth did not get to sit their GCSEs, nor have their Fifth Year Prom, so it was wonderful to see them able to celebrate their graduation in person.

Our current charities, RBWA (now called ‘I Choose Freedom’) and Sal’s Shoes will come to the end of their two-year stint in January 2023, so the PA Committee, together with the Reps will nominate others going forward. We give around £5,000 to these two charities each year, plus £1,811 to the 1811 Circle every year for Transformational Bursaries.

We can confidently say that our PA is thriving, with many school projects funded by our donations, including planting a tree for every starter and leaver in 2021, play equipment for the Prep School, two benches on the edge of Home Field, a second Green Car for the Senior Club and a smaller version for the Prep School. We have helped fund the Beekeeping Club clothing and provided Welcome Bags and Leavers Bags too, with contents ranging from branded mugs, bottle openers and tissues to comfort the parents on their child’s first day of school! We also have some exciting projects going forward, using the latest technology and creativity.


Forthcoming events Autumn 2022 – Summer 2023

There are more events in the pipeline. Please follow the social media channels and websites below to stay up to date with CaterhamConnected, OCA and PA events.

Sign up to you will automatically receive invitations to and updates for events.

If you have any queries, please contact

We hope to see you very soon.

Caterham School links


Caterham School



Alumni links

Old Caterhamians Association

Old Caterhamians Association



Autumn Term 2022

Saturday 3 September, 1.00-5.00pm

OCA BBQ Caterham School

Catch up with fellow Old Cats back at school over a late summer barbecue – for more information and to book tickets, contact

Friday 16 September, 9.00-10.30am

CC Book Club Caterham School

The CaterhamConnected book club runs monthly during term time and is hosted at Caterham School. All members of the Caterham School community are welcome, if you are interested in joining please contact Other Friday dates this term are 14 October, 11 November and 9 December

Saturday 17 September OCA Alumni Cross Country Race

Wimbledon Common, London Calling OC cross country runners –the OCA enter the five-mile alumni race hosted by Thames Hare and Hounds. The team is unlimited numbers – if you are interested in representing the OCA, please contact

Saturday 24 September, 10.00am-12.00pm

Autumn Term Nearly New Uniform Sales Caterham School

Grab a bargain! Other Saturday dates this term are 12 November and 3 December For more dates, please contact

Saturday 24 September, 7.00pm

PA Social Evening Caterham School

The Parents’ Association looks forward to welcoming all current parents for refreshments and an opportunity to catch up after the long summer as well as to meet some new faces.

Thursday 29 September –Wednesday 12 October

CC Book Festival Prep School

Michael Rosen will be our guest amongst a host of other exciting authors joining us to celebrate our love of books.

OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023 07

September CC Insight Webinar: Social Standing

Social media entrepreneur Indy Chatwal shares his experience of building business through social media and provides top tips for building businesses and personal brands through LinkedIn and across platforms.

Tuesday 4 October

PA AGM & Cheese & Wine Caterham School

An opportunity to find out about our Parents’ Association. Meet new parents, have a catch up and perhaps get involved over a glass of wine.

Sunday 9 October

CC BTCC Championship

Final Day

Brands Hatch

We are delighted to be able to offer a very special day out for motor sports enthusiasts at Brands Hatch, the British Touring Car Championship Final Day with behind the scenes tours. For more information and tickets, please contact

Friday 11 November

OC Golfing Society

Winter Meeting

Walton Heath Golf Club


OCA Alumni Hockey Tournament

Haileybury, Hertfordshire

Calling OC hockey players – the OCA enter a side into the prestigious Haileybury six-a-side tournament. If you are interested in representing the OCA, please contact andrew.

Friday 7 October, 9.00-10.30am

Termly event:

CC Woodland Walk Caterham School

Guided walks are arranged termly around Old Park Woods for all members of the Caterham School community – dogs are welcome! Walks conclude with tea, coffee and cakes outside the Leathem Room. If you are interested in joining, please contact

Open to all golfers who are 18 handicap or lower, if you would like to join in with the fun and to find out future meeting dates, please visit

Saturday 12 November, 5.00-6.30pm

OCA Pre-Fireworks Drinks

Wilberforce Hall, Caterham School

Old Caterhamians are invited to join us for a drink before the main display begins. For tickets, please contact

Saturday 12 November, 5.15-7.30pm

CC Fireworks

Titch Pitch, Caterham School

The annual pyrotechnic extravaganza, with fire dancer, BBQ, wood-fired pizza, the Parents’ Association bar, sweet stall and glow toy shop on offer. Bring your friends and neighbours! 08

Sunday 13 November

OCA Day:

Remembrance Sunday & OCA Sports Afternoon

Caterham School

The traditional Remembrance Service will be held at the front of school, followed by a recital of reflection in the Wilberforce Hall. The afternoon sees both school and alumni teams play rugby and lacrosse on Home Field for this most cherished set of fixtures. For more information and tickets for the lunch, email

Saturday 26 November, 10.00am1.00pm

PA Prep Christmas Fair Caterham School

Fun for all the family!

Saturday 26 November, 7.00pm

PA Christmas Dinner Dance

Surrey National Golf Club

Dress up for the annual black-tie dinner and dance.


CC Bonarjee Lecture

Caterham School

The annual lecture focussing on democracy and free speech, in memory of Old Caterhamian and benefactor Stephen Bonarjee, creator of Radio 4’s Today programme.

Monday 7 December, 6.30pm

MJS Christmas Lecture

Caterham School

The annual Moncrieff Jones Society science lecture.

Spring Term 2023


CC Insight Evening: Climate and Change


An evening focussing on how environmental, social and governance could be impacted in this current climate of change.

Saturday 25 February

OCA Drinks


All Old Caterhamians are invited to the join the OCA Committee for complimentary drinks in a local pub – if you are coming down early for OCA Sports Afternoon on Sunday, please do join us.

Sunday 26 February, 11.00am3.00pm

OCA Spring Sports Afternoon

Caterham School

Friday 9 December, 2.00-4.00pm

PA Christmas Afternoon Tea Caterham School

A chance for parents to get together for some festive refreshments before the Christmas break.

The Old Caterhamians and School sports teams go head-to-head in football, basketball, netball & hockey. All welcome – come along and cheer on the teams!

Tuesday 22 November

CC Insight Evening:

Financial Services


Join our expert panel for insights into the outlook for the UK financial services sector for 2023 and beyond.

OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023 09


OCA Hong Kong Reception


Hong Kong

All Old Cats are invited for drinks and canapés. Date and venue to be confirmed. If you are in the Hong Kong area and would like to join us, please contact oldcats@


OCA New York Reception

2022 New York

All Old Cats are invited for drinks and canapés. Date and venue to be confirmed. If you are in the New York area and would like to join us, please contact americanfriends@caterham

Summer Term 2023


Over 60s Living History


Caterham School

A chance for lunch in the Wilberforce Hall, tours of the School and afternoon tea with current Caterham pupils to share experiences of being a pupil at Caterham School and help bring history to life.

Summer Sundays

OCA Alumni Cricketer’s Trophy

Venues vary

Call OC cricketers – the OCA enter a side into the Cricketer’s Trophy. The format is 50 overs and the games are played on Sundays in the summer. If you are interested in representing the OCA, please contact andrew.patterson@

Calling OC tennis players for the D’Abernon Cup alumni tournament!

Summer dates vary

OCA Alumni Tennis Tournament

Venue varies

Calling OC tennis players – the OCA enter into the D’Abernon Cup alumni tournament, matches played over the summer with the final played at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in September. If you are interested in representing the OCA, please contact andrew.patterson@

Saturday 8 July Speech Day Caterham School

All parents, friends and alumni are welcome to join us for our annual speech day and drinks on the lawn that follow the traditional service.

Saturday 8 July

OCA Summer Sports Afternoon

Caterham School

All Caterhamians and their families are invited to enjoy the traditional annual Old Caterhamians versus the School Cricket Match on Home Field with afternoon tea in the Leathem Room.

Saturday 8 July

Summer Ball

Celebrate the end of the school year at the annual Summer Ball.


Reaching for the STARS

11 OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023

OC Alia Ardron, Test Engineer at SpaceX, talks with current pupil and President of the Moncrieff Society, Isabel Singleton, about her career to date and ambition to be an astronaut.

Congratulations on landing such a fabulous job, what was your pathway to SpaceX?

I took a roundabout route to reach my current role as a test engineer on the Falcon rockets which are used to transport crew and cargo to the International Space Station, amongst other payloads. I studied Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences at Cambridge which was a broad, interesting course keeping my options open. I completed an internship at Sellafield nuclear site, then moved into faster paced manufacturing industry. I spent six years at a company called SPX Flow designing equipment for factories across the world, anything from ice cream to pharmaceuticals to mining.

Then last year I completed a Masters in Astronautics and Space Engineering at Cranfield University with a placement at RAL Space to work on an upcoming space mission called Ariel. Following a very fortunate conversation on LinkedIn, I applied to SpaceX, packed my bags and moved to Texas. 

Crew-3 aboard SpaceX Dragon Endurance readying for launch at the historic Apollo launch pad 39-A, Florida Photographs courtesy of SpaceX

What traits do you need to be an engineer in the space industry?

I have met people with all sorts of backgrounds and skill sets in the industry, and different companies and roles will suit various people. There are so many different aspects of the space programme where engineers are involved, including hands on rocket and payload development and testing, computer modelling and analysis both for the equipment and planning the mission routes, manufacturing, clean room work, building and maintaining the ground equipment at launch sites, developing the control software for the rockets as well as working with customers, suppliers or even astronauts.

Like with any job, curiosity for the industry and enthusiasm for the projects and the atmosphere at the company is going to make the work a lot more fun and satisfying and likely make everyone perform better.

What does your day-to-day job involve?

It is very mixed, the site I work at test-fires engines for the Falcon and Starship rockets and then once all the engines have been installed in the rockets, the team I work on test-fires the first stage of each Falcon rocket which is the big lower section that uses nine engines during launch to leave Earth. I work in the control room operating the rocket and the equipment used to supply it while it is being tested and also spend a lot of time working hands on with the rocket doing inspections, creating planning instructions for work that needs to be done. Multiple times a day I run outside to watch the spectacle of whichever rocket is test-firing in the background, roaring with its pretty, colourful flames.

What have been the highlights in your career to date?

A big highlight this year was spending time at the Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida while we did some refurbishing work on a rocket that had returned from space in preparation for its next mission. SpaceX operates the launch pad which was used for the first crewed Apollo moon landing mission, and is now used to take astronauts to the International Space Station. We got to climb up to the top of the tower and admire the view of the ocean and other launch pads that the astronauts see before they board the rocket.

It was also a real thrill the day I finished an inspection and crawled out of a rocket just in time to join my team and watch online the first launch of a rocket on which I had worked.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Getting to go inside the rockets and do something useful is pretty hard to beat. I love everything about my job. The atmosphere is amazing, everyone cares so much about their work, the missions and helping the rest of the team. Everyone all the way to Elon Musk at the top is super passionate and knowledgeable about the engineering and equipment and about making space travel happen.

Every day I feel like I have learnt a text book of cool information which is tough but very satisfying, and watching a rocket you have worked on lift off a launchpad with cheering and clapping is special.

Was your ambition always to focus on space engineering?

As long as I can remember I wanted to be an astronaut. In my Caterham Yearbook, I was voted one of the “most likely to go to space”, so I guess I wasn’t too quiet about my dreams.

Having applied once to be an astronaut and not getting it, I decided to be a little more proactive in chasing that dream. I looked up the backgrounds of astronauts and noted that some had done an astronautics degree, so quit my job and embarked on a post graduate astronautics degree.

What have been the most significant challenges you have had to face in your career to date?

It was a tough decision to quit my comfortable job to go back to university, especially since I enjoyed my job and had worked hard to get to where I was. It was daunting to move into a completely new industry of which I had no experience and very little knowledge, but I knew I had to at least try it.

I did wait till I had reached a milestone before launching into my new career in the space industry. I completed a Chartered Chemical Engineering qualification which focuses your first five years out of university as you need to do lots of different engineering and business types of experience, so it gives you something to aim for and structures the early stage of your career. Once I had that, I felt I could come back to it at a later date so it was a good time to try the astronaut route.

13 OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023
As long as I can remember I wanted to be an astronaut. In my Caterham Yearbook, I was voted one of the “most likely to go to space”, so I guess I wasn’t too quiet about my dreams.
NROL-87 landing

Do you see the importance of your work in space transcending one company or country?

Definitely one of the best things about working in this industry is the feeling of working on something so much bigger than yourself. So much scientific development is happening which affects both the space industry and life on earth, and then there is the excitement of simply exploring.

It is amazing seeing different countries and companies working together on a space programme. There are so many things that have to be considered, developed for space travel that it really needs a huge and varied team to tackle it and being part of that collaboration feels great.

What advice would you give to Caterhamians wanting to become an engineer or looking to work in the space industry?

The same for any industry, if you know you are interested in something put the effort in to research it and pursue it – don’t just look longingly from a distance. I feel Caterham gives pupils the opportunities and confidence to follow dreams.

Use whatever resources you can to figure out what you are interested in –take part in academic and extracurricular activities and if you are interested in engineering, do clubs where you can build stuff. My first attempt at getting space experience was joining an online annual NASA hackathon where you can team up with people and participate in a challenge.

Falcon 9 launches NROL-87 national security payload from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, followed by the first stage landing a few hundred metres away (the first launch of a rocket Alia worked on)

I did a week long residential at a university engineering department through the ‘Insight into University’ programme which helps you decide if you like that type of STEM subject or not. In my case the answer was not! So I knew to explore different types of engineering.

If you do not know people in jobs you are interested in, use the Caterham network, look at events and different talks on the subject. If you can get work experience in a related field it is super helpful even if it is not completely relevant to what you think you want to do, it will help you understand how businesses work, what kind of work environment you might like and help with networking which is how I got in the door for an interview for most of my roles.

Have goals to keep motivated and learning, take enjoyment and pride in your work and extra-curricular activities.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Ideally in space! I have applied to the European Space Agency to be an astronaut and whatever happens with my application it has been an amazing experience – meeting an astronaut, getting a tour of the European Astronaut Centre, seeing where they train as well as meeting the other inspiring candidates

and going through the process together. I will keep trying and keep the dream alive. For now I am content testing rockets and keeping an eye out for a spare seat on them if one comes up!

What is your favourite memory of Caterham, and why?

I have so many fun memories of Caterham – everything from the big events like being part of Jesus Christ Superstar musical production, choir trips, house competitions and sports days, to just hanging out in the boarding house with my boarding family, typically blasting Aladdin music through the house, to crazy experiments or field trips in science classes and general fun and games in the other classes.

Has there been a common thread from your time at Caterham through to what you do now?

Caterham encouraged me to become well rounded. I have always enjoyed keeping my learning and activities broad which has helped a lot as I have taken my roundabout route towards the space industry. School offered so many opportunities to do activities both academically such as the Moncrieff Jones Society as well as those focusing on the soft skills which are also so important. 

15 OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023
If you do not know people in jobs you are interested in, use the Caterham network, look at events and different talks on the subject.
Falcon 9 first stage test fire at SpaceX, McGregor Texas – the test stand on which Alia works, helping control the rockets during tests

You can watch the full interview with Alia on the CaterhamConnected Media Hub: resources

Any questions, you can contact Alia via the CaterhamConnected networking platform:

Launching Axiom Mission 1 astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Alia worked on the second stage of the rocket)

Gaming Magic

Ian shared his insights and practical advice for young Caterhamians keen to pursue a career in gaming and digital marketing, as well as a trip down memory lane from his days as a pupil at Caterham. Read the highlights of Clive and Ian’s interview below.

Despite working with brands known to almost every household, Ian somewhat fell into his career in the gaming industry. Ian’s first love was music but having studied music at university he realised that he was not destined to be a professional musician, so set about looking for a job in France. One result came from his search ‘English speaking person in Paris’ – a games company called Ubisoft requiring an online digital marketer. The role proved a perfect fit and one on which he has built a long enjoyable career in the world of games and apps. Ian’s entrepreneurial spirit was glimpsed early at Caterham School where he created various little businesses including a contraband tuck shop! Caterham also sparked his

interest in computers, he remembers in the Prep Mr Hoad had the Domesday Book on laser disk and the computer room in Shirley Goss was kitted out with 10 BBCs. Even back in the early 80s, Caterham pupils were really encouraged to use the latest technology.

Moshi Monsters to Moshi Kids –an app leading the way in helping millions of kids sleep better Mind Candy created Moshi Monsters with huge success in 2010-2013 and reached 100 million users, but as a PC based product struggled with the shift to iPads and phones. With the company needing new direction for a struggling brand, the founder of Mind Candy (Michael Acton Smith) appointed Ian as CEO, as he wanted to focus on his new product named Calm

17 OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023
OC Ian Chambers, Founder of Moshi Kids, interviewed by OC Clive Furness, current President of the Old Caterhamians’ Association The full interview is available on the CaterhamConnected Media Hub:

Ian commented: “We saw the success of the Calm and Headspace apps in the adult space of wellbeing and mindfulness so tried to recreate something for under 10s. Moshi Kids was born as an app to soothe kids and help them sleep better, it now has millions of users, and with several hundred million bedtimes made easier.”

Apps and children’s wellbeing not obvious bedfellows

“The reality of parenting is that kids now have access to devices so we need to focus on how to use them in a useful way to support their wellbeing. Our initial focus was on audio at bedtime – trying to create something to send them to sleep. We have now moved into schools and wider wellbeing, primarily in the US at this point, creating content that supports the social and emotional learning curriculum bringing it to life in a creative way, around gratitude, self-awareness and mental wellbeing. The science is fascinating, we have been advised by a world leading Doctor of Population Health who is on our board and who is a foremost academic on sleep, leading to our music being created in time with a child’s resting heartbeat, along with a combination of white noise, music and stories to help soothe and relax.”

Close up magic

Alongside his professional career, Ian is also something of a magician: “I started a little magic at school, but my enthusiasm for magic really took off at uni as the discipline of learning sleight of hand became my mindful activity. I think it is important to have a hobby outside of work, then again I also enjoy bringing my magic into work with the occasional magic show!”

