Left The Grove in 2017
When she was in Year 12, we asked Cecilia what she thought about Woodhouse Grove. This is what she had to say:
“Everyone knows each other at this school and they do their best to make you feel welcome. It is a very academic school. But it’s certainly more than that. It has developed me and made me realise my potential in lots of different areas, not just academia, but sports, music and much more. Musically I play the piano, I’m grade 8.
“Before I came here I wasn’t sporty at all, I couldn’t even finish the 400m race. But now, I feel completely different. I run all the time and go to the gym. Even in netball my captain was saying I’ve really developed as a player. And if you go to training, you get better, people compliment you and you see yourself develop. And we play with older years. Getting involved with netball means you’re in a team with people from the year above and you have to get on with each other because you spend so much time together. Going on the Caribbean netball tour was a real highlight. It was a very different experience playing out there. It was a big tournament and the teams play quite differently out there. Everyone badly wanted to win. It was a fiery match.
“When I finish here at Woodhouse Grove, my plan is to go down to London and get into LSE and work in the financial sector. But at the end of the day you’re only working for someone else and I’m not so sure about that. I would like to do something where you travel around the world, potentially a financial consultant or perhaps a job at the United Nations.”
As it turns out, Cecillia went on to achieve 5 A* in her A Levels, plus two AS equivalent subjects at A* grade. She is currently reading Geography at St Catherine’s College, Oxford.
Year 13 at The Grove
Since James arrived at The Grove, he has made his presence felt on the rugby pitch. He has also played for Skipton and then Bradford & Bingley before achieving his current position playing prop for Leicester Tigers Academy.
James was capped for the England U18 in South Africa this summer where he played a 3 test series.
James has some rather large rugby boots to fill. His great grandfather, Frank Whitcombe, is described as among the greatest Welsh rugby league forwards and his father, Martin, reached first-team status at Leicester Tigers, making 68 appearances in the 1980s.
Martin said: “We can’t thank Keith Jones, Roger Howard, Adrian Sweeney and the rest of the staff at Woodhouse Grove enough for their support.”
James was asked what three things he would want if he was stranded on a desert island. His answer: my phone, some food and…a rugby ball.
Year 9 at The Grove
When she was in Year 7, Annabel’s band came out winners at The Grove’s annual Night of Rock competition. We knew we had a fine drummer on our hands. Then, when she was in Year 8, Annabel made theatre history as the first girl to land the part of drummer Freddy in the hit West End musical School of Rock. Andrew Lloyd Webber himself was so impressed with Annabel’s talent that he gave the go ahead for the many performance and script changes required for her to step into what was previously a boy’s role.
Annabel’s mum, Sarah, told us: “We found out Annabel had been offered the role of Freddy at the end of June, and to this day we still can’t quite believe it. It is lovely to see her dedication to music and all the hard work she put into the auditions pay off. She is having the time of her life!”
Annabel has recently completed her second run in the show.
Left The Grove in 2000
Tom joined Woodhouse Grove in Brontë House in 1988 and left The Grove in 2000. He is married to Danielle – also an Old Grovian – and they have two children, Sebastian and Eleanor.
After leaving The Grove, Tom studied at Manchester University and became a member of Manchester and Salford University Air Squadron. In 2005, he joined the Royal Air Force and had several deployments to the Falkland Islands as well as exercises in Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
He applied to join the Red Arrows in January 2014 and found out that he was shortlisted in March. The short list consisted of 9 candidates for 3 places and was a week at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. The week involved a formal interview, a ﬂying test and other activities with the team. Tom found out that he had been accepted as a member of the display team in July, saying: “It was the professionalism of the Red Arrows and the excellence of what they do that stood out to me and inspired me to apply to join. I believe the Red Arrows ﬁrmly stand for these qualities and I will be immensely proud to be part of the team.”
Three years is the maximum that a pilot can fly in the display team. In October 2017, before relocating to Anglesey, Tom came back to The Grove to talk to pupils about his career – including his ﬁnal role with the Red Arrows team as Red Arrows 6, Synchro Leader, responsible for leading the most dynamic moves of the display. We were delighted and proud to receive his Red Arrows Flying Jacket.
Tom told us: “The education I received from The Grove was than just about academic success. It gave me the self belief to challenge myself and the resilience required to achieve my ambitions.”
Left The Grove in 1994
Victoria left The Grove in 1994 equipped with ten GCSEs and four A-Levels and secured a place at the University of Dundee on a four-year course to study a degree in Accountancy and Business Finance. In August 1998, she was offered a role as an audit assistant working for RSM, a ‘top 10’ accountancy firm, which also gave her the opportunity to study towards an ACA qualification whilst gaining ‘on the job’ experience at the same time. Over the following years Victoria has been promoted a number of times and became a partner in 2015.
Victoria said: “At Woodhouse Grove I had some excellent teachers who really encouraged me to believe in myself. I left school with a clear understanding of the importance of working hard, always doing your best and treating others how you would like to be treated yourself. I have taken this with me to this day and have applied this in working hard for a degree, securing a job, passing my ACA and developing my career from trainee to Partner.”