Half Term Highlights

28 October 2016

We’ve collated a few pieces written by schools about their recent Speakers for Schools talk.

Peter Wanless – Thomas Aveling School

Our sixth form Sociology students were given the amazing opportunity to attend a question and answer session with visitor Peter Wanless, the Chief Executive of the NSPCC, as part of the Speakers4Schools initiative.

The talk discussed a wide variety of issues regarding child safety and the role of the NSPCC and its influence within the charity sector. It was inspiring to hear about the history of the charity and how it has transformed itself to continue to promote children’s voices within a more globalised and technology-driven society. Moreover, our students were informed about how it works with different institutions such as the media and the government to reach its goal of “ending child cruelty”.


‘All our students were inspired by the visit and they will be able to apply what they have heard to a range of topics within their studies as well as considering their role in making a

Samira Sohail – Ounslow St. Audrey’s School

On the 5th of October, the Sixth Form students were lucky enough to have a speech presented by Samira Sohail, who previously worked at the BBC as a Strategy Manager on the growth and business development. She was involved with services such as iPlayer and BBC Playlister (the BBC’s first music digital service).

Samira’s speech described her own life experiences, informing us about her previous work at an investment bank, her educational history at Trinity College, University of Cambridge and her year out in Paris and more recently Bali. It was through her own experiences that she was able to express the life lessons she had learnt throughout her life, and pass on her wisdom to us.

Three of the sixth form students who attended the speech said:

‘Don’t take the advice of another, live by the instinct of your heart’

‘Samira was a really interesting speaker, with some great stories from her life so far. It was refreshing to hear about someone who has managed to achieve so much in their life – academically, personally and professionally. I feel inspired to go and live my life to the fullest’

‘The speech taught us to always stay true to who we are and “be the hero of our own story”, and that if we stick to this, we will achieve a happy, enjoyable future.’

Overall, it was an inspiring speech which prepared our students for the next step in their lives.


Will Butler-Adams – Chiswick School


Chiswick School Year 11 and Sixth Form students spent over an hour in the company of William Butler Adams, CEO of the innovative British cycle company Brompton.

William Butler-Adams spoke about his personal difficulties engaging with school and how his desire for education only really came alive after University when he was travelling the world in a gap year. He found himself alone and working in Argentina picking lemons to earn some money for the next stage of his journey, “I was there for three months and I was the only one not speaking Spanish, I am a born communicator so had to learn how to speak the language, I left completely fluent”.  It was also whilst picking those lemons, (which he described as a back breaking job), that “I decided that I needed to further my education to make sure that I opened other opportunities later in life and wasn’t left picking lemons forever.”

William went on to describe his chance meeting with Andrew Ritchie the founder of Brompton on a coach journey many years ago, his entrance into the company “I thought, why not” and his rise to CEO. He explained how the company approached marketing “real life testimonies rather than choreographed photo shoots” and gave Chiswick students an insight into the future direction of this successful and innovative British company.

The session finished with an open question and answer session that ran over into lunch as a result of the students (a mixture of Year 11 Product Design and Business and Year 12/13 Business and Mathematics students’) interest.

Tony Ryan, Headteacher said:

‘An essential part of our role as educators is to prepare our students for the world of work. We need to bring learning out of the classroom and provide opportunities for Chiswick students to question how successful people think, act and operate. We are indebted to Speakers for Schools for providing access to such high calibre business leaders.’

Richard Murrell – New College Nottingham

bbc-talk-for-webNew College Nottingham film, television and journalism students have been given an insight into the media industry thanks to a guest lecture by the BBC’s Director of World News, Richard Murrell.

Addressing a packed Broadway Cinema, where the lecture took place, Richard advised to ‘bombard them with emails and knock down their doors’ when talking about getting a foot in the door of the sector.

The lecture covered a variety of topics, ranging from the history of the BBC to Richard’s career and how he got his Director role.

There was also a Q and A session where students were able to learn more about the various roles in the industry and also ask Richard about his time at the BBC.


Our thanks to all the schools and speakers who have taken part in the programme this half term. 

To see the original posts for each talk please follow the links below:

Peter WanlessSamira SohailWill Butler-AdamsRichard Murrell;