Career opportunities in the online gaming industry

For young Caterhamians looking to follow in Ian’s footsteps, he is optimistic about the future: “You can just follow your passion, there is a huge range of jobs as the gaming industry is vast. For the development aspect of game design, there is programming, animators, actors, production, the list is endless. The publishing aspect requires more general skills for marketing, sales, finance etc. Subsequently most degrees could be relevant for some

aspect of the industry, but if you are interested in design, there are some specific games design courses such as at Brunel University.”

Show your curiosity

What advice would Ian give to young people looking to get a foot in the door?: “Your CV is a way to get an interview, that is all. We just want something short and to the point that shows your personality and demonstrates your curiosity.”

Memories of Caterham

Reflecting on his school days, Ian had some fond memories of Harestone Valley Road: “Long summer evenings playing cricket on Home Field, I loved playing cricket, watching cricket and scoring the matches. Humphreys Hall was the most special place for me being involved in every musical venture. The impact of a great teacher lasts a lifetime, and it was Andrew Leach, the Director of Music, who had a huge impact on me. He created a culture in the music department where you really wanted to spend time there and participate, creating an environment of joy and delight –something I have tried to recreate in the workplace.”

The Caterham influence on your career path

“The house system worked well at Caterham, I was in Emlyn then Harestone and I genuinely feel we built some strong relationships through the house. There were many opportunities to do different things – I learnt how to perform through presentations and music, solve problems through a variety of co-curricular clubs, and although I was never the most sporty, when I did participate there was always a lot to do. It always felt like a very caring school, when you are young you take it for granted because you don’t know any different, but now when I reflect on it, I was incredibly fortunate to be at such a happy school.”


Currently working with individuals and teams to help them unlock the magic in their business.

Most recently CEO at Moshi, creating the category leading IP in kids’ wellbeing.

Co-founding and leading the growth of IGN Entertainment’s international division from 2 English editions to 13 countries and 12 languages, making it the global leader in games and entertainment media with over 64million global unique visitors.

As Chief Digital Officer, the successful transformation and IPO of GAME Digital Plc on the London Stock Exchange in 2014.

Publishing the inaugural season of FIFA Ultimate Team and setting the early benchmark for ingame monetisation of a live service on console.

At Ubisoft, publishing numerous #1 AAA video games including Far Cry, Prince of Persia and Ghost Recon as well as being 1/3rd of the founding team of Uplay (now Ubisoft Club).

Magical audio stories for sleep

Ian’s magic website:

Ian can also be contacted via


As a professional singer, musician, actor and writer, former pupil Sarah Gabriel offers a candid insight into what it takes to enjoy a career in the performing arts.

Hitting the

High Notes

Described by Le Monde as ‘As fine an actor as she is a singer’ (Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), praised in The Guardian for her ‘springwater vocals’ (as vocalist for electro-folk band Air Loom at Supersonic festival), and for a performance that ‘just about undid me... magic of the highest order... absolute sorcery’ (with her Weimar Berlin cabaret band, The Blue Hour), Sarah Gabriel is a singer, writer and actor with a passion for working with artists of all disciplines.

Sarah had always loved acting, music and storytelling, with her first ‘gig’ playing the Prince in Snow White at junior school. However, discovering her passion for singing was a lucky accident! Her first public performance happened by chance at Caterham (Sarah joined the Sixth Form on an academic and music scholarship), when the soloist in a school concert got a sore throat, so Sarah jumped in at the last minute. From that moment, she was hooked.

This article includes a few highlights from Sarah's interview with current pupil and aspiring performer, Josh Campbell, which can be watched in full on the CaterhamConnected Media Hub:

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From the corridors of power to the concert hall stage

After an English degree at Cambridge, where Sarah was President of the Footlights, she became a speechwriter to fund her musical training – before the fates looked down on her once more: another last-minute stand-in saw her throwing a completed speech into the out-tray behind her and rushing off to the stage. Looking back, she notes that her last-minute dash through Westminster was the pivotal moment – the push she needed to make performing her career. Selected by the conductor Lorin Maazel as the only European singer to join his young artist programme, she made her operatic debut in the USA. In their interview, current pupil and aspiring actor Josh was keen to ask Sarah about the risks required for a performing career and the highlights that ensued.

Your career has spanned many areas, from performing opera and musical theatre to writing for the BBC Proms and the stage – what has been the most exciting project you have worked on to date?

My most exciting projects are always the ones I am working on! I am lucky to have played terrific roles across the world with great artists – conductors, directors, filmmakers, actors, dancers – including heroes who inspired me to perform in the first place. My priority is always to ensure that whatever I am doing right now pushes me further creatively than my previous work. So by definition, really, my current projects are always the ones I am most excited and passionate about.

And the joy of collaboration is crucial to me. For example, when I was commissioned to write and direct 

Sarah's solo show, Dorothy Parker Takes a Trip, National Theatre in Bucharest

a play for Aldeburgh International Festival (A House on Middagh Street – about Benjamin Britten’s time in a bohemian Brooklyn house-share with WH Auden, burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee, and the novelist Carson McCullers) I staged the show with some of my favourite actors in just a few days, and the whole experience was a joy! It was a little bit reckless and risky, and filled with wild imagination – it was like being a kid again!”

A career in the performing arts is a far cry from a 9 to 5 job – what does a typical working day look like for you? If there is one!

“You are right: for me, there isn’t one! I could be in the recording studio, in meetings about a forthcoming project, rehearsing with fellow musicians or actors, or improvising new material with a composer. I try to anchor singing practice, writing (which I recommend to everyone – it keeps us curious) and meditation into each day.

My mind rebels against routine – so I get lots done with ‘productive procrastination’ – tackling whatever I am itching to do. I also work in many different locations. It is certainly not recommended for everyone, but it was such a relief when I realised it is absolutely fine to need this kind of creative stimulation, as long as I get the job done to the standard I seek.”

What are you working on at the moment?

“Lots! I am rehearsing my solo play, Dorothy Parker Takes a Trip, for festivals in the UK and Europe. As a singer, I am working on a film score and a couple of albums. Writing includes a rom-com script I pitched at the Cannes Film Festival this year, which is something I never dreamed of doing, and I absolutely love it.

I would not be happy if my work was not this eclectic: and I do not say ‘yes’ to anything unless I know it has captured my imagination. Then I will tackle the job with intense focus –and each project enriches and informs the others.”

What traits are most useful to be successful in the performing arts?

“When I started to notice the traits that all of my favourite artists have, they almost seemed a bit boring at first. But they ensure results! They are

also skills that everyone can develop:

– Be consistent: in your preparation, rehearsals and performances. Treat every project with the same focus and respect. As the saying goes, ‘There is no such thing as a small gig; only a small performer’.

– Be resilient: commit fully to what you choose to pursue, take command of what you can control, and be philosophical about letting things go.

– Be curious: a wonderful director told me that the greatest actors are not the ones who are seemingly the most talented, but the ones who are most open. They become artists.

What advice would you give to other Caterhamians hoping to pursue a career in the performing arts?

Here are just a few thoughts:

Firstly, it is a vocation. My piano teacher told me: ‘Do not do this for a living unless you wake up one morning and know you will not be happy doing anything else.’ That was brilliant advice. I tried a ‘proper job’ just to make sure: and I almost punched my way through the office walls!

Establish your ‘team’. Find great teachers and creative kindred spirits; collaborate in any way you can. And keep in touch with people who support you along the way. Look out for your colleagues. Be generous.

Be utterly unafraid of asking for advice, but first: do your own research. For example, you will need to show a potential agent that you are proactive about your career; not just looking to be carried.

Decide that you are not nervous, but excited: learn to harness the magical symbiosis between performer and audience.

Take risks! Create your own work! Of course, it is possible to be solely an interpretative performer, but by exploring stories that matter to you, you will enhance the work you do with others too.

Enjoy how much we are enriched by our connection with other people … and please do not waste the tiniest smidgen of your energy on the idea of ‘competition’. You can only manage your career, working to become finest artist you can be.” 

You can find out more about Sarah’s diverse array of performances and collaborations at:

If you have any questions or are looking for advice, you can reach out to Sarah via:

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Thank you to all the parents, Old Cats and friends of the School who kindly volunteered their time and expertise for our series of engaging Insight Webinars and Insight Evenings, we were certainly enlightened and inspired across a range of topics and industries. Here are some highlights from the year...


The issues of Change and Climate were explored with an expert panel at the CaterhamConnected Insight Evening held at the Royal Academy of Engineering. Global leaders in sustainability, psychology and change management shared their expertise and networked with Sixth Form pupils, parents and Old Caterhamians. The sell-out evening was abuzz with conversations exploring positive examples of sustainability and why individuals, companies and whole societies resist change.

The evening was opened by keynote speaker Almuth McDowall, Professor of Organisational Psychology and an award winning researcher. Almuth combines an active career in academia with a portfolio of consultancy activities including consultancy with organisations who have enacted significant changes including the Metropolitan Police and the NHS.

Thank you to all our panellists: Dr Niall McCormack, Simon Virley, Robin Gwynn, Andrew Elmes, Olivia Garran, Claire Dunn, Dr Rachel Avery, Clare Black and Clive Furness. Thank you also to the Old Caterhamians’ Association for generously funding this event.

To find out more or to see photos and recordings of these events:




Professor Robert Cook gave a fascinating webinar on the role of the US government in the struggle for black civil rights, a topic still highly relevant today. The stunning similarities of the past and the present outlined just how much more we all need to do for racial justice to be achieved and drew brilliant links between past, present and future.

A recording of the webinar is available in the Media Hub of, the professional and social networking platform for the global school community.


England coach Eddie Jones hosted Rugby Luncheon guests for a fabulous afternoon at Twickenham Stadium. As well as providing an occasion to celebrate Caterham School Rugby and hear from Eddie Jones, the event supported our Transformational Bursaries appeal. Thank you to everyone who gave so generously on the day, and made this an event to remember for pupils and staff. Thanks also to Eddie Jones, Old Caterhamian Ewan Turney, Rob Davey, Mr Taylor and the Caterham Sports

team for enabling this fantastic event, we are looking forward to the next Rugby Luncheon on 9 September 2022 with Ugo Monye as our guest speaker.

Later in the year, lifetime memories were made when Eddie Jones visited the School and generously answered questions from our boys and girls senior squads before leading the pupils out on to Home Field for the best coaching session ever! Eddie also presented the 1st XV with their Colours.

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Old Cats, staff and former staff caught up over drinks in the Wilberforce Hall before enjoying the spectacular CaterhamConnected fireworks event. ‘Titch pitch’ played host to a fire lit family festival with Kat the Firedancer entertaining the crowd and the Parents’ Association ensuring everyone was amply fed and watered with mulled wine and local brewery beer, plus sweets and glow treats for the children. A huge thanks to the Parents’ Association and the whole Caterham community for making this happen.


It was wonderful to welcome back so many Old Cats to our first physical OCA event at school post lockdown. A late summer barbeque was enjoyed on Sandy Ross field with the beautiful backdrop of the School’s Old Park Woods. We look forward to doing it all again soon on 3 September 2022.



The Caterham School community gathered to remember the fallen on Sunday 14 November. The CCF led the service with an impeccable parade. Recognition must go to musicians and singers who took part in the Remembrance Service, the musical elements bring poignancy and depth to this most important occasion and this year included the introduction of bag pipes, played superbly by Mr Chris Sinclair. Coupled with the sound of the distant drums, the Hymn Amazing Grace signalled the start of the service. The Wind Orchestra was honoured to accompany the 150 strong parade of cadets with a march by Holst. The fantastic Trumpet Fanfare performed The Last Post – the sound echoed hauntingly across Harestone Valley.

During the Service, Chamber Choir and ETS sing the moving anthem Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep by Howard Goodall in a moving and expressive performance. The service was followed by the annual choral Recital of Reflection and Contemplation in the Wilberforce Hall. Pieces by Tavener, Tallis and Purcell were included in this most beautiful performance attended by parents, families and many Old Caterhamians.

We were delighted to welcome back to the School former staff who all taught for more than 20 years at the School and their wonderful contribution was acknowledged at the Remembrance Sunday lunch, as they became Honorary OCs.

Tom Murphy, Catherine Shelmerdine (known as Catherine Clifton at school), Janet Maddren (known as Janet Moy), Andrew Taylor, Stuart Barber and Gordon Wilkinson all joined Old Cats and the CCF for lunch. Rick Mearkle and Howard Tuckett also accepted honorary membership to the OCA this year, were unable to attend the lunch.

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In spite of the rain, Old Cats, staff, pupils and parents came together to cheer on the rugby and lacrosse. As always it is wonderful to see old friends and teammates reunite at this most cherished set of fixtures.


LACROSSE OCs 14 v 6 School

Old Caterhamians Recent Leavers v School match report

As the Old Cats from Class of 2020 and 2021 took on the School, it was lovely to see so many pupils come and play against us on a Sunday. It was also fabulous to see so many Old Cats come back for the match and to pick up a stick again which, for some, has been a long time –since we left school.

It was a hard fought match from the School but the Old Cats came up victorious with a 14-6 win. Goals were being scored by everyone on the pitch, which was very enjoyable to be a part of as we haven’t played together as a team for over two years. Thank you very much to all the staff from school for setting up such a good day, we look forward to returning next year.

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President’s XV 27 v 5 OCRFC XV

President’s XV v Old Caterhamians RFC XV match report A cloudy Sunday played host to the much-anticipated Presidents’ rugby game on Home Field. The early exchanges were tight with Old Cats taking the Presidents to the cleaners at scrum time but a sturdy defence and some crunching tackles from Anthony McGowan and Alex Corbett repelled the Old Cats early offence. The momentum swung and after Old Cats parted like a fresh haircut, Will Buxton came marauding into their 22. Lewis Young soon broke the defence with a dominant carry and crashed down on the line, the Presidents were up 5-0. Tyler Green followed with a terrible kick, 5-0. The first half remained tight with Old Cats dominating set-piece. Somehow, Oscar Nye was kept out after a great move off a lineout. The Presidents XV, continued to resist a barrage of attacks from their own 5-meter line and after a turnover from Fin Lach, Lachlan Coyle was able to send the ball soaring out of the Presidents half. The Presidents rebuilt and after some Old Cats penalties gifted territory, it only took a few storming runs from Alex Corbett and Kwesi Effina-Williams, until Fin Lach found the egg in his clutches and produced a partly brilliant and partly illegal forwards roll to touchdown. Another terrible Tyler Green kick kept the score at 10-0.

School Team: L-R Back Row: Alex Criscuolo, Lachlan Coyle, Tyler Green, Will Buxton, Fin Lach, Anthony McGowan, Tyler Norwood, Lewis Young, Max Robertson, David Hocking, Mathew Hannah, Ben Oliver. L-R Front Row: Toby Carter, Luke Denny, Wesley Poku, Alex Corbett, Kwesi Efina-Williams, Ben Herbert, Jemine Pinnick, Isaac Salem

The second half started with haste. Old Cats continued to monopolise the set piece and were starting to get some front foot ball after George Perry crashed into the Presidents’ defence. James Hanson’s kicking game keeping Old Cats on the front foot. The pressure took its toll with Presidents’ resident hot head Wesley Poku receiving 10 minutes in the bin for blocking a kick chase, something he profusely denies. Despite this set back, the Presidents, inspired by the presence of Manager Alex Criscuolo and Assistant Head of Beverages Grant Davidson, started to play the rugby of the day. Tyler Norwood got the Presidents moving off their own try-line, the ball moved up field with some silky skills from Ben Herbert as it advanced with David Hocking finishing off what was undoubtedly the best try ever. Isaac Salem got on the end of a perfect cross field kicks from Lachlan Coyle, rugby’s answer to Kevin de Bruyne, and crossed for another excellent try and after Luke Denny nudged over the first conversion of the day the score was 27-0. Old Cats had a brief second wind, with a brilliant forwards try being scored after a great set of crash balls from Ollie Brame and Alex Kelly. A very deserving score after being so strong upfront all day. It was a fantastic event and a very well contested game played in good spirits as always.

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OC Team: L-R Back Row: Cain Jones, Jonny Latimer, Daniel Dolce, Callum Eriksin, Warren Jackson (second team captain), Oscar Nye (Club Captain), James Mitchell, Ollie Brame, Alex Kelly. L-R Front Row: James Hanson, Thomas Clark, Ross Lever, Chris Mayell, Mikyle Woolford, Tom Clayton, Reece Nicholson, Callum Buchan, George Nye


Old Cats reminisced over festive fare at the Tokenhouse in Moorgate at the ever popular Old Cats Christmas lunch. Due to the success of the afternoon, we shall be returning there for our next Christmas lunch on Friday 2 December. Please contact if you would like to come.


What a wonderful evening as Old Cats from around the country came to together to be reunited with their boarding families in a cosy London pub.


The Headmaster and Will Pine (OC 1999) hosted a dinner in New York for the newly founded American Friends alumni group. It was great to see OCs who left Caterham School from 1951 and the youngest who left in 2013.



Wall to wall sunshine welcomed recent leavers and Old Cats of all generations back to school for the Spring Term Old Cats Sports Afternoon. A wonderful day of sport across netball, basketball, football and hockey brought familiar faces and plenty of smiles all round. A really super day of sport and friendship – and it was particularly good to welcome former parents back to school to cheer on the sides. Wins to the School were secured in basketball and netball with the Old Cats winning the hockey and football. See photos and match reports right and overleaf.

This year it was not just the recent leavers playing, we fielded two Old Cats Netball teams spanning Classes of 2005-2021. We’d love to see more Old Cats of all ages returning to join in the Old Cats Sports Days, so do get in touch if you would like to join in the fun next year:

Check out more photos of the day at:


School 23 v 18 Recent Leavers School 21 v 6 OCs

On a bright and sunny Sunday morning the First VII took to the courts to play two teams of Old Cats. It was lovely to catch up with some of the recent leavers and “old Old Cats” and enjoy playing some competitive netball in the sunshine. Despite missing a couple of players due to injury (Ronnie) and a half marathon effort (Joani) the first team won both matches. It was great to play against Miss Bucket who was my first form tutor and is an amazing netballer. There were some stand out goals from Katie Hudson who left a couple of years ago and Amelia Watson also shone in defence.

