Beyond School Talks – Thank you to Speakers offering Students Amazing Opportunities

8 February 2017

Here is just one example of how documentary film maker James Brabazon turned his expertise into an invaluable opportunity for students

Our speakers continually offer more of their time after a school talk in such a variety of ways, whether that be through subsequent visits to the school or workplace visits for students. We know this can have a domino effect for students, creating new conversations in the classroom that end up sparking new ambitions, to thinking about their own potential differently.


James Brabazon gives students extended opportunities:

“Speakers for Schools introduced me to Fulston Manor School in Sittingbourne, Kent, in 2015. After several visits I decided to set up and fund a creative writing competition there. The prize is named after by best friend at secondary school, Jacob Illahi, who drowned when we were 17 and who was the inspiration for much of my later writing.”



James Brabazon, documentary filmmaker, journalist, and author visited Fulston Manor School on Friday 20th January to present the winners of the Jacob Illahi Creative Writing Competition with their amazing prizes. James is a regular visitor to the school and wanted to encourage the creativity in the students and so, together with English teacher Miss Jasmine Mulligan, workshops were set up to help the students write their amazing entries. Spike Sweeney, 12, and Lewis Hadlow, 15, took the top prizes and each won £500 of Bluewater Vouchers and the opportunity to meet with a literary agent in London. Both boys were ecstatic with their wins and Spike said ‘Everyone deserves a victory in their lives and this is mine!’ whilst Lewis commented ‘I did feel bad for the rest of the people who entered the competition because I’m sure they deserved it just as much but I am very VERY happy!’. Runners up were Chloe Ellingham, Ellen McDermott, Matthew Weatherall and Connor Hamilton who all won a bundle of 13 books donated from publishers Penguin and Canongate. All of the students received a signed copy of James Brabazon’s book ‘My Friend The Mercenary’. Mr Alan Brookes, Headteacher, said ‘We have been delighted to work with James on this fantastically exciting project. It has raised the profile of creative writing across the whole school and I am pleased to add my congratulations to all of the students who took part and, of course, particularly the winners’.



We know we have hundreds of our speakers also offering opportunities beyond a talk, but sometimes too bashful to let us know what amazing opportunities they have opened up to young people in our state schools! We know there are so many more speakers and their organisations doing similar work, who we would like to thank for their brilliant contributions in encouraging state school students in all that they are capable of. 

Do you have a similar story of how your S4S talk has lead to an amazing outcome or opportunity for a student? We want to know! Get in touch with our team at

Are you a speaker or employer and want to know more about how you can offer more after your talk? Be sure to see our Extended Opportunities for ideas, and contact our team about forthcoming ways our charity is helping facilitate these.