Dame Barbara Stocking, ex-CEO of Oxfam, at Landau Forte College

Image of Dame Barbara Stocking, former Oxfam CEO, in conversation with students at Landau Forte college

Themes: Industry Workings, Future Citizens

Topics: Global Economy & Economic Development, Government & Politics, Charities & Not-for-Profit

The school made the most of their speaker’s expertise by preparing students for the event and organising smaller sessions in addition to the main talk. The students Barbara spoke with in the smaller sessions had knowledge of her area of expertise, either through study or extra-curricular interests, and all students attending the main talk had researched her background beforehand. This meant students were engaged throughout the talk and asked thoughtful questions that really drew on Barbara’s unique insight- making it a great experience for the speaker and useful for students.

Dame Barbara Stocking’s background made her an excellent match for Landau Forte College. As well as leading major humanitarian responses and campaigns whilst CEO of Oxfam GB from May 2001 until February 2013, Dame Barbara regularly spoke at major global meetings as part of the role, and was a regional Director at the NHS before moving to the charity.

Dame Barbara was made to feel extremely welcome; upon arriving at the school she was greeted by the student council and the Academy’s deputy-heads, at least one of whom was present at each session throughout the day. Before speaking to 200 students in the school’s auditorium, there was a smaller discussion with this group. Students and teachers told Barbara about the charitable projects students were working on and heard her thoughts on issues such as quotas for women in the workplace and applying to Oxbridge.

Dame Barbara then delivered a presentation in the school’s auditorium. Amongst other things, she discussed the ‘detours’ her career took before leading her to international development, why she’s made the choices she had and the valuable skills to be gained through volunteering. Teachers who had been working with students to prepare questions stepped in to pick students during the Q&A. The teachers’ knowledge of what questions had been prepared by students allowed them to ensure there was a balance between general questions such as ‘Who do you aspire to?’ and more specific ones on Barbara’s work at Oxfam and global poverty.

This was followed by a talk with a smaller group of younger students, who were focusing on ways to help their local community. This was in a smaller classroom space than the auditorium talk and was shorter, which suited the younger audience. The day ended with Dame Barbara discussing fundraising ideas with students who were working on the school’s charity projects.

This was a fantastic events that we know both school and speaker thoroughly enjoyed, and we’d like to thank everyone involved.