Highlights for our team was the versatility and watching Sharon have a turn at shooter – using her height and skills at the opposite end of the court from where she usually plays. All in all a great morning of netball and I look forward to this years leavers being able to return for the challenge next year.

Match report by Poppy Oliver, 2021/22 Captain (Upper Sixth)

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OC Team: L-R Back Row: Lucy Higginson, Rosie Craine, Emma Gooden, Susie Dunbar, Emily Buckett, Ria Acharya, Louise Gardner. Front Row: Katie Hudson, Amelia Watson, Hattie Park, Georgie Young , Cesci Adams (also played but not in this photo: Olivia Lindo and Katie Watson) School Team: L-R Back Row: Nicola F, Rianna R, Poppy O, Sharon G, Olivia E; Front Row: Rosie H, Imogen L, Julianne G, Ellie S, Willow P


School 49 – 44 OCs

We were delighted to once again go against the old boarders who we used to play. The game itself was competitive but enjoyable. With the current ability of the Upper Sixth squad, we took control of the rhythm and flow of the game, which eventually led us to victory. The Old Cats put up a great fight, with Jack Wang and Max Hristov leading the OC team in scoring. It was a memorable event and the highlight of the day was definitely when we all played 1v1 against Jack afterwards.

Match Report by Jeremy Chan, 2021/22 Captain (Upper Sixth). Also a special thank you to our table officials Ivan C and Jerry T (Fifth Years) OC Team: L-R Back Row: Matthew Olukoga, Mark Lee, Max Hristov (Captain), Jack Wang, Richard Lee. Front Row: Sasha Starodubsteva, Stanley M (Y3), Marcus C (L6), Marcus K (Y5), Harry Xu School Team: L-R Back Row: Jay Y, Jeremy C, Nagim I, Thomas Y. Front Row: Jerry N, Enzo P, Sihu J

HOCKEY School 5 v 6 OCs

The 1st XI stepped out for the penultimate time this term, this time facing a formidable line up of ex 1st XI Old Cats. Superstars from previous years littered the OCs team, with “brick wall” Dom Wells donning the kit again in goal, ex England U18 international Ollie Hamilton bossing the midfield and Alex Criscuolo’s sculpted arms providing some intimidation in the forward line. However the current 1st XI had firepower of their own; captain, leader legend Fraser B. leading the team out, the hugely athletic Austin T. providing cover at the back and the ever energetic Will S. providing some spark in attack.

The anticipation in the crowd was palpable, and the first half didn’t disappoint. Some slick attacking hockey and some loose defending made for an entertaining half with the teams going in to half time 2-2. The second half saw much of the same, chances at both ends, some unbelievable saves from both goalkeepers and some very expressive counter attacking hockey played. It all built to a crescendo, 5-5 as the game entered the final minute. The current 1st XI, after some exceptional team

defence, had the ball on the counter attack. Driving down the right hand side and with numbers committed forward in search of the winner, they turned the ball over as a result of a fantastic backhand tackle, and as the seconds ticked away the Old Cats burst forward. They entered the circle and a stretching Andrew J. in goal agonisingly couldn’t keep out the deflection. The Old Cats wheeled away in celebration, taking the game 6-5 and along with it, the bragging rights for another year.

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School Team: L-R Back Row: Andrew J, Josh B, Scott M, Sammy H, Will L, Casey M, Connor G. Front Row: Louie H, Fraser B, Cam M, Skyler B, Dexter B OC Team: L-R Back Row: Alex Criscuolo, Freddie Hull, Ned McGarvie, George Thomas, James Watt, Freddie Knox, Nick Van Dort, Dom Wells. Front Row: Isaac Salem, Toby Carter, Caelen Thomas, Oliver Hamilton, Kirsty Dymond, Matt Willmott


School 1 v 4 OCs

Old Cats weekend always delivers exciting sporting events and the Old Cats vs School football match certainly did not disappoint. With a side containing leavers from 2018 right through to 2020, a competitive first half saw the Old Cats emerge 1-0 up having absorbed some heavy pressure from the school team, Old Cat Theo Boutell the goal scorer. Nonetheless, the Old Cats looked dangerous each time they went forward. The School team was aided by the abilities of three staff, Mr Ware, Mr Salem and Mr Friend. A combination of the latter’s introduction and the resumption of the high possession, intense pressure from the School team finally made the Old Cats pay. The winger on the school side cut into the penalty area from the right hand side and placed a low shot on goal. The shot then fell kindly into the path of Mr Friend via a deflection, levelling the game with the keeper stranded.

It now looked as if the game was only headed in one direction. Following this, a ball played through from the school landed at the feet of Josh B placing him one on one with the goalkeeper. It looked as if there was only going to be one outcome however a smart smothering save from the keeper appeared to turn the game on

its head. As from the resulting clearance the Old Cats sprung to life on the attacking front. A flurry of good chances eventually meant that it was that man again, Theo Boutell, whose stinging shot proved just too much for the keeper to handle. The score 2-1 to the Old Cats with time quickly running out. Naturally hints of desperation began to seep into the School team. Inevitably, the School were left open for the counter attack and having almost scored an amazing solo goal moments before, up steps Dylan Page to slot in the crucial 3rd goal.

With the game decided, as the School pressed for a consolation, it was 2018 leaver Tom Larsson who neatly tucked away a 4th at the death. Full time Old Cats 4, the School 1. Special mention to Old Cat Vice Captain Caelan Thomas who was crucial to keeping the midfield battle alive even when under intense pressure and to Fraser B on the school side who, after the game, a (potentially mis-informed) parent described as the best player on the pitch. A gripping game in beautiful weather. What more could one hope for?

Match Report by Isaac Salem (OC 2020)



The history of Caterham School was brought to life as OCs from 1953 through to 1979 shared their school experiences with Third Year pupils at the OCA’s Over 60’s Summer Reunion

A nostalgic lunch was served in the old Dining Hall, now known as the Wilberforce Hall, followed by tours of the School. It was wonderful to hear memories from Old Cats who attended Caterham School in the 1950s, reminiscing about their time in boarding when visiting Mottrams and Beech Hanger, as well as lessons in Shirley Goss. Many of whom had not visited the School in some time and were impressed with all the new buildings and facilities over the last few decades.

Over afternoon tea, pupils heard stories about the OCs’ former teachers, lessons, pranks and daily life (especially in the boarding houses) and enjoyed looking at the memorabilia brought in. The event was a chance for the current pupils to provide the visitors with an insight into the changes and continuities of academic and co-curricular life at Caterham now.

Being back on the School grounds certainly evoked lots of memories for the OCs and provided a chance for current pupils to find out first-hand about the history and traditions of the School.

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Old Cat teams entered into a number of alumni sporting events last year, all were a great success and saw people rekindle old and start new friendships. We have plenty more events in the pipeline, such as Cross Country on Saturday 17 September across Wimbledon Common, and 6 aside Hockey at Haileybury on a Sunday 18 September 2022.

It was great to see the leavers of 2015 come back and play Hockey against the 1st XI on a Friday evening during Easter, an initiative instigated by OC Adam Morley. It was a fiercely contested and fantastic match, the School 1st XI were victorious with a scoreline of 3-1. For the School they were notable performances by Fraser Bailey and Conor Greer; and for the OCA there were great performances by Adam Morley and James Foggin. We are looking to do this more across all sports so just let me know if you have any suggestions.

This year we are looking to enter teams for alumni Tennis (again); Rugby 7s; Swimming; Cricket (again); Netball summer league; Basketball; Badminton and Squash. However this is all dependent on numbers, so please get in touch if any of these may be of interest. Ultimately we can help facilitate this but it crucially hinges on your participation.



After a relatively interrupted 2021 golfing season, it was a treat to be back in full swing with three meetings confirmed in the diary for 2022. First up was our Spring Meeting at Rye Golf Club that was very well attended, with Charlie Waud (OC 2005) and Julia Choudhary (OC 1984) taking the spoils. We have our Summer Meeting at The Addington, followed by our Winter Meeting at Walton Heath later in the year. The Old Caterhamians Golfing Society is in good health with nearly 100 members now – and we would encourage others to join in the fun.

Find out more:

Old Cats Cross Country team 2021 for the Thames Hare and Hounds race: Eloise Bull (OC 2018), Will Rady (OC 2014), Joe Stanley (OC 2015), Hanro Rossouw (OC 2014) OC v 1st XI back at school


Pupils across the School enjoyed a wonderful day of Jubilee celebrations. In Pre-Prep they learnt how to play some traditional playground games, completed a Jubilee Scavenger Hunt around the woods, tried out some 1950’s dance moves and even had a Q&A session with the Queen! Followed by a magnificent royal tea party where pupils tucked into special cupcakes featuring the winning cake topper designs. In the afternoon the pupils were entertained with a traditional (well, modified!) Punch and Judy show. It was lovely to see the children having such fun and even trying out some of their new dance moves on the school field at break time. Donned in Jubilee dress up, Prep pupils enjoyed a juggling and magic show after a game of Puttocks; whilst the Senior School celebrated in style with a Street Party lunch of traditional British fare.

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Sixth Form pupils continued to make weekly phone calls to our Old Cats over the age of 80 to update and reminisce together about Caterham School. The initiative started over the first lock down to support our older Old Cats. The project has clearly made an impact not only on our pupils, who thoroughly enjoy hearing about experiences and stories from times gone by, but more so for our Old Cats who are delighted to pass some time sharing memories and hearing of the changes that modern society has brought to school life.

We are thrilled that as a result of these calls some lost friendships have been reconnected, as we heard from one 98 year old Caterhamian: “Thanks to Annie & David who put me in contact with another OC and with the help of his and my daughters, in July I met up with him whom I hadn’t ‘seen’ since we left school and it was wonderful to reminisce over the good old days.”

If you have not received a call as yet and would appreciate one, please contact our alumni office to arrange one:


Parents and staff pitted their wits to win the coveted PA Quiz Night Trophies, or the honourable last place, complete with wooden spoons, in an evening of questions, music and pictures. Each table was allocated a ‘quiz host’ from a TV quiz. The winners were ‘Team 1 – Sue Barker’ beating second place ‘Team 6 – Davina McCall’ by half a point, the wooden spoon winners were ‘Team 3 – Anne Robinson’. Well done everyone!

The excellent quiz, together with bar sales, raised in excess of £1,000 for the PA Charities. Many, many thanks to Mr Stuart Terrell, our quizmaster, and all those who organised this event and we hope for even more quizzers next year.

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Top: Winning quiz team Bottom: Wooden spoon winners


As the lights rose on the opening night of our Senior School Production My Fair Lady, it was clear that something special was about to happen; theatre was back. When auditions were held back in June, we couldn’t be sure that a live performance would be able to go ahead after two years of continued uncertainty, but we charged on none the less with a fantastically resilient and determined cast. The pupils worked with enthusiasm and diligence, taking the uncertainty in their stride, and working tirelessly on their harmonies, dance numbers and comic dialogue to bring you a ‘loverly’ production; and they did not disappoint!

© Big Image Photography


We were delighted to welcome Mark Hitchman, Managing Director of Canon Medical Systems UK to Caterham School for the annual Moncrieff Jones Society Christmas Lecture. This year’s lecture enthralled the audience with the questions and debate post presentation flowing long into the evening – a measure of the fascinating content and thought provoking lecture.

At some point in our lives we are all likely to find ourselves inside a CT or MRI Scanner, let alone that these are increasingly also important as a screening tool for disease avoidance: the holy grail of medicine. Canon are at the forefront of developing a new generation of medical equipment, using artificial intelligence to not only diagnose disease and other ailments, but to predict them before they happen. The earlier conditions can be diagnosed the better the prognosis for the patient. It is not a question of when this technology will be invented – Mark Hitchman and his team at Canon have already done that and continue to do so – but when will we start using it routinely, and how, and what are the challenges and risks?

The evening also marked the launch of two of Caterham’s pupil produced science journals – Quantum Ultimatum and the Caterham Medical Journal.


We were delighted to see so many members of our school community join us to celebrate our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion journey over the past two years. The evening was hosted by our Sixth Form Heads of School who presented the steps we have taken towards creating a culturally inclusive environment, challenging inequality and valuing our diverse community. They were joined by Candice (Fifth Year) and Jas (Third Year), forming an inspiring team, who gave an authentic and powerful account of the positive impact our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work has had on them and the wider school community. Response to the evening was overwhelmingly positive, recognising the importance of openness within this journey, the learning needed to progress and the significant achievements of the past two years.


Many thanks to all the parents who supported our event at the Surrey National Golf Club on the Saturday evening, and of course to Laura Terrell for organising the event. Thanks also to the volunteer parents who helped on the night, a good time was had by all and well over £4,000 was raised for our chosen charities!

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© Caterham Photography


Our Autumn Concert saw the return of live, orchestral music at Caterham School – marked by performances by the magnificent Symphony Orchestra, comprised of all instrumental ensembles: Sinfonia, Wind Orchestra, Flute Ensemble, Boarders’ Ensemble, Drum/Percussion groups, Trumpet Ensemble and more. Symphony Orchestra is all-inclusive and gives all of our instrumental musicians the opportunity to immerse themselves into large-scale orchestral works and perform with their peers. Congratulations to all of the talented and hard-working musicians who gave stunning performances of well-known musical and film scores. They were quite simply, outstanding and the standing ovation from the audience is testament to their achievements. Bravo!



House flags were flying across the Harestone Valley Campus as pupils, teachers and parents gathered for the fun and competition of Sports Day 2022. There was a festival atmosphere, fuelled by the pent-up excitement of being able to hold such a large-scale cross-year group event after years of bubbles and distancing – and the Street Food Fayre lunch on Eothen helped too!

With MC Salem, our DJ and commentator for the afternoon, spirits stayed high as the pupils battled to beat the school records listed in the Leathem Pavilion so the young athletes had no doubt about their targets.

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© Simon Callaghan


Be stubbornly optimistic was the inspiring challenge laid down to Caterhamiams of all ages by stellar Speech Day guest of honour Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock. The space scientist and presenter of The Sky at Night revealed how her dreams of space, inspired by The Clangers, became a reality through her determination not to be held back by multiple changes of school and taking every opportunity that she could. Dr Aderin-Pocock confirmed that she sees her diagnosis of dyslexia as a superpower, enabling her to see and think about things in a different way to others. The assembled audience was treated to a whistle stop tour of telescope development, including the VLT (very large telescope!) and the ELT (extremely large telescopes) being built and allowing a more detailed examination of space.

The three pupil Heads of School gave a warm but humorous insight into their careers at Caterham School with tributes paid to the entire departing Upper Sixth Form. In addition to the raft of prize winners, the achievements of the whole school community were celebrated with particular mention by the Headmaster of the support for each other during the pandemic, for the school’s first Giving Day raising funds for Transformational Bursaries and for the support of Ukrainian families who have joined the school since the start of the war earlier this year.

Speech Day is a long-standing tradition of Caterham School and it was wonderful to see the impossibly large marquee full once again. As the ceremony closed and families spilled out onto the margins of Home Field for drinks, the OCA versus the 1st XI begun their cricket match, giving parents, OCs and pupils the perfect excuse to enjoy a summer’s afternoon basking in the sun and the glow of a successful school year completed.

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© Picture Partnership




School 168/10 (15.2 overs) v OCs 146/9 (20 overs) School won by 22 runs

As people began to disperse from the Speech Day tent, old faces came tumbling back on to Home Field and cricket was at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

The Old Cats team was made up of last year’s leavers who didn’t get the chance to take part in this fixture last year thanks to Covid.

The Old Cats made a very strong start to the game with Toby Whelan, freshly back from his time playing cricket in Australia, taking four wickets in his first three overs and ripping the batting line-up to pieces. However, Fraser Bailey managed to stay off strike and away from the serious heat that was being bowled. Once facing the other bowlers Fraser managed to stay in long enough to get his eye in and with his very last chance made his first 100 for the 1st XI. He was finally bowled out by Rohan Patel on 109. The team had set the Old Cats a target of 168.

Then the dangerous Caterham 1stXI bowling line-up came out to play and before they could blink the Old Cats had one run for four wickets, with Callum N and James Cripps sweeping them up. However, the Old Cats were not done there. The dangerous Number 11, Joe Haynes, came in and smashed the boys around the park making 53 from just 21 balls. This made the match much closer than might have been expected considering the top order collapse.

It was a great match for some of the boys to sign off from their Caterham cricket careers. Match report by Fraser Bailey (Class of 2022), Captain 1st XI

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OC Team: L-R Back Row: Krispin Kellaway, Louie Steel, Finn Lock, Alex Mabbutt, Rohan Patel. L-R Front Row: Ben Herbert, Toby Whelan, Andrew Savage, Connor Stephanos, Ben Haynes, Freddie Knox, Ollie Cannell School Team: L-R Back Row: Max T, Jacob H, Callum N, Tom H, George D, Louis A|. L-R Front Row: Felix C, James C, Fraser B, Ethan W, Jonny N


A huge thanks must go to the Parents’ Association Casino Night Summer Ball Committee for organising such a fabulous evening. It was wonderful to see so many leavers, parents, Old Cats and friends of the school come together to enjoy the magic and dance the night away. A truly memorable way to end the year for Class of 2022.

© Caterham Photography


Saturday 7 May 2022 saw the first Eothen reunion since the end of lockdown. The day started with the memorial to former Headmistress, Diana Raine, who was at the helm for 19 years from 1973-1992. The memorial structure was taken from instructions that Diana had left for her funeral, which included her favourite hymn, readings and music. The service was conducted by Caterham’s resident pastor, Julian Thomas, with readings and eulogies sent in by former staff and old girls. You can view a recording of the occasion at

After the service, a reunion lunch was held, attended by nearly 100 old girls and former members of staff as well as five members of Diana Raine’s family. Judging from the chatter and laughter everyone had a good time with an impromptu singalong by Geraint Jenkins who sang Ar hyd y nos in Welsh (All Through the Night) as a reprise of his television performance in 1978.

An Eothen fund has been created by Caterham School in Diana Raine’s memory. For more information, please contact

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IN THE ARCHIVES Eothen: A Story in 10 Photographs

A little-known story of Eothen School’s past is told through ten nostalgic photographs.

1Catherine Pye and her sister Winifred founded Eothen in January 1892. There were humble beginnings – the School began at a modest house on Harestone Hill with eight pupils and two staff. Catherine had been inspired to set up a good education for girls after winning an exhibition scholarship to Newnham College in Cambridge, two years earlier. At that time, Newnham was newlyfounded, and one of the first women’s colleges of its kind in Britain, and indeed, the world.

2The School was growing in size. By the following year – 1893, when the first surviving Eothen photograph was taken, the numbers had risen to twenty-two. A new school was built nearby, and the name “Eothen” decided – a Classical Greek term for ‘from the east’, or ‘from the dawn’. In just under a decade since founding, the number of pupils stood at fifty-five. 


3The year 1899 sees the earliest surviving, clothbound copy of the Eothen Magazine. It is in fact, the second magazine, as the first no longer remains. We find an incredibly rare and captivatingly fascinating glimpse into school life – from a trip to the Natural History Museum in London, to the results of recent girl’s cricket games – all painting a lively picture. There are an intriguing array of articles, with headlines such as “A Journey in South Africa”, and “Pharmacy as a Profession for Women”

5In 1914, Catherine Pye wrote that the new term had begun in “new and strange conditions”. The School was only twenty-two years old when WWI broke out in July. It is often forgotten that there were, at one time, boys at Eothen – shown here in these two photographs from 1900. It is almost certain that one, if not more of these children photographed are the ones that appear in the magazine as serving in the war fifteen or so years later. Miss Pye wrote that “we think constantly of them.”

4The whole school in 1908. The same year saw the first Eothen pupil go to university; M.I Barnes also went to Newnham College, just like her headmistress, Catherine Pye. In ‘Independent Spirit’, Nigel Watson writes that it soon “became a tradition… to celebrate every university place by lighting up the school grounds with lanterns and fairy lamps.”

6In 1923, nearby “Hadley” was purchased to fulfil “growing needs”. Everyone was particularly excited about a tennis court that came with the house. The following year, “Clare” was bought. Both Clare and Hadley were pretty, old-world Victorian houses, and were first used by the juniors as form rooms and for boarding. The schoolhouses were later born, with the nostalgic names of “Shakespeare”, “Darwin”, “Scott” and “Nelson”. Emma Morris became headmistress in 1938 after Catherine Pye retired.

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WWII was a war like no other – the conflict was no longer restricted to the battlefield. This is clear in the two major episodes of wartime excitement at Eothen. One, when a bomb fell on the billiard room roof at Clare House in 1941, needing the fire-brigade and an hour or more for a blaze to be put out. An even more dramatic night-time incident happened in 1944 when another incendiary bomb ploughed through the headmistress’ own pillow – very luckily whilst she was not there! 8


Diana Raine became headmistress in 1973, and later wrote that she “spent a pleasant few weeks exploring”. At this point, the buildings, corridors, rooms and grounds were in a tired state, and during her time at Eothen, Miss Raine set about livening the place up. It was later written that her “enthusiasm was felt in every aspect of school life”.

From celebrity guests such as VaughanWilliams (of lark-ascending fame) to fond memories of Mary Robinson’s carol singing, Eothen had always had a magical connection with music. Imogen Holst (pictured) – daughter of the intergalactic orchestral composer – was a pupil at the school for a time, and later returned as a teacher. Imogen was fond of the school, to the point where she composed an entire orchestral suite, entitled “Eothen”! 9 The school’s choirs also became very familiar with the local composer Eric Thiman, who accompanied them on the piano (and in some cases, the organ!). This link with Thiman would inspire one of the modern choirs today at Caterham School, “ETS” – Eric Thiman Singers. ETS often sing in the same church as the Eothen choirs before them.

The School had a long and illustrative history spanning 103 years, but a new chapter was beginning – the merger with Caterham School. Happening for a number of reasons, a co-ed school would be formed when the two joined together. Although there was much talk of 1995 being the School’s ‘last year’, I struggle to find proof that Eothen ever finished – the spirit very much lives on. Perhaps the lasting legacy is Eothen’s motto, which remains at the heart of our school community: ‘veritas sine timore’ – truth without fear. 

Acknowledgements: Vivien Parsons, Secretary of the EOGA – for her kind help in providing photographs
old EOGA
containing lots of excellent school-day anecdotes! Mr Bagnall, Archivist – for his incredible work in compiling the School’s archives!
Fancy a trip down memory lane? You can explore the school’s archive at © Nigel Luckhurst


Ron Ayers MBE, designer of the record breaking ThrustSSC and current Caterham School grandparent, joined budding engineers and members of the Caterham School Car Club, Josh P and Marcus L, to answer questions about his work designing the fastest car in the world and his passion for engineering.

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This article features highlights from the full interview which can be watched in full, alongside a video explaining how Thrust SSC was designed, on the CaterhamConnected Media Hub:

ThrustSSC currently holds the land speed record, but Ron has not stopped there and at the age of 90, is currently the chief Aerodynamicist for the Bloodhound LSR – the next car hoping to beat his own land speed record.

How did you get involved in designing Thrust SSC, and what did it involve?

I met Richard Noble who at the time held the land speed record with Thrust2. He had achieved 633 miles per hour and wanted to try again, but this time go faster than the speed of sound.

At that stage I had no intention of getting involved, I told him “Don’t be stupid, you’ll kill yourself!”

But by chance I met Richard a couple of months later and told him that, having had a chance to consider the problems, I felt that it might be possible after all. He jumped at the opportunity – he is that type of person, give him half a chance and he is off!

How and where do you test the fastest car in the world? You test it very carefully indeed! If you start going too fast in a car that is not well designed for it, then it can do a backflip; or if the fin is not big enough, it will spin. In either case, you just need to ensure that your driver is experienced enough to handle it.

You start off with a lot of theoretical work to decide how to get all the thrust required and how to stabilise the car. For ThrustSSC, the nose is angled down at the front of the car to prevent air getting underneath, thus keeping it on the ground so there is no risk of it flying up in the air at full speed. You design for safety over speed. Then you gradually build up the speed once you have confidence in the shape you have created.

There are not many places in the world suitable for testing a car this fast, it requires somewhere very large and flat. They tend to be water laid places that flood in winter so when the water dries out in the summer, they leave very flat surfaces such as salt or mud flats. You can locate these from satellites, the one we used recently was a water lake mud flat in South Africa with 12

unobstructed. 

miles Ron with his supersonic test model that was used at Pendine – accelerated to 800mph in 1 second with multiple sensors to test whether his predictions were on track. It is when this correlated with his calculations that the eureka moment came and they decided to progress. [1994] L–R: Josh, Ron and Marcus

How do you feel when you are on the start line about to embark on breaking the land speed record?

Very nervous because people that have tried to break the land speed record have killed themselves. Although I may not be driving, I do not want to be responsible for killing the driver – because he is a nice chap! So we started with great caution and no certainty that we would succeed in breaking the record. We just took it step by step – first trying 500 mph, then 530 mph – and so on, each time checking that everything is working as it should. We ran the car 66 times. You do not just get in and blast off –you take a lot of precautions and measurements.

Were you always interested in cars and speed?

No. Actually I was interested in aircraft because that was what I grew up seeing – I was young during World War 2 and I can remember crouching under the dining room table while bombers flew overhead. I also heard Spitfires chasing them. The next day I, and all my school friends would scour the streets, collecting pieces of aircraft and shell cases.

I had a head-start with my engineering career as my dad was an engineer, so as young as 10 I would don some overalls and help him out. I started my career as an apprentice in an aircraft engineering company and took an engineering degree with the apprenticeship, which gave me both the practical and theoretical side which are equally important for engineering.

What do you see as the next development in land speed record breaking vehicles?

At 90, I am now theoretically retired but that does not stop me thinking and I have an idea for one more speed record to find the fastest car powered by hydrogen. That would be a valid thing to do, to show how fast hydrogen could go. We have a lot of things to find out first, but I think we could achieve 350 mph with a hydrogen powered car. You are the first to hear this – but if I can get some support that is what I would like to do.

Advice for Caterhamians interested in engineering? Engineering is such an all-embracing topic that there is probably not a school subject that can be ignored. Keep an open mind. Engineering is about asking lots of questions and finding the answers. 


ThrustSSC or Thrust SuperSonic Car is a British jet car developed by Richard Noble, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers, and Jeremy Bliss

Engine: two Rolls-Royce Spey 202 turbofan

Manufacturer: SSC Programme Limited

Predecessor: Thrust2

Successor: Bloodhound LSR

If you have any questions or are looking for advice on a career in related areas, you can contact Ron via the CaterhamConnected networking platform:

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Bloodhound LSR the successor to ThrustSCC Enormous intakes for the jet engines on ThrustSCC © Stefan Marjoram © Charlie Sperring

If you are a racing enthusiast, you might be interested in joining us at our CaterhamConnected event at the final at Brands Hatch on 9 October 2022. For further details, please email


In May, Third and Fourth Year pupils raced their Greenpower Electric Race Car at Goodwood Motor Circuit. They have been assembling the car, along with designing the bodywork since September and after lots of hard work and resilience they were finally able to put their efforts to the test.

The day consisted of two 90-minute endurance races where the team tried to complete as many laps as possible on their two batteries. Our first race was fantastic and after completing nine laps, we finished in 34th place with an average speed of over 20 mph. After a battery change and a few tightened bolts, Race 2 kicked off but sadly the car had to be retired after a couple laps. While this was a disappointing end to the day, the team are excited to fix the race car and get back on the track soon. For our first event the team performed admirably and learned an incredible amount that they can carry through into the racing season next year.

A big thank you must go to the Parents’ Association who have kindly sponsored this project for the past year. Their financial assistance has been invaluable and made this whole project possible.

Bloodhound Education Visit

Rob Bennet, chief science communicator for Bloodhound education, visited the Prep to give an awesome workshop along with Ron as part of Science Week. They gave the pupils a fascinating insight into the amazing work behind the scenes for the ThrustSSC and Bloodhound LSR projects. They then led an action packed day bringing to life the history and ongoing efforts to break the land speed record resulting in an inspirational practical demonstration including a big ‘BANG’ for combustion and thrust to building and launching air compressed cars.



an interview with Raymund Chao

Alongside Mr Jones I recently had the opportunity to interview Raymund Chao, Chairman of PwC Asia Pacific and Chairman and CEO of PwC China. Mr Chao knows Caterham School well as his daughter has been a boarder since 2019.

When enquiring about his route into PricewaterhouseCoopers, and his motivations for joining the professional services and accounting industry, I learnt that Mr Chao knew that he wanted to be a professional accountant during his university studies. He took a proactive approach and decided to pick up the phone and start calling Human Capital Leaders of firms even though they had finished recruiting for the year. Fortunately, he was offered an interview the next day and was hired within ten minutes! Once graduated from Wilfred Laurier university in Canada, Mr Chao joined Clarkson Gordon in Toronto. Later he returned to Hong Kong and joined Arthur Andersen, as he was attracted to its culture and values, and it was 10 years later that Andersen merged with PwC in China. Soon after he decided to move to Beijing, where he raised his daughter. Mr Chao was

there for 12 years before moving back to Hong Kong, where he took on his current roles at PwC. The Chairman position at PwC Asia Pacific involves, amongst other things, coordinating a lot of the investment activities of various PwC firms in the region and trying to align and create synergies of the firms’ revenue streams. As the CEO and Chairman of PwC China, Mr Chao determines strategy and manages a business of roughly 20 billion HKD, which has doubled since he took on the role. However, he said that the most rewarding aspect of his role is managing the people, and every day he reminds himself that every decision made is impacting 23,000 employees.

Considering that environmental, social and corporate governance is an increasingly important aspect to how businesses are run, I asked Mr Chao how PwC incorporates ESG into its

You can watch the full interview with Raymund on the CaterhamConnected Media Hub: resources

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own policies and processes. Mr Chao advocated that ESG and particularly climate change is currently one of the most important issues for every organisation, country and government. He went on to say that there is no one set of solutions, and so requires everyone to work together in order to make a difference for the next generation and beyond. PwC has committed as a network of firms to achieve net zero by 2030, which he admitted is a very aggressive goal. Specific initiatives are already in place to ensure that the firm is on its path to achieve that target. For example, 100% of electricity in PwC offices in China is green energy, and policies have been set to measure carbon emissions in relation to travelling and meeting clients. He emphasised that the success of these policies is in building a shared culture and mind-set, as this is an issue that will bring people together in a world of divisiveness.

On the topic of establishing a culture within an organisation, I asked Mr Chao how PwC involves itself in the debate around diversity and inclusion. I was intrigued to learn that he nominated one of his partners as a leader on the matter, to look at every appointment, every promotion, and day-to-day operations into how the management embeds diversity and inclusion in everything. About three years ago he signed a CEO statement of commitment to diversity and inclusion, specifically the implementation of Women’s Empowerment Principle’s launched by UN Women. I found particularly insightful his perception that diversity helps to create and promote innovation, especially given that PwC is an international organisation. I asked Mr Chao about his biggest achievement in growing PwC’s business in China. He pointed out that over and above doubling the business and its workforce, his focus has always been about working with talented people to navigate various challenges. He highlighted that businesses are very dynamic, and so there is a strong need to implement new skills and develop people to stay relevant in the market, and in order to help clients solve important problems.

When discussing the people he manages, and his belief that creating organisational culture is imperative, Mr Chao revealed that when recruiting graduates today he places a focus on

whether they hold the same values as PwC – such as its integrity, care, working together and reimagining the possible. He emphasises the importance in graduates understanding their own values and deciding whether the organisation they are applying for shares those values. Concerning the increasing popularity of degree apprenticeships in the UK, Mr Jones enquired into PwC’s stance on recruiting people that have left school. Mr Chao commented that PwC Asia and China currently only hires from university graduates today, although he acknowledges that this may change in the future. Finally, I asked what advice Mr Chao would give to Sixth Form pupils at Caterham in choosing a career path. He underlined the importance of exploring different interests and ultimately pursuing a career that you are interested in, and the passion and energy created as a result will lead to success.

From a parent perspective Mr Chao and Mr Jones discussed the benefit of boarding at Caterham in getting students out of their comfort zone, in addition to becoming more independent, building confidence and learning how to handle things. In his family’s case it was his daughter that chose to study in the UK, and at Caterham School specifically after she conducted some careful research. Caterham’s friendly and kind environment was a key factor in her choice. Mr Chao’s advice to new parents sending their children to board for the first time was don’t be too worried, it’s all part of the journey and your children will be safe and well looked after by Mr Jones and his staff! 

When recruiting graduates today Mr Chao places a focus on whether they hold the same values as PwC – integrity, care, working together and reimagining the possible.


Esports in

In her gap year Emma returned to Caterham Prep to teach sport, and it is this love of sport which led to an impressive career in the sports industry: from Head of Marketing of Brentford Football Club to her current position as part of a new talent team recently created at Electronic Arts Sports. Along the way she was awarded a Sports Industry Next Gen Leader – a highly coveted award for any professional aged 30 or under working in the UK Sports Industry.

Emma’s current multi-faceted role keeps her busy dawn to dusk – but she always has time for a family dinner. A key part of her job includes creating content for partner channels from the National Football League to the players themselves. The National Football League Draft (known as NFL Draft or officially the Player Selection Meeting) is an annual event when the most elite American Football players at college level are selected. These young players, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, are suddenly faced with a mind-blowing change in lifestyle being offered multi-million-dollar bonuses and in need of support in how to market and present themselves.

Job satisfaction

Reflecting on the best aspect of her current role, Emma was quick to identify her colleagues: “I love the people … from working with the athletes themselves through to everyone involved in the process of making the video games. Electronic Arts is one of the most inclusive companies in the world, they encourage you to be yourself … we really are just ‘kids at work’!”

Army ambition

Emma was a high-performance athlete representing her region and university in Women’s Rugby, so perhaps it is not surprising she currently works in the sports industry.

Yet her initial ambition was to join the army with the Intelligence Corps. Consequently she studied Politics at Exeter but after spending her first year splitting her time between studies, the army and rugby, towards the start of second year she realised the need to focus on one or the other. When her South West England Rugby trials fell on the same day as her Junior Officer exam, the decision was made – she chose to attend the trails and resigned from the officer training corps.

Her love of rugby started at Caterham, “I am hugely grateful to the time and encouragement Mr Lavery gave –he was such an inspiring coach. I love that rugby is so inclusive – it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are – there’s a role for everyone in a rugby team. I played Wing for Old Cats (OCRFC) as I was a lot smaller than most on the team at the time and I was blind side flanker when not playing club level.”

Women in football

Emma has always used sport as a driver in changing attitudes for the better. She is currently Co-Chair of the EA’s Women’s Employee Resource Group’s Orlando Chapter, sits on the Women in Football’s Marketing & Finance Committee and whilst at Brentford FC championed diversity.

“Due to my love of rugby, I have always been part of a female minority in a male dominated world.

It is a challenge being a female trying to make changes in the world of football, as can be clearly seen by the need for organisations such as ‘Kick It Out’ football’s equality and inclusion organisation. As a female analyst, there were a number of times that I was directed to the wives box rather than the media box. Even as Head of Marketing, I suffered trolling abuse for which the CEO at Brentford needed to get involved. It also became clear when I was hiring, how underpaid I was.

Jacqui Oatley, who was the first female sports presenter to commentate on Match of the Day, has been an inspiration to me, and I was fortunate be mentored by her during my problems with trolling – as she was on the board of Women in Football, and was willing to give me the support I needed at the time. So as soon as a role came up at EA to support other women, it was an opportunity to give back.”

Esports now and tomorrow

Esports certainly plays a large role in young people’s lives now, at Caterham our pupils now compete in esports fixtures from the Innovation Centre in addition to traditional sports. We asked Emma does she think esports has come

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OC Emma Waldren (née Cross Vetriano), currently Global Creator Strategy & Partnerships at Electronic Arts Sports, chats with Felicity Sewell, Caterham's Director of Sport about her experiences working in sports and esports. You can watch the full interview with Emma and Felicity on the CaterhamConnected Media Hub:

of age and what progression does she see for esports over the coming decade: “Gaming is now cool, not nerdy. There has been a massive cultural shift with those who play –half our audience is female, athletes game on their days off, and now gamers are athletes themselves requiring physical training to keep their mental abilities sharp. Used in the right way, gaming can be positive for mental health, there are so many opportunities arising in esports.”

Emma’s advice for young Caterhamians looking for a career in sport

“This advice is applicable to most careers … I truly believe the mantra ‘you don’t work a day in your life if you enjoy what you do’.

Mr Clark was brilliant at helping students who had the desire to work hard but they needed a bit of guidance and self-belief to really shine. HE also recognised not everyone learns the same way, some people have to do things their own way to be successful. He, along with Mrs Wilkinson, to name but a few, were large contributors to why I am where I am today.

Teamwork is essential, it is important to look to those around you for their perspective, because it is easy to become blinkered. I continue to embark on new courses to improve my weaknesses and broaden my perspective, I am currently enjoying a course on gaming – don’t stop learning!” 


Currently Electronic Arts (EA Sports)

Global Lifestyle Creators Lead for North American Football. Projects, I worked on won the following awards.

– Guinness World Record for Largest Projected Video Game Display, 2022.

– Drum Marketing Awards, Winner in Music & Entertainment, 2020.

– Webby Awards, Winner of a People’s Voice Award in Branded Entertainment, 2020.

2019: Lecturer for Sports Management and Marketing.

2019: Sports Industry Next Gen Leader.

2016-2018: Head of Marketing at Brentford Football Club:

– Invited to be part of the English Football Leagues’ Digital Working Group, driving the launch of the new EFL websites and iFollow streaming service.

– Invited by the EFL to present Brentford FC’s Digital Strategy at a Commercial Managers Meeting, as our work had been recognised as first class.

– Co-founded Brentford’s Diversity and Inclusion Group.

2016: 30 Percent Club, Sport and Business Rising Star.

2016: Invited to Guest Speak about ‘breaking into football as a female’ at Kick It Out’s Raise Your Game Conference.

2015: First Female Member of an Officials Team at a Champions Cup Final.

2015: First Female Member of an Officials Team at a Challenge Cup Final.

2009/10: New Zealand Rugby Union Referee.

2009/10: Otago Varsity Women’s RFC First XV.

2008/09: South West of England Senior Women’s Rugby Squad.

2008-2011: Exeter University Women’s RFC 1st XV.

2007/08: Exeter University Officer Training Corps Women’s 1st XI & 1st XV.

2006-2011: Old Caterhamians WRFC 1st XV.

Any questions, you can contact Emma via the CaterhamConnected networking platform:

On set with Neyma JR and Lisa Freestyle at PSG Co-hosting the YouTube show ‘The Third Half’ (2017)

Renewable Future

Stu Terrell, Caterham’s Head of Geography, talked with current parent Andrew Elmes, Head of Business Development at Siemens Gamesa, about the future of renewable energy and career advice for those wanting to join the industry.

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*As a result of the Energy Security Strategy published after this interview, the target is now 50GW!

Here are just a few of the highlights of Andrew and Stu’s discussions – for budding engineers and those interested in the renewable energy industry –how it works, where it is headed and the challenges it faces, you can hear the full interview on the media hub:

Siemens Gamesa is a renewable energy manufacturer that designs, installs and services wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. It is a global company that developed the first offshore wind farm 30 years ago, and is now the UK market leader especially for offshore – where the UK has put the core of its energy policy for the future of electricity. The UK hopes to install 40 gigawatts of capacity* of offshore wind electricity by the end of 2030, and up to 100 gigawatts by 2050 which would cover the mainstay of our daily electrical needs.

How did your career in renewables start?

After 12 years in the army and looking to move to the corporate world, I wanted to do something that was new and exciting, had opportunities for travel and working with international teams and that was going to do something good, so I chose renewable energy. 


In the army I deployed on operations where I was tasked with rebuilding not fighting: helping to rebuild oil refineries in Iraq, governance and government structures in Afghanistan, and helping to keep the peace in Bosnia several times. Building on those project management skills, first worked to build wind farms both on– and offshore, and I now work with trade associations, the government, our customers and our suppliers to get more wind turbines installed in the UK; and to help with the supply chain, factory footprints, design, innovation, future careers required to grow this industry.

Ironically I am now talking about energy security through renewable energy and it almost feels more important than my role in the army – homegrown renewable energy will improve all of our securities almost as much as having troops that are trying to rebuild countries that have been ripped apart by conflict.

It is an incredible time to be in the renewables industry …. last year with COP26 hosted in the UK with pledges to become net zero … never would I have imagined that energy security has since trumped net zero, and wind power is one of the cornerstones of homegrown electrification. Our ability to generate our own electricity – solar, wind and probably nuclear – will allow

us to get off the petrol dependencies we have that are currently exacerbating global conflicts.

How is the Industry Evolving?

The renewable energy industry never stops designing bigger turbines, further offshore sites, more efficient electricity voltages and systems to take those electrons back to shore. Economies of scale dictate that each time we design a bigger turbine, we increase efficiency and cost effectiveness for every MW of power.

Renewables Resistance

The population as a whole is prorenewable energy, particularly wind power. Local resistance is becoming less of an issue as offshore turbines are being built so far out they cannot be seen from the coast. Onshore farms sometimes require local incentives to overcome any resistance.

The government dilemma is; should local resistance block the international imperative to reduce carbon emissions and latterly to increase all of our energy security?

The new hydrogen economy

Currently there is a lot of talk about the hydrogen economy which uses the molecule hydrogen as an energy vector, a way of storing, converting

and holding energy that can replace fossil fuels.

Electrolysis is currently used with offshore wind, but looking forward, instead of sending electricity back to shore, we are looking to create hydrogen offshore in an electrolyser from seawater, desalinate it, then turn it into hydrogen and oxygen, then pipe the hydrogen back through existing gas pipelines in the North Sea, but back to shore more cheaply as hydrogen rather than electricity. So hydrogen is being put forward as the future hydrocarbon alternative to fossil fuels for some uses that can be developed from clean electricity, but unlike electricity can be stored more cheaply and can be converted and sent overseas.

Career highlight

When I first joined the UK team there was nobody doing these project management roles, so I set about building a team – I am probably most proud of watching some of the people I brought in now thriving in our service, offshore and onshore organisations. This business is built on people and we need strong team-focused people to build the workforce exponentially especially if we are to meet our ambitious net zero targets.

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The government dilemma is; should local resistance block the international imperative to reduce carbon emissions and latterly to increase all of our energy security?

Advice to those interested in joining the renewables industry

Do it! You will feel part of the solution to our climate crisis. Its ever evolving – with great technical and business opportunities to explore. There are good people in this industry who believe in making a difference as well as being collaborators – we look after each other, with a good work/life balance.

There's a good spectrum of roles across the industry – as well as engineers every corporate function you can think of is required, including planners, accountants, lawyers, sales, HR. You don’t need to be an engineer, just to appreciate and understand how the engineering solution works. We need to grow fast and there are no end of opportunities. 

Renewables – Challenges of Offshore Turbines

A recent offshore wind farm project that I worked on has a capacity of 714 MW meaning the farm would power 630,000 UK homes. In 29 January 2022 the UK saw a wind record of around 19GW, with half the country’s requirements met in a single day – based on the UK needing around 40 gigawatts capacity for its daily use.


One of the main challenges is the sheer scale of these sites – for example our blade factory in Hull that produces blades 81 metres long (height of Big Ben), includes ships that move not only the blades but 500 ton generators to which the blades are affixed.

Safety is the forefront consideration

Big equipment, marine conditions, lifting, working at height, electricity and the uncertainty that always comes with building something all create a high risk situation. Everything is planned, managed and any change must be dealt with in a controlled way.


Vessels and critical installation equipment costs hundreds of thousands of pounds per day – so thorough planning is required to install these as quickly and safely as possible.


The UK is blessed with some of the best sites in the world with our shallow seas in the Channel, but the best sites closer to the shore will ultimately run out which is why we are now looking at floating turbines to go deeper and further offshore, which also unlocks markets like Japan and other areas with very deep waters who still want clean offshore wind energy.

Andrew is happy to support anyone looking at this industry –you can connect through

CaterhamConnected Mentorship Matters.

CaterhamConnected, as the name suggests, will forever keep you connected to the School and will provide a benefit for life for you whether you are a Sixth Form pupil, alumni, parent, staff member or friend of the School.

CaterhamConnected is a network of everyone who has ever had a connection to the School. CaterhamConnected run a varied programme of physical and virtual events from career insight evenings in high profile venues such as The Law Society or webinar insights on topics such as politics, sport, drama to theatre and gallery trips to book clubs, woodland walks and more.

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School Graduway Community
Download the CaterhamConnected

Members can connect through the CaterhamConnected platform to utilise the enormous potential of our extended global community. The networking opportunities of the platform are powerful and as a member, you can tap into them at the touch of a button. The mentoring function in particular will help you to seek work experience, interview practice, professional mentoring, university and career advice, it could event help you find a job at some point now or in the future. A strong body of CaterhamConnected members are prepared to offer these opportunities, you can connect with them now at (and download the app). This mentoring facility demonstrates clearly the power of a connected community to achieve great things by working together.

One of the current Sixth Form pupils at Caterham School recently contacted me via the CaterhamConnected platform for advice on the university I am attending. Although he did not want to study the same course I am studying, he wanted advice on the university itself, halls of residence, tuition, sports facilities, societies, the city and of course the social life! As an Old Caterhamian, I was delighted to be able to give him my first-hand experience and help somebody from our Caterham School community.

Prior to the pandemic, I was working simultaneously as an actor and tour guide in London; both terrific jobs, but temperamental at the best of times. I have since decided to apply for a PGCE in Secondary English at Exeter University. I remembered my old Headmaster at Caterham, Rob Davey, who I contacted to ask for advice with my application and about going into teaching. The advice Rob gave me was invaluable and was a great help in galvanising me into further action. He was also able to put me in touch with other teachers at Caterham and beyond whom I could quiz further about the profession and day-to-day life as a teacher. This was a great help for my both application and interview at Exeter and for making clear to myself my aspirations as a teacher. Rob also helped me see that teaching is a great way to put your own unique skills and life experiences to use in an incredibly rewarding way. The advice I received through the CaterhamConnected platform has helped me decide my career path.

The CaterhamConnected networking platform was invaluable in allowing me to access advice on universities and a career in Psychology. My main goal was to get guidance on the best universities and learn about this career path from an experienced specialist. Signing up on the platform was straightforward. I searched the directory on the platform using the ‘Industry’ field and connected with a member of the CaterhamConnected community who is a research psychologist and a former university lecturer. Having a mentor at my disposal was a game changer giving me both knowledge and confidence in making my university & future career choice. Thank you CaterhamConnected!

The CaterhamConnected platform is an extremely useful tool for those in the Caterham community, especially for those exploring their career options. It is an excellent resource to gain information about the myriad of opportunities and events the Caterham community puts on. For example, the Law event put on by CaterhamConnected provided me a great opportunity to not only network with key professionals, but also to consolidate my aspirations to pursue a career in Law. Moreover, the CaterhamConnected platform works as a networking guide, where you can contact other members of the community: parents, Old Cats and Sixth Formers, to inquire about their career or path. It has been immensely helpful, as it has allowed me to Network with a wide variety of people in the Caterham community who have guided me through the process of picking a career field to follow.


The Development Report

This year saw the Caterham community support many amazing causes, bringing a physical presence of fundraising to the School with events that kept us on our toes and captured the Caterham spirit and sense of fun.

Iwould like to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters: parents, Old Cats and friends of the School. I would also like to say a huge thank you to the staff here at Caterham. They really threw their hats into the ring and became fancy dress designers, bee keeping enthusiasts, bounce off participants, rugby coaches, quizmasters, and general fundraising fanatics to name but a few. Without their support, we would not have been able to bring many of our events to life this year. Thank you.

We kicked off the year with our long anticipated Rugby Luncheon. Twickenham Stadium proved a spectacular venue to host our guests and we heard from past bursary recipients about how receiving a Caterham education has made a difference to their life paths. We were also joined by the England Head Coach Eddie Jones, who spoke passionately about how school rugby and teaching had positively impacted his life and career. Eddie Jones returned to Caterham again for a coaching session with our boys’ and girls’ teams, an unforgettable experience for parents, coaches and pupils alike. We are incredibly grateful to our friends at the RFU for hosting us, and for Eddie Jones’ continued support of our Transformational Bursaries programme.

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It has been wonderful to return to ‘normal’ events. Resuming our traditional Remembrance Sunday service in particular was an important and poignant moment for our community.

Further afield, we were finally able to meet our American Friends in New York. Mr Jones flew out to host a special dinner with Old Cats living in the USA, including American Friends President William Pine (OC 1989-1999).

If you are living in the USA we would love to hear from you, you can reach us by emailing


Our Giving Day was a highlight in our bustling calendar! The 36-hour fundraising marathon saw every corner of the Caterham community come together to celebrate and raise funds for three very special projects:

Transformational Bursaries, a new local Primary School Resource Library and school lunches for children attending our partner school in Tanzania, Lerang’wa. The Senior, Prep and Pre-Prep schools were buzzing with pride and excitement. Activities ran right through the two days, with our catering team putting on a special menu of pollinator-friendly foods to refuel us.

For our Senior School, our House competition hit new heights with an inflatable House Bounce Off. Overall, Aldercombe were victorious and went on to beat the Headmaster’s All Star staff team by some margin. In our Prep and Pre-Prep, our smallest Caterhamians learnt what it means to always bee-kind with crafty and sporty activities happening over the two days. Parents and OCs were similarly invited to join the fun with many of our community joining us for the return of the Nick Crombie lockdown quiz.

Together, we raised an overwhelming amount of support and learnt all about what giving back means to our community. A big thank you to the Parents’ Association for their tremendous support and to all those who contributed and participated. If you would like to find out more about the Giving Day then head to our ‘Support Us’ page on the Caterham School website.

Looking to the year ahead, recent leavers will be helping us run our second Telephone Campaign in support of Transformational Bursaries. Our physical events will include a special trip to Brands Hatch (a must for any car enthusiasts), and there will be some fascinating CaterhamConnected events taking place at Caterham School and elsewhere. The House Bounce Off may also make a special return as I feel there may be some old scores to settle!

I look forward to meeting many more of you in the year ahead. If you have any questions or ideas that may help please get in touch with me.

Best wishes

+44 (0)1883 335111

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Partnerships Progress

Caterham’s Partnerships programme, led by Mr Fahey, has grown from strength to strength with the full support of the Caterham School community of pupils, parents and alumni. With a growing number of partner schools locally, regionally and internationally the Caterham family can be rightly proud of the positive impact on young people’s learning reaching well beyond the Harestone Valley campus. This year the School’s first Giving Day boosted not only the growing Transformational Bursary programme but also enabled ground-breaking initiatives such as the new primary school Resource Library for local schools.

East Surrey Learning Partnership

As life got back to normal across 2021/22 the growth of the East Surrey Learning Partnership of schools, founded by Caterham, made great strides in supporting educational opportunities for young people across East Surrey including the launch of initiatives such as the Resource Library funded entirely by Caterham’s Giving Day in March 2022. The library provides an engaging catalogue of specialised equipment for use by primary school children in the East Surrey Learning Partnership enabling specialised lessons which extend and enrich the curriculum. Equipment will include iPad education bundles, musical instrument sets such as a samba band, photography equipment, and coding resources. Every item in the library will have been identified to us by the ESLP primary schools as items they are unable to afford but that would have the most impact on their pupils’ learning.

The primary aim of the ESLP is to work as partners to support educational opportunities for young people across East Surrey at every stage of education, from primary to Sixth Form. The ESLP has been established alongside Caterham School’s ongoing 110% transformational bursary provision and school community fundraising which will see six transformational bursary pupils joining the School in September 2022.

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London Academy of Excellence

The School’s support of the London Academy of Excellence continued with collaboration between pupils and teachers at both schools, and saw Caterham’s Chair of Trustees Monisha Shah co-host an event with LAE pupils and parents focusing on the importance of diversity in the workplace. Caterham has been a driving force behind the foundation of The London Academy of Excellence (LAE) Sixth Form College in Stratford, East London, an area where Sixth Form academic opportunities were previously limited. The LAE has a well-deserved local and national reputation as one of the UK’s leading state sixth form providers, consistently achieving some of the best results, not just in London, but in the whole of the UK, whilst maintaining an ethos of accessibility and promoting social mobility.

Lerang’wa, Tanzania

Hundreds of Old Caterhamians have lifelong memories secured during summer visits to Lerang’wa School in Tanzania. Lerang’wa and Caterham Schools have been partners for over 20 years with Sixth Form pupils visiting each summer to help maintain the building and throw themselves into life inside and outside of the classroom. Despite Covid-19 bringing a forced pause to pupils’ summer visits, support for our partners has continued stronger than ever. The Sixth Form Charity Committee has led the whole school in raising funds for Lerang’wa’s pupils. Pupils are only able to attend the Tanzanian school if the school can provide lunch. With the closure of many other local schools during the Covid pandemic, the pupil numbers at Lerang’wa have grown significantly since 2020. This growth in numbers has added pressure on the school, who never turn anyone away.

Caterham’s first Giving Day and the Parents’ Association’s ‘Cats on the Move to Tanzania’ in 2022 ensured enough funds were raised to support Lerang’wa’s pupil lunches for two academic years. Not only has this meant food security for the school and its pupils, it also means that the ongoing fundraising by Caterham’s Charity Committee can help support additional educational projects at the school. 

The last trip to Tanzania, 2019
The LAE has a well-deserved local and national reputation as one of the UK’s leading state sixth form providers, consistently achieving some of the best results, not just in London, but in the whole of the UK

This article features highlights form the full interview with Adam Webster, Deputy Head Innovation, which can be watched in full on the CaterhamConnected Media Hub:

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Current parent Andrew Denton, CEO of Alfa Systems, shares his experiences and insights in building the world’s leading finance software company with Adam Webster, Deputy Head Innovation.

Developing Enterprise

Andrew joined Alfa in 1995 as a developer, having graduated from Brunel with a BSc in Computer Science, he has since worked his way to the top of the company becoming Chief Operating Officer in 2014 and CEO in September 2016. He is also director and joint founder of the Leasing Foundation, an organisation that supports the leasing and asset finance industry through charitable activities, research and development, a trustee of the McKenzie-Delis Foundation and an advisor to the Women’s Association.

Tell us a little bit about Alfa Systems and what a typical day for you looks like?

Alfa Systems is an enterprise software company. Enterprise means really big software, not apps or word processing, rather the software that provides the heart and lungs of our customers, who are auto, equipment and wholesale finance businesses. There is no such thing as a typical day, we have moved to smart working which means there is flexibility to work remotely and when I am in the office I try to keep it unstructured and to use the time to see people. The days can start early and can be long, there is a balance to maintain for wellbeing, but Alfa works across five continents and 37 countries so if you allow yourself too much access to emails you can find yourself chasing the sun across the world which is not a good thing. 


As a CEO, how important do you think a positive work culture is?

A good collegiate positive culture with a set of values that people can rally around is important. In order to attract the best people companies need to offer more than just a good salary, they need to create an environment where people feel they can do their best, be their real authentic selves and to be an organisation that they can be proud of. All the reasons people come to work are all the reasons that make them productive.

Your company has been awarded a ‘Most Innovative Company’ award – what makes Alfa innovative? We have to be. We focus our innovation in two ways:

1. Top-down innovation – which is product management, understanding the markets we serve and our customers, which leads to our shopping list for our product.

2. Bottom-up innovation – is more fun where we create the time and space for people to come up with crazy ideas through hackathons. Hackathons are where everyone physically gets together twice a year in each of our main territories which are EMEA and North America and we give them 24 hours to ‘hack’ meaning build whatever you want. Ensuring that everyone can innovate, not just the engineers; and that ideas are constantly being generated.

It is clear that Alfa takes its corporate, social and environment role seriously – why and how do you do that?

One of our core values is ‘making it better together’ which also includes our social and environmental impact. We are a commercial company, but we are large, worth half a billion dollars, and through corporate activism, if we keep pushing, keep getting involved, we can make a difference. Furthermore investors want you to have good ESG credentials and the people we are hiring, the millennials and post millennials, are very conscious that they want to work for a company they are proud of.

How do we do it? We are careful not to have too much top-down control, rather bottom-up action with light touch top-down sponsorship to ensure that employees have the organisational freedom and resources that they need. We have provided an environment to help the formation and growth of new communities all coming up with their own way of thinking, namely the Women’s Community, the Alfa for Racial Equity Group, the Green Team, Parenting and the Social Impact Community.

What have been the most significant challenges you have had to face in your career and how have these been overcome?

1. The organisational transition to become a listed company. We floated Alfa in 2017 for nearly a billion sterling so we were a unicorn. We were totally in charge of our own destiny, and now we answer to a board with public facing responsibility on behalf of our investors who want to understand exactly what we are doing and how we are managing their investment. I have no intention of floating another company! It took a couple of years and we did not get it all right, it was a huge organisational challenge.

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Through corporate activism, if we keep pushing, keep getting involved, we can make a difference.

2. The change of a little letter in my job title – moving from COO to CEO. It took a while to realise it was about focussing on what I do best and then surrounding myself with those more talented than myself rather than actually doing the other stuff.

You are an adviser for The Women’s Association – can you tell us about that?

Everyone gets volunteering time at Alfa, and I use my time to advise not for profit organisations including the Women’s Association. It is the brainchild of and run by an inspirational woman called Deborah Williams whose mission is ‘making women feel free to dream’, giving them the support to unencumber from barriers and be their true selves. Giving women visibility and representation.

You run a graduate programme at Alfa, how quickly is the world of work and range of opportunities changing for young people?

Because of the speed of change in technology, my degree in computer science had very little direct relevance to what I actually did, even when I started as a developer in the 90s. Organising myself, learning about critical thinking and learning how to learn were the vitally important skills I learnt at university.

What we are looking for are well rounded bright people who can turn their hands to anything, but also have a good mindset. As a Caterham parent, I see the School’s focus on pastoral care, mind expansion and community engagement as well as education; and that is exactly what I am looking for as an employer.

Geographically things are changing too, Alfa became carbon net neutral last year. Of course, we had a tailwind from lockdown when people were not able to travel but it did make us stop and review purposeful travel. We have just opened a smart hub in Lisbon without a physical footprint.

Now there is a genuinely global employment market, hopefully with much more progressive broadminded thinking so that the world of work catches up with these great young minds before they become polluted by the entrenched ways of working.

What advice would you give to current pupils and Caterham School community wanting to join your industry?

Be true to yourself. It is important to have the confidence to feel that they belong anywhere. But they should also work somewhere they feel they belong; I guarantee that you will do well if it is something you enjoy.

Hubris. It is important not to believe your own hype – be confident but don’t overestimate yourself – humility is such an important trait. 

If you have any questions or are looking for advice, you can contact Andrew via the CaterhamConnected networking platform:

Now there is a genuinely global employment market...

Here are just a few highlights from their chat, you can watch the full interview via the CaterhamConnected Media Hub: resources

Oldest Cat Memories from our

(OC 1936 – 1940)

Current pupils Isabel Singleton and Marilie Slingeveldt are part of a group of pupils who regularly phone some of our older alumni to reminisce about their time at Caterham and find out what they have been doing since their school days.

They caught up with Geoffrey Martindale, our oldest Old Cat aged 99, to find out what it was like to be a pupil at Caterham School in the 1930s. It was his happy time at Caterham that inspired Geoffrey to become a teacher himself.

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Geoffrey Martindale

Senior Prefect now known as Head of School

That was not much more than a title, as time went on the role of Head Boy had more responsibility representing the School in public events. However as it was wartime there was not the need for such responsibilities in my time.

You were elected by your peers and as Senior Prefect you had to ensure that the prefects were doing their job well by keeping order in the School. As a boarding school there was a lot of work to do in the dormitories at night ensuring everyone stayed in bed, and during the day we ensured assemblies ran smoothly and that everything was ready for the staff before assemblies began.

I remember very well at the end of every service we used to sing the doxology Praise God from whom all blessings flow and at that moment a taste of rhubarb came because we always had rhubarb pie for tea on Sunday evenings – the rhubarb was so plentiful up on the hillside in the gardens behind the Memorial Hall. Boarding life was good which is why Old Cats look back so fondly on life at Caterham.

1930s school curriculum

It was basic. We worked towards the Matriculation which was the equivalent of GCSEs, but what I missed in the curriculum was art and music appreciation. When I arrived, Mr Beauvais the art master placed a chair in front of me saying “Draw that” and that was the end of my art education!

Life as a boarder in the 30s

The day began early with half an hour prep before breakfast and sometimes in the summer a swim, it ended with prep in the evening supervised by prefects.

Weekends were busy with a film or some kind of entertainment on Saturday night. Sunday morning dressed in our best with our straw boaters, we marched down Harestone Valley Road to the Congregational Church for the Sunday Morning Service, and in the evening we had another service in the School Memorial Hall which was much more enjoyable as that was geared for the pupils rather than the general public.

The School was very strong on sciences, a new science lab had just been built (I believe you have more new labs since then). We were fortunate to have science masters who were able to continue teaching throughout the war – Wenden for chemistry, Maddock for physics and E.L. Walker who taught biology. I could recite the names of all the staff, but I shall just single out a couple of characters … Dr Stafford the historian of the School was brought out of retirement as war approached. A distinguished mountaineer Hubert Walker taught geography, but we called him the Grinder because his method of teaching was to lecture us with facts we had to learn by rote like Mr Gradgrind in Dicken’s Hard Times , not great teaching nevertheless effective for getting good grades. As a former pupil who became a longstanding teacher, Arthur DaviesJones was an inspiring English teacher to whom I owe a lot as I went on to become an English teacher myself. He was fond of the Romantic and War poets, rather than the modern poets such as T.S. Eliot.

School sport

I enjoyed my sport playing in all the first teams: rugby in the autumn, hockey in the spring, cricket and athletics in the summer term. We used to have a cross country run out beyond Viewpoint at the end of World’s End, along the ridge overlooking the Kentish Weald.

1940 Prefects (Geoffrey middle of front row – Senior Prefect) Caterham School, 1936

My best game was rugby football. As the Home Field was usually very heavy, being low lying and waterlogged, it made the game quite slow; we sometimes took the stony path up past Beech Hanger to play on the dry pitch on the hill (now known as Hillfields).

In our spare time we kept active roller-skating in the Play Room (now known as The Concourse) where the walls were lined with lockers for our tuck (the little extras for our tea, such as jam made by our mothers or tins of baked beans). We also played ‘walking stick hockey’ on the hard surface between the school buildings and labs (now known as Eothen Courtyard). There was a tennis court up by Shirley Goss and Fives Courts (which since became squash courts and now a weights gym) where we played Racket 5s with a wooden racquet and hard rubber ball.

Caterham School at the start of the war

My last year at Caterham was the first year of World War 2. The first six months were known as the Phoney War because nothing was really happening, then when the Germans started moving across France and with the evacuation of Dunkirk things began to hot up and the School had to start taking precautions. In those early months, we were aware of the war as a few refugees joined the School. I particularly remember Auerbach (later known as Leonard Ashley) who was mentioned in last year’s Omnia , and the young staff started disappearing and were initially replaced with returning retired staff rather than female teachers.

The food differed a little but we did not feel difficulty with food at first. Air Raid precautions were not needed, but we were given instructions that should there be an Air Raid we were to assemble in the open cloisters beneath the science block.

With regard to military matters, the Sixth Form in the summer of 1940 were all recruited for the Local Defence Volunteers and an Old Caterhamian used to drill us on Beech Hanger. The parade drill was how to stand to attention and at ease, how to slope and present arms, but he did not teach us how to use a rifle. If the Germans had turned up we would have been able to present arms but that was all!

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1938 Rugby Team (Geoffrey is in the middle row, second from the right) 1939 Sandbag filling during WW2 1939 Cricket Team (Geoffrey is in the back row, second from the left)

Favourite memory

I remember the music and drama, the school orchestra was quite big supplemented by members of staff and they used to perform musical events such as the Mikado when the Headmaster Dr Hall took the part of Pooh-Bah (the lord high everything else) which was fitting as he was quite like the character himself. We also did the Merchant of Venice when we imported our first girl from Eothen School to play the part of Portia.


We who have worked here and played here together, Learned here our lessons not in school alone, Grown here to know both ourselves and each otherWe have made Caterham our own. We who have sweated at Rugger and Hockey, Learned here to swim and to run in a race, Played for the School or cheers from the touchline, Ever are part of this place.

We who have watched on serene summer evenings Runs coming fast as the long shadows creep Stealthily up to the sun-beaten wicket Shall golden memories keep. We who have wandered through beech-woods in autumn

Glowed as we skimmed down the track in the snow, Waded through bluebells when May brings its splendour, A long debt to School-days shall owe

We who have gathered in prayer night and morning, Catching, it may be, a glimpse of the truth; Stirred here to reverence of goodness and beautyWe shall draw strength from our youth. We shall remember and ever shall cherish Halcyon memories of our Caterham daysSmall things and great thing, woven in a pattern, Blended in a song of praise

My favourite memories are being outside in the beautiful countryside surrounding the school, the delights of which are evoked in Davies-Jones’ school song Debtors. On the rare occasion there was a snow and frost, we used to toboggan down Dome Hill. The sanatorium was up on the Hillside near the Memorial Hall (now the IT building called Hillside), I remember a few of us who were laid up with Mumps escaped from the San in the middle of one summer night and walked in our pyjamas in the woods, it was a wonderful experience

witnessing the glow-worms across the wood floor very much like a starry sky. Those sorts of things I remember very well.

After Caterham

After my first year at Oxford University, I was called up, trained in Wales, commissioned in the Queen’s Royal Regiment and then went on active service with the Durham Light Infantry in North Africa where I was wounded and taken as prisoner of war to Silesia (which used to be part of Poland). When I returned from war, I went back to Oxford to finish my degree and then went into teaching.

Starting my teaching career at Lawrence Sheriff School, a grammar school in Rugby, I worked my way up to eventually becoming the Headmaster – it was a delightful school very much like Caterham. In my retirement, I examined for London University and the Institute for Bankers. I was also able to help my wife as after she had brought up our family, she became one of the first women to become a Priest in the Church of England. I have been retired now for almost as long as I was teaching.

Caterham dynasty

My paternal grandfather was a congregational minister so my father and two of his brothers went to Caterham in the years just before the Great War. My brothers Tom and Vic went in the 1930s. Vic became President of the Old Caterhamians and he had seven children of which four sons joined Caterham too. Most recently my daughter’s children, Matthew & Katie Fenton, who joined the School. So there has been a long line of Martindales.

Changes at Caterham

The physical changes have been enormous, I could not find my way about now. 

1940 Hockey Team (Geoffrey is in the back row, fourth from the right) The School Song, written by Mr Davies-Jones and set to music by Mr Banyon

OC Joe Long caught up with his former teacher Andrew Patterson (Patto) about his memories at Caterham and career to date. Joe’s long family connection to Caterham School and Crystal Palace informed a change of career that has seen him thrive.


toCrystal Palace

It was great to chat with former pupil and Old Cat Joe Long (Class of 2013). I remember fondly teaching Joe and also him being the Hockey first eleven keeper when I coached the side. Joe is still the same character with an innate quality of wanting to help others, something that his time at Caterham School developed further. His current role, as a Premium Sales Executive at Crystal Palace FC, working in Hospitality, sees him interacting with many different facets of the community, something his time at school undoubtedly helped him to be very much at ease with.

His journey at University in England and the USA, in California, and ending up at Crystal Palace is fascinating indeed and gives an insight into the strong personality he has. This coupled with his time at Caterham School, has helped give Joe the attributes needed to thrive in his current role. After graduation from Caterham Joe did a gap year working at a golf club. In going to the USA he found the experience of moving and studying in a different continent very valuable.

After six months in California Joe returned to the UK and completed three years in Portsmouth earning a 1st Class honours. Post-uni Joe took a job in finance at Barclays Wealth Management in Canary Wharf, following in his family footsteps. After three years or so he wasn’t happy and wanted a change. This is when he asked himself the question ‘what am I passionate about?’ and the answer was sport, football and Crystal Palace!

Joe knew sales was something that suited his personality more, so he applied for a job at Crystal Palace. For Joe, in his own words, “getting off the conveyor belt of the City job with

Here are some highlights of their chat, you can watch a recording of the interview on the CaterhamConnected Media Hub:

the long, commute and being a very small cog in a very large machine was one of the best decisions I ever made”.

From what he learnt in Business Studies at A Level to touring with the School, on the Bicentennial tour, Joe sees all of these experiences built up over time, as essential to helping him in his life and career today.

Joe is someone our current pupils can unquestionably learn from and it is great that he is willing and able to offer his services as a mentor through CaterhamConnected and help develop the already strong links between Crystal Palace and Caterham School. 

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Joe with his long-term partner OC Hannah Shopland
Joe can be contacted through the CaterhamConnected platform. Back at school with Marie Dodwell and Crystal Palace’s 2013 Play-Off Final Trophy Joe with teammate Julian Speroni

Next Generation Shadow Board

Caterham’s groundbreaking next-generation Shadow Board has continued their excellent work challenging and supporting effective decision making across the school working alongside the full Board of Trustees. The Shadow Board consists of under 30 year old alumni of the school from diverse backgrounds (in its widest sense). The board meet once each term to focus on particular areas of decision making and school provision. The Shadow Board chair also sits in every full Board of Trustee meeting.

Since it was established in early 2021, the Shadow Board has received considerable attention from schools across the UK and sporting bodies looking to replicate the Caterham model. The Times Educational Supplement shortlisted the initiative for its Strategic Initiative of the Year Awards.

A key purpose of the Shadow Board is to help ensure Caterham’s focus remains on preparing young people for the rapidly changing world of work they are graduating into, and ensure that the voice of our young people from all communities and backgrounds are heard and included at the highest level of decision-making. 

The Shadow Board is made up of ten alumni all aged between 18 and 30. Its remit is to advise the Board from the perspective of the early career workplace.

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You can watch the full interview on the CaterhamConnected Media Hub: resources

Meet the Chair

Monisha Shah, Chair of Trustees of Caterham School is interviewed by OCs Katie Davies & Azouma Obikudu (current Chair and Vice Chair of the Caterham School Shadow Board)

Monisha joined Caterham School as a Trustee in 2018 and became Chair of Trustees in January 2022, bringing her experience as a Caterham parent and a wealth of professional board experience to the role. Reflecting on her significant career achievements to date, which have included meeting high profile global figures, Monisha said with some modesty: “My career has been a mix of planning and gratuitous chance and luck!”

“I worked for the commercial arm of the BBC – selling and licensing BBC brands internationally. I met wonderful and fascinating people, I saw first-hand the effect Mandela had on crowds in South Africa, I hugged David Attenborough which was a personal highlight and shook hands with Buzz Aldrin.” 


“Similarly in my non-executive roles I’ve had some amazing experiences. I was appointed to Tate as trustee by the Prime Minister in 2007 which was a huge honour.”

Monisha loved her career in television, but her role with BBC Worldwide naturally entailed extensive travelling, so when she started a family she moved to a portfolio based career. By then Monisha had been appointed to her first public appointment as trustee of the Tate, which opened up a pathway using her skills to support arts, media and education organisations where she has a particular interest and cares deeply about the work they do. That ambition is already well realised with a range of board level roles, including current roles as Chair of Trustees at Caterham School and as a member of the content board of OFCOM, the UK’s communications regulator.

“It is Ofcom’s responsibility as a regulator to ensure that broadcasters stay within the code and complaints are properly investigated. For example in 2020 when the dance troupe Diversity performed a Black Lives Matter-inspired dance on Britain’s Got Talent, 24,500 complaints were received by Ofcom. Having reviewed the complaints, we concluded that the programme had not breached any broadcasting rules.”

“It is interesting going through the process to understand the framework within which the Broadcasting code operates, in particular, the right to freedom of expression which is important for the democratic functioning of our society. I continue to learn from every board that I serve.”


The role of the Board of the Trustees is crucial to the long term success of any school. Monisha explained how the Board bears the ultimate responsibility for the stewardship of the School. Monisha said: “The Chair acts as the bridge between the Board and the Headmaster and his leadership team, ensuring that the Board makes strategic decisions and has the time and space to ensure sufficient oversight.

The Board has three core functions: first, to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school, second, to hold leadership teams to account for the educational performance of our pupils and the effective management of our staff body, and third, to oversee the financial performance of the school, that

we are financially secure and that money is spent prudently and appropriately.

Underlying these core functions are a whole host of responsibilities and issues that the Board deals with and needs to consider, for example: culture, ethics, risks, compliance, talent, capital, investment, competition, quality and standards, welfare, health and safety of pupils and staff. It’s a long list. What the Board does not do is to get involved in the operational management of the school. The responsibility for that is clearly and properly delegated to the Headmaster and his leadership teams.

The Board is a seam which runs back to the founding Trustees in 1811, when John Townsend and William Wilberforce established the school. Now almost a quarter of the way into the 21st Century, there are a number of challenges faced by all schools, not only competition but the future of the pupils, job markets, changing ambitions and needs of its pupils. The Board, along with the Senior Leadership Team, needs to continuously ask itself are we looking far enough ahead? Are we ensuring that our pupils are equipped with the right skills and support that they will need as they go forward into the careers and lives that they choose?

What became clear to see in the pandemic was the success of Caterham School’s focus and investment in future skills. Digital technology and innovation is also part of that strategic thinking going forward. We are sharpening our focus on what academic and foundational skills pupils will need in a new normal.”

Building Back Better

Further reflecting on the experience of businesses and schools through the pandemic, Monisha said: “We’re not fully out of pandemic yet, so we’re all building back and learning from the experience, and of course digital technology has opened up a series of opportunities including long distance learning, online learning, top up training.

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The Chair acts as the bridge between the Board and the Headmaster and his leadership team, ensuring that the Board makes strategic decisions and has the time and space to ensure sufficient oversight.

Caterham is looking towards opportunities and challenges of the future. We are exploring what young people will need for this Fourth Industrial Revolution and preparing them for a workplace strongly underpinned by digital technology, including artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

In addition to traditional academic grades, we know from research conducted by Nesta and other organisations that other skills that will be valuable as employment needs change. These will include interpersonal skills in the cultural context of globalisation, cognitive skills such as active learning, originality and fluency of ideas and skills related to system thinking, i.e. the ability to understand the relationship between people and technology in the workplace, how changes in conditions or environment can affect outcomes, and the ability to make judgements and decisions.

The Board supports the Senior Leadership team as we continue to innovate, deliver new ways of teaching and learning and ensure that our current resources and infrastructures can support that ambition.

What Caterham School understands is that our young people will be faced with new challenges that we do not yet have sight of – but when you are equipped to deal with challenges effectively as part of your education, you will be more resilient to future change. I like the concept of ‘failing fast’ – if you know you are failing – get up, learn your lessons from it and move on. I think that good boards support that spirit of innovation and that is certainly the case at Caterham.”

Advantages of Diversity

Caterham School was the first UK and global school to establish a Shadow Board of young alumni who work with and challenge the full Board of Trustees. The Shadow Board’s prominence provides a diverse range of views from young people experiencing a rapidly changing professional world. Those views and experiences are fed directly into strategic decision making at Caterham.

When asking about the benefits of diversity within organisations, Monisha underlined its fundamental importance: “Diversity is absolutely essential to the workplace. There is the ethical aspect that all groups have a right to be represented in the workplace which should in turn reflect the community that we serve; but it is also fundamental to

good decision making. There is business and commercial value to embracing diverse perspectives at all levels of an organization, imperative to innovation and success.

We must and do think about diversity in its widest sense. The challenges and opportunities of diversity are not just race and ethnicity but also socio-economic, LGBTQI+, age and more. Social media algorithms are reducing our exposure to alternative points of view, but it is this diverse range of opinions that are required to help us think outside the box. They all contribute to a much richer conversation and understanding of our society.” 


Monisha is a media professional with experience of broadcast and digital media. Her last executive role was at BBC Worldwide, where she worked for 10 years selling and licensing BBC brands internationally before stepping down in 2010.

Current board appointments include:

– Ofcom’s Content Board and the Office for Students, the Higher Education regulator for England.

– Senior independent member (Chair) of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UKRI).

– Chair of the Queen’s Counsel Appointments Panel.

Voluntarily she serves as a Trustee of the Art Fund and chairs Wikimedia UK. She was recently appointed Trustee to the Royal Collection Trust by Her Majesty the Queen.


Trustee of Tate, National Gallery, Foundling Museum and Donmar Warehouse.

Chair of Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.

Committee Member on Standards in Public Life by invitation of the Prime Minister in 2015.

Monisha has a post-graduate degree from SOAS, an executive MBA from the London Business School and was elected Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.



Voice for Change

Caterham Voice for Change is a pupil-led initiative that puts Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the heart of school life

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Voice for Change groups are supported by teachers and open to all ages. They offer a safe space for pupils to share experiences and thoughts, but also explore ways for pupils to inform, educate and work with pupils, staff and the wider school community.

The group meets weekly to identify priorities, discuss issues or events and explore ways to raise awareness or address inequality. Whilst the group aims to offer increased support for traditionally disadvantaged groups, such as LGBTQ+ pupils, BAME pupils, neuro-divergent pupils and Young Carers, they are equally responsive to the needs and experiences of all pupils, exploring ways for all members of our community to inform and influence change. The group grew out of the school community’s response to the events of summer 2020. Following increased awareness of Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd, pupils shared their thoughts and responses openly, offering an opportunity to review the way we celebrated and supported diversity within Caterham School and our community. The strength of pupil engagement highlighted the need for a visible response to societal shifts and wider celebration of our diverse community. Initially, the groups identified priorities and action plans to share with our senior team, focusing on celebrating diversity, raising awareness and embedding a whole school approach to EDI. From the outset we focused on supporting change through empathy, understanding and seeking a culturally inclusive environment – this has remained at the heart of our approach. 


When the groups were established in September 2020, open debate offered an excellent opportunity to assess our understanding of pupil experience and explore ways to make our EDI work more visible and measurable. Two whole school surveys furthered our understanding of broader experiences of inclusion – our annual Wellbeing Survey and the Flair Impact survey on Race and Ethnicity. Learning from the surveys gave the Voice for Change group direction and focus, leading to an insightful staff training event and a series of initiatives that strengthened a sense of belonging throughout our diverse community.

Since then, the groups have continued to flourish. Alongside acknowledging key cultural and religious festivals within our school calendar, the Voice for Change groups regularly lead assemblies and create activities for tutor sessions. Recent awareness raising events to celebrate our community have included Black History Month, Rainbow Laces Week, Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Refugee Week, Young Carers Action Day, LGBT

Some of the events we celebrated as part of EDI:

History Month, Lunar New Year and International Women’s Day.

Voice for Change leaders continue to work with Academic Departments to review aspects of our curriculum and highlight areas of bias, exploring ways to ensure that subject content encourages positive perceptions of ability, gender and cultures.

Wellbeing and Inclusion

Ambassador roles offer an important leadership opportunity in Sixth Form. Ambassadors are representative of the diverse communities within the school and are passionate about supporting wellbeing and promoting inclusion. Our recent Equality, Diversity and Inclusion event for parents was pupil led, giving our Voice for Change leaders an important platform to promote change and understanding.

I have no doubt that our Voice for Change Groups will continue to go from strength to strength, ensuring that our EDI strategy is reflective, responsive and encourages all pupils to appreciate the part they play in creating a cohesive community at Caterham School. 

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Innovating Education

Caterham has a longstanding reputation as a leading global school for innovation across implementation of technology and learning and teaching, led by Adam Webster, Deputy Head Innovation.

Caterham has once again been named as an Apple Distinguished School, one of only a handful in the country. iPads were first introduced into the classroom a decade ago and since then their application and the extended possibilities for learning inside and outside of the classroom has now grown. Caterham School now delivers training to schools across the UK based on its expertise and extensive experience. Innovation at Caterham School goes well beyond pupils’ digital skills and use of technology. Innovation is about developing new ideas that are meaningful and have a positive impact. We aim to be innovative in the way we deliver our teaching and learning, but also to instil an ethos of innovation within our own pupils. Ensuring that our pupils have the skills and knowledge to thrive in a fast-changing world is one of our core priorities. The last school year saw the EDGE curriculum, which stands for Explore, Develop, Grow, Evolve, rolled down from a Sixth Form only curriculum to be followed

by all senior school pupils from First Year to Upper Sixth. EDGE is built upon three central elements: Learning to Learn, Big Ideas and Practical Problem-Solving. Each year group experiences these elements in different and challenging ways, whether that is through the Theory of Knowledge and Critical Thinking (Learning to Learn), the environment and communication (Big Ideas) or the School in a Box and Circular Economy projects (Practical Problem-Solving). The Edge curriculum builds up a wealth of ideas, knowledge and skills which our pupils can put into action in lessons, in their day-to-day lives and to inspire them to face challenges and problems with the tools to overcome, redesign and rethink any problem they choose to tackle.

Autumn 2022 will see Caterham host it’s Education Evolution conference once again bringing digital and innovation leaders from the UK and beyond together with leaders in education.

Find out more here:


A huge THANK YOU to all the Old Cats who have returned to school (physically or virtually) to help inspire and advise our current pupils, here are a few …

91 OMNIA Issue 10 2022–2023 OLD CAT NEWS
you can
to OCs and OEs through the CaterhamConnected platform Caterham School Graduway Community Download the CaterhamConnected app
reach out
Dr Cesci Adams (OC 2015) Alia Ardron (OC 2010) Phlippa Baliman (OC 2016) Martha Barber (OC 2010) Blanche Boomla (OC 2021) Ed Chatfield (OC 2015) Guy Branson (OC 2015) Ben Brown (OC 2020) Ben Deans (OC 2018)

If you would like to get involved in our careers programme please contact Clare Brown, or sign up as a mentor at

and ...

Megan Armitage (OC 2011)

Alyssa Day (OC 2021)

Luke Derry (OC 2017)

Emily Haasz (OC 2019)

Oliver Hemsley (OC 2019)

Ana Odeide (OC 2020)

Lucie Prego (OC 2016)

Alex Travers (OC 2019)

Richard McVitty (OC 2013) Yuka Okada (OC 2020) Charlotte Pearson (OC 2017) Dr Suzy Tappin (OC 2003) Nell Fahey (OC 2019) Alice Locket (OC 2019) Max Fogelman (OC 2021) Joe Long (OC 2013) Lottie McDonald (OC 2020) Dr Khristianne Greenhalgh (OC 2012) Vincent Man (OC 2014) Rhianna Harding (OC 2020) Jemima Rawlings (OC 2016) Richard Webb (OC 2016) Lt Matthew Wilson (OC 2009)



q Caterhamian cousins – Charles Waud (OC 2005) and Corrie welcomed Louis on 9 November 2021, whilst only a month later Myles Waud (OC 2007) and Hannah welcomed Imogen on 23 December 2021 making it home in time for Christmas Day!

SOPHIE COLMAN (OC 2003–2010)

I have really enjoyed coming back to Caterham as a teacher in the Learning Support Department. After completing my PGCE, I began my teaching career as a History teacher and then decided to specialise in special educational needs (SEN), carrying out additional specialist dyslexia teacher training, as well as a qualification in assessing for access arrangements. My job as a Learning Support Teacher involves providing support to the neurodiverse pupils at the school, helping them to develop strategies to optimise their learning and to overcome any barriers they may face. I feel very lucky to work with such incredible pupils – seeing them grow in confidence and independence throughout their time at school is extremely rewarding.

My time at Caterham was one with many happy memories. I had some fantastic teachers who inspired me and supported me and I made many life-long friends. I am very excited to be back and to be able to spend more time in such a wonderful school!

The OCA would love to hear news from Old Caterhamians

We always love to hear OC news – please do let us know of any Old Cat news, achievements, births or weddings we have not yet featured. Just contact the Alumni Office 

 01883 335091

 Jessica Malpas (née Martin) (OC 2007) and Ste welcomed Jovie Alice on 15 September 2021 weighing 5lb 11oz along with very proud big sisters Olive and Eva.

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Congratulations to the following Old Cats …
 Kendra LeaverRylah (née Leaver) (OC 2007) and her husband Joshua welcomed little Albert Joshua to the world on the 13 May 2022 at Chelsea & Westminster at 10.21am. He is settling into life on Strand-on-the-green in Chiswick gloriously with the love and support from his older sister, Aurora. q The class of 2007 caught up at David Hackett’s whilst he was back from Singapore for a few weeks with the next generation of Caterhamians!  Rosie Craine (née May) (OC 2007) and Alex welcomed Arnie John on 27 October, here pictured with his big sister Emmie.  Rob Wilson (OC 2009) and Laura welcomed Dougie George on 7 May 2022. L-R: James Gooden with Martha, David Hackett with Willow, Henry Jones with Joss, Myles Waud with Imogen, Alex Gregory with Posie, Emma Gooden with Mabel, Anna Biset with Luca and Maeva, Katie Shaw with Olivia and Ernie.

Weddings & Engagements

Congratulations to the following Old Cats …


q Sophie Colman (OC 2010) married Cameron Brown (OC 2010) in Porthleven, Cornwall on 31 July 2021. Sophie and Cameron started dating in the summer holidays before university. Covid restrictions on weddings had only fully lifted a few weeks before their wedding date, so they were very lucky that the day could take place exactly as they had hoped – the only impact being masks worn in the church. There were a lot of OCs in attendance, all of whom were very much up for a big party after the end of lockdown.


 Old Cats Ben Davidson (OC 2009) and Georgia Shrimpton (OC 2009) finally had their big day on 2 September 2021, having re-arranged it four times! Wonderful that so many OCs were there to celebrate with them.

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L-R: Craig Moore, Jess Davidson, Katie Atkin, Matthew Wilson, Jayde Cook, Ben Doney, Amy Battersby  Congratulations to Emily Buckett (OC 2009) on her engagement to Emily Gray who are looking forward to their big day next summer.

Your legacy to future generations

Legacy gifts are vitally important to Caterham School as they help us to safeguard our ability to provide an inspiring education for future generations of young people to come. Gifts in Wills also help Caterham to preserve our beautiful grounds and woodlands, and continue to transform children’s lives through bursaries.

Every Old Cat, parent, staff member or friend of Caterham School makes an impression on our remarkable school. Choosing to support the School through your estate will enable you to continue to have an impact on Caterham’s future and, as a registered charity, a gift to Caterham School in your Will is also tax free.

If you decide to include a gift to Caterham School in your Will, please let us know – this will give us the opportunity to thank you and show you how your gift will make a difference. We would also be delighted to invite you to join the John Townsend Society.

If you would like more information or to have a confidential conversation about leaving a gift in your Will, please contact Emma Collings in the Development Office on 01883 335111 or email

Caterham School is a registered charity (no. 1109508)

Heads of School Handing Over the Baton

Outgoing Heads of School give their advice to their successors

Wow. We have been through some pretty unbelievable times, yet have carried ourselves with grace and gratitude throughout it all. It assures me that whatever challenges fall in front of us, we will be no different with our uplifting attitude.

To say the least, these past couple of years have certainly been unusual. After a year of being online, then our return to a school with restrictions, we could only walk into 2022 having a greater sense of appreciation for all the moments to come. Seizing what was before us, a true highlight was the lacrosse match against the rival Old Cats, where we reconnected with so many familiar faces. Keeping spirits high during the last week of school, our themed days were definitely not short of entertainment, from ‘Dads on Tour’ to ‘Teletubbies’ –the iconic outfits only lived up to how iconic our year group has been.

For the future Heads of School, lead with authenticity, and have enthusiasm towards the opportunities that come your way. With the role you have been given, create a positive impact, as every step you take goes towards the legacy that will remain in the School, and is what the younger years will continue. And honestly, just appreciate those around you, because soon enough you will come to write this, so make your time here worth reflecting on!

2022. What a time to be alive. This year we have not only demonstrated our ability to bounce back, but if it wasn’t clear already, we have also shown that we know how to make the most out of any situation.

Thankfully the academic year is ending in a way that feels more complete than the last two, and even though we may have been sceptical coming into the new year, we did not let that stop us from putting our all into everything. This is clearly evidenced in the boys versus girls dance where – despite an original lack of conviction

a collective effort from the boys left my fellow Head of School Mariella sorely embarrassed.

Following on from the progress of last year we have together made major advancements in school life for all pupils and I am hopeful that all members of our Caterham community will continue to be beacons of light for the things that are most important in life.

And finally, for the future Heads of School, and all pupils, I wholeheartedly encourage you to take up any opportunity that comes your way and be present in your experiences. If something feels right, it is worth trusting, so do not worry about what others may think – only you know what is best for you.

Being part of the first ever trio of Heads of School has been an incredible experience that I will hold with me for the rest of my life.

With the added ‘corridor status’ and an extra two people by my side I really have been given every opportunity I could possibly ask for. These past two years in Sixth Form, whilst no doubt full of change, have shown how consistent our year is in supporting each other and making the most of the moment. This has created the most amazing memories and given me the confidence to take on challenges I never thought I would be capable of.

My advice, not just for the future Heads of School but for all Upper Sixth pupils, would be to appreciate those moments as much as you can, and never forget that ‘forever is composed of nows’. After spending a year wishing for the end, you will reach your destination, look back and wish you could stay for longer. You truly do not realise how fast the year passes until you are on your last day, crashing into your friends on dodgems and dumping bottles of water on each other’s heads! 

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Welcome to the OCA Class of 2022

Read about a variety of university courses and apprenticeships from recent leavers

You can find more Why Study interviews from previous issues in the Media Hub at

The CaterhamConnected platform also enables you to contact OCs from universities across the UK and even worldwide.

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To decide what to study at university I took a lot of inspiration from my biology teachers at school. Hearing about their own experiences in the field and the variety of opportunities biology had given them encouraged me to explore the subject beyond A Level. In Sixth Form I was also battling with the idea of studying medicine, as it combined my affinity with the health care industry and my passion for helping others. However, I was conscious that medicine required a certain emotional maturity that I was not sure I had at the age of 17, and I wanted to take more time before making a decision that could shape the rest of my career. Therefore, I felt biology was the perfect choice as I not only loved studying it at school, but felt it touched upon subjects seen in the medical field.


I chose to study at the University of York as it had a true ‘home away from home’ feeling. Being a home bird, I was very conscious that travelling to university would be a very daunting experience, but after visiting several universities York had the most friendly and supportive atmosphere of them all. I particularly liked the collegiate system that York had to offer, as it provided a familial feeling when moving in and enabled me to quickly make friends. The biology department is exceptional and has a variety of field trips, unique modules and research opportunities that stood out from other university courses.


I became so fond of my college at York (Langwith) I decided to run for President and was fortunate enough to be elected for the role in my second year. As part of my position, with the help of an outstanding team, I managed the events, sports, wellbeing, and finance

of student life within the college. Whilst the position came with its own challenges, it taught me a variety of professional and social skills, that I am confident will be integral to my future career.

I also participated in the university’s musical theatre society and was fortunate enough to perform in Dolly Parton’s 9to5 The Musical. I found performances and rehearsals a welcome contrast to my studies and loved meeting people who also shared my passion for musical theatre.


Do not rush your decision and consider whether university may be the right choice for you. I changed what I wanted to do four to five times before finally settling on biology, and that is completely okay. When choosing a university be open minded, it may be that when visiting your favourite university, you quickly realise it is not for you, and another university that you had not considered before may be even better.


Alongside my degree I worked part-time as a health care assistant in a respite home for disabled adults. I quickly realised that caring and supporting others was the only thing I could imagine doing for the rest of my life. I have therefore decided to combine my passion for care and biology and to apply to graduate medicine. Although applying is an extremely difficult and challenging process, I am determined to keep going until I am fortunate enough to receive an offer. 




First, since I started high school, science and mathematics have been the subjects that I heavily prioritised because I felt the importance of technical education for my future career, even though I really enjoyed humanities and foreign languages. To begin with, mathematics to me is more than just calculating integrals and simplifying polynomials – it is an invaluable tool for modelling and understanding the world, so I paid a lot of attention and effort to this subject. Furthermore, out of the three sciences – physics, chemistry, and biology – I enjoyed the former two the most because they are, in my opinion, more systematic and can be learned and understood conceptually as opposed to simply memorising information. Therefore, engineering was a career path that seemed to fit me the best.

However, I was not sure which exact pathway to choose out of the wide selection of engineering disciplines. What first suggested Chemical Engineering to me was psychometric testing that we were required to participate in at Caterham School, which identified Chemical Engineering as the most suitable career path for me. I then researched what Chemical Engineering was all about – applying theoretical physics and chemistry to design real-life industrial systems – which made me fascinated about this field even more.

The final factor that I considered was, of course, the earning potential, and I was delighted to find out that Chemical Engineering is one of the most well-paid majors in the USA and the UK, which finalised my decision to pursue this degree.


At first, I only considered universities in the UK, and, like everyone else, I filled out the UCAS application and waited for offers. But then my father recommended

applying to American universities as well because, with all respect to UK universities, their American counterparts often have better research facilities: laboratory spaces, instruments, resources, as well as larger campuses and a better campus life. Moreover, the US industry offers a much better engineering career potential compared to the UK or Europe in general, both in terms of available vacancies and expected salary.

So, after receiving all admission offers, I chose to go to the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta because it is highly recognised in the US for its Chemical Engineering undergraduate and graduate programmes with a high employer interest towards hiring its graduates. The research, study, recreational, and housing facilities were of the highest standard, with all undergraduates being able to live on-campus if desired, and on-campus housing located very close to academic or research buildings. The sport facilities were inherited from the 1996 Olympic Games and renovated multiple times since then, making sports easily accessible. Last, but definitely not least, fraternity parties being held on at least a weekly basis at multiple locations around the campus added a great deal of fun to my college experience. This combination of state-of-the-art research facilities, high-quality instruction, and great campus life has indeed made my time at Georgia Tech very enjoyable and enriching indeed.


Throughout my time at Georgia Tech, I have regularly made use of its amazing sport facilities. However, since I attempted to finish a four-year programme in three years, I could not become part of the university swimming or water polo teams, for which I tried. Also, in my first year, I was part of the HyTech Formula SAE team, where

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in a team of undergraduate and graduate students we constructed a fully electric racing car. Even though this is not even remotely close to my major, I really enjoyed my experience at HyTech, where I was tasked with circuit board design and fabrication. Moreover, thanks to one of my good friends, I started playing the guitar, which I had not even considered before coming to Georgia Tech. In the Spring semester of 2021, I began my undergraduate research at the Dr. Nian Liu’s lab at Georgia Tech in the field of electrochemistry and electrochemical storage system development. From the start, I was assigned a project where I developed a novel aqueous battery and prepared a publication about it, thus doing many things that I had never done before. Afterwards, I worked with other graduate students in developing zinc-air batteries, investigating corrosion and designing electrocatalytic hydrogen production reactors. The feeling of being at the frontier of science and doing something that nobody has done before, as well as working with highly motivated professionals, has definitely been the most transformative experience for me throughout my time at Georgia Tech in many ways. First, I have made a few really good friends who I know I can trust, and second, for the first time in my life I considered scientific research as my future career, which I could have hardly imagined before.


First and foremost, I encourage everyone who wants to go to university to shoot for the best! One thing that I learned from my conversations with graduate students in the USA is that many of them were too critical of their ability or the strength of their application package, so they never even attempted applying to highly recognised universities such as MIT, Caltech, Cambridge or Oxford,


Applying to US universities is not an easy task even compared to UCAS because most of them require different application forms that must be completed one by one with an application fee paid each time. In each application, apart from the general legal and demographic information, one should expect at least a few essays that assess the applicant’s opinion on certain philosophic questions, some of which we may face or consider in real life. What I found though is that by doing so, American universities can choose students who would fit into their campuses the best by bringing people of a similar mindset together, so that they can work and live as a community better, thus making the community spirit very strong, for which the USA is well-known.

which really is a big shame. Unfortunately, UCAS limits your choice, so you often have to be a little pessimistic; nevertheless, always apply to the best university that you think you may be able to get in on your best day! By the way, applying to America or other countries effectively removes that limit.

When you go to university, try to move out of your parents’ basement as soon as possible! As sad as it may sound, living independently is the only way of learning how to survive in the world of grown-ups, and getting used to this world as early as possible is, in my opinion, the key to success. In addition, do not be afraid to completely change your environment by moving to another city or country for university; in fact, the more your surroundings change, the more versatile you will become in life, which truly is an invaluable quality.

Finally, if you decide to apply to American universities (which I strongly suggest you do), be sure to contact Mrs Brown, the Caterham School Career Advisor, who helped me a lot during the application process, for which I will forever be grateful.


This May I graduated from Georgia Tech, but my academic journey does not end here. To my great surprise, I was accepted to the California Institute of Technology PhD programme in Chemical Engineering, during which I hope to continue doing research in the field of electrochemistry. After graduating from Caltech, I plan to carry on with research, but I am still uncertain in my choice between an academic or an industry pathway. 





I had applied to Trinity College Dublin on a whim: it has one of the most famous and historical English Literature courses in Europe and I had just watched Normal People. I usually tell people the first reason before the second. The idea of moving abroad for uni was really exciting to me, I wanted to try something new and different. Dublin has a literary heritage unlike any other: Wilde, Beckett and Swift all went to Trinity. I did not think there was a better country or uni to study English.


I am on the committee for Visual Arts society as I am really interested in the relationship between literature and visual manifestations of it. Societies are the best way to make friends as they guarantee you find people with the same interests as you. I am also a member of Literary Society, Trinity Publications, Trinity FM and The Phil and The Hist (which are debating societies).



I was lucky in that I always had clarity over what I wanted to study at university: English lessons had been my favourite subject since First Year and reading is my hobby. Whether it is poetry, plays, novels or essays, reading has always appeared the most enjoyable, enlightening and rewarding way for me to spend university. Practically, I have always wanted to be a journalist however the emotional benefits of an English Lit degree did not go amiss on me either. Opening yourself up to more perspectives, from your professors, peers and texts, makes you more empathetic, inquisitive and openminded in a way that other degrees do not always allow. These personal benefits particularly appealed to me.

When you are choosing which universities to apply to, try and envisage what you will want from a university when you are 18. I had changed so much in between filling out my UCAS form and ultimately going to uni. Were I applying again, my five choices would have been completely different: I would have applied to only cities, unis with a big society culture and courses with more contact hours. It is difficult to predict how much you might change over the year ahead, but just try to take it into account and anticipate it a little.


I would like to study a Masters degree and eventually become either a foreign correspondent or an investigative journalist. I also want to live in Spain at some point to improve my Spanish. It is important to me to incorporate travelling into my plans. 

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I chose to study CogNeuro and Psychology, as I enjoyed my biology and chemistry A Levels but realised that I wanted to do further study in a subject that was tailored to my specific interests. I also opted to undertake a year in industry as part of my degree course which gave me invaluable life (and lab) experience. I actually ended up working in a pharmaceutical company in Germany, during the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, for my placement year. It was an experience that I never could have imagined myself doing when I left school, but I am incredibly grateful for it.


I chose to study at the University of Manchester for two main reasons. Firstly, at the time, it was one of the only universities to offer Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology as a subject. Secondly, and most importantly, because I loved the vibe of the city and campus, and the people at the University of Manchester were so welcoming.


I am a woman of many interests (some might say ‘jack of all trades, master of none’), and this is perhaps reflected in the societies I have been a part of during my time at uni. I was part of the Boxing Society in first and second year – it was run by a man who we endearingly referred to as ‘Bash’, and it was a riot. I have also been a part of the Feminist Society and, more recently, a part of the Student Union Media Group. As part of the media group, I host a biology themed podcast with some friends as well as research and co-present the weekly news. I have had some of my funniest moments with the news team –including attending the National Student Media Awards with them (imagine a low-budget Oscars with lots of students and free wine).


My advice for others hoping to go to university is for them to really get involved in the student life. Whether it is joining a society, playing sports, or simply making good friends with your course mates, I think to make the most of university you really need to get stuck in!


After my degree I will be starting a career in PR and media communications. Although I loved my time working in a lab, I realised I am perhaps too much of a people person for that particular avenue. However, my degree (and time at university) has taught me so many transferable skills, that I have more than enough to dip my toes in the PR pool!




When I first heard about the degree apprenticeship route, I was intrigued as to where it could lead me. I chose an apprenticeship over university due to the long-term benefits that I could gain. By taking this route, I effectively have a three-year head start on where I would have been and by studying for my qualification alongside working, I can complete everything that I would have completed at university while also earning and gaining real world exposure to the field of finance.

I also felt like the university environment and method of learning through lectures was not the best method of learning for me personally. I enjoy a more active form of learning and the hands-on approach that the apprenticeship route offers.

That is not to say you do not have any aspects of a university lifestyle. Even at work, there is a social side to it such as team lunches and after work drinks (even though I do not drink, you cannot go wrong with a Coke Zero).

The final aspect which you cannot overlook, especially in London, is the financial side of university. It is undeniable that between university fees and living costs, university can be an expensive three to five years. Another pro to the apprenticeship route is that the firm pays for the qualification while also paying you a full-time, competitive salary (with weighting depending on location).


My selection process involved three main steps. The recruitment process started off with an online form alongside a strengths assessment. This included a basic questionnaire of personal details and the strengths assessment presented me with scenarios and questions to assess how I would react in certain circumstances. The second stage was an online interview which involved a series of questions based on the firms’ values. This is done with a timed case study exercise as well.

After receiving feedback from the interview, the final stage was the virtual experience day (which would have been in person but was virtual due to Covid). This is a full day event with many exercises, such as a team exercise with other candidates, a Q+A with current employees and apprentices, culminating with a final interview with a manager in the chosen field. For me this was the final stage. While people see the interview as daunting, it often ends up being more of a formal discussion which lasted about an hour for me and concluded the day. After that, you hope that you don’t see the words ‘regret to inform’ in your next email. It should also be said that no two recruitment processes are the same.


I am doing my apprenticeship at Grant Thornton UK LLP in Central London. To be honest when I started, I did not really have a number one option in mind, but as the recruitment process continued, I realised which firms were more to my liking, which is similar to a university process when you attend open days.

Ultimately, I chose this company (other than the fact that they were two of fifteen places that accepted me) due to their values and the size of the firm. Starting out, I did not want to start off in a larger firm. After talking to family who work in the Big Four (KPMG, EY, PWC and Deloitte), there tends to be more pressure and I did not want to feel lost in a bigger firm. Being at a smaller firm such as GT, I believe I can make more of a difference and receive more opportunities. The firm also offers a tremendous level of support for apprentices as they understand that it can be difficult starting work at this age and the firm place a lot of emphasis on support throughout the process. As a whole, GT are a very people orientated firm which was evident throughout the recruitment process, and which is why ultimately I wanted to work here.

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The experience has been a bit tougher than I first expected. I started off in college which is very similar to school, and it was a light start. I knew that it would be a combination of working and studying but long term, the continuous nature of the job has been hard and something that I have had to get used to. My first busy season took me by surprise, however your mindset quickly changes from ‘it is finally the end of the day’ to ‘how is it already the end of the day’. Another aspect that I need to get used to is going from having an eight-week summer holiday to 22 days of annual leave a year. After getting used to having a holiday every six weeks at school, it was a change not having that rest in between. However, the aspect that undoubtedly took me by surprise was the speed at which you learn. In my first month alone, I went from hearing terms for the first time such as trial balance and general ledger to using them multiple times every day. This is a positive aspect that really took me by surprise, and it shows the value that the apprenticeship route offers.


Firstly, I would strongly recommend the route as a whole, especially in accounting and finance due to the number of firms offering these positions. My first piece of advice would be to have an open mind when applying, do not just apply to the places you know. I applied to fifteen places overall as you simply do not know which firm is going to be the best place for you and which stages you will get through. I would also recommend getting into touch with apprentices who have gone through the process before you, as ultimately, we have gone through the process first hand and will be in the best place to offer you advice (please feel free to reach out to me too!). Finally, my best piece of advice would be to be

yourself throughout the process. This is advice you will hear time and time again because it is good advice! The recruitment process is not just to determine if you are a good fit for the firm, but also to determine if the firm is a good fit for you (this is exactly what I was told at the beginning of my experience day).


This is a question which I have thought long and hard about and my honest answer is I do not know! However, this is honestly an advantage of the apprenticeship route. As my apprenticeship is a five-year course, I will (providing I pass) be 23 years-old with five years of audit experience and an ACA qualification (an industry recognised accounting qualification). This should open the door for me to either stay in audit and progress through the levels or I can look to work in another area of finance such as strategy or investment banking. Given my age, I will have the opportunity to go elsewhere in finance without losing time in terms of my career. Another option that I am strongly considering is an international secondment for a few years which, given I am not going to university, might be an exciting opportunity! 

For pupils wanting to reach out to Husayn for advice you can reach him through our CaterhamConnected networking platform:




Addis, John (OC 1944 – 1952)

Baker, George (OC 1934 – 1940)

Here are the names of those who have passed away this last year, you can read obituaries for Caterhamians on the Old Caterhamians’ Association website In Memoriam section:

If you would like to share memories or photos of your friends and family on the In Memoriam page of the website, please email:

Charrosin, Andrew (OC 1980 – 1990)

Finn, Anthony (OC 1935 – 1943)

Good, Christopher (OC 1956 – 1961)

Hill, Jane (née O’Leary) (OC 1991 – 1993)

Roberts, David (OC 1948 – 1956)

Tong, Anthea (Teacher at Eothen & Caterham School)

Turner, Stephen (OC 1973 – 1980)

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Armstrong, Wade (OC 1957 – 1966) Ashley, Leonard (OC 1936 – 1941) Back, Roger (OC 1938 – 1947) Butterfill, John (OC 1952 – 1957) Burch, David (OC 1958 – 1967) Darley, Julian (OC 1950 – 1957, Foundation Member)
We are sad to say farewell to so many from our Caterham School community and our condolences and thoughts are with those who loved them.
Dunphy, Brian (Hon OC, Caretaker 1985 – 2013) Owen, John (Senior Vice-President of the School, Foundation Member) Pike, William (OC 1941 – 1949) Eustace, Colin (OC 1945 – 1948) Palmer, Robert (OC 1951 – 1960) Rees, Michael (OC 1957 – 1964) Tatham, Anthony (OC 1949 – 1956) Sweeting, Ian (OC 1974 – 1983) Walters, David (OC 1946 – 1952) Pidgeon, Geoffrey (OC 1936 – 1942) Moseley, David Lynn (OC 1947 – 1955) Mossman, David (Teacher at Caterham School 1963 – 1995)

inspiring education

This is why we continue to build our Transformational Bursaries Appeal with the aim of raising funds to create school places for children who would have no other chance of accessing a Caterham education.

The Caterham School Transformational Bursaries Fund was established in 2019 to transform young people’s life chances. We work with local primary schools and the Royal National Children’s SpringBoard Foundation to identify children facing challenging circumstances, who are from lowincome households and who qualify for free school meals. In addition we prioritise places for children who:

• may be on the edge of, or in the care system

• are living in overcrowded housing

• have a lack of mentors and role models within their immediate environment

• and are from families where there is intergenerational unemployment

Throughout our appeal, we have been overwhelmed by the community support and your generosity. Please consider helping us to support life changing opportunities for even more young people by setting up a regular Direct Debit to the Transformational Bursaries Appeal. Every gift, however small, will make a big difference to the future prospects of a child. And, as a charity, Caterham School can claim Gift Aid making your donation go further. Thank you.

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Bursaries Appeal
Caterham School Transformational
Caterham School is a registered charity (no. 1109508)
An outstanding education has the power to transform lives – the lives of the individual child and of their family and wider community.

Coming to Caterham School was life-changing and character-building. It helped open my eyes to the world and gave me the confidence to feel capable in my own abilities. I didn’t know how things would work out when I arrived, but good things came from it. Hard work pays off and being at Caterham School opened many doors for me.

If you would like more information, to make a donation or to discuss other ways to help the School, please contact Emma Collings, Director of Development: 01883 335111 support-us

Former pupil and Bursary Fund recipient

Caterham School

Harestone Valley Road


Surrey CR3 6YA

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