Alumni stories

Abbie Bartley
PGCE Student
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Abbie Bartley
PGCE Student

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2011 – 2014 | performing arts and law
  • The University of Winchester | BA (Hons) drama and educational studies.

Professional achievements:

  • Worked with practitioners and groups including Cecily O'Neill, Brian Woolland, Big Brum Theatre Company and Scamp Theatre Company.

Advice for students:

"Get involved in the enrichment activities! My experience participating in Rock Challenge helped me gain a place on my teacher training programme. The tutors at Richard Taunton are very experienced and knowledgeable, so listen to them when it comes to making choices about your future. My drama and dance teachers sparked my passion for teaching and helped me realise that I wanted to do it as a profession."
Adam Carley
Senior Design and Print Manager
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Adam Carley
Senior Design and Print Manager

Education

  • Upper Shirley High School
  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2004 - 2007 | film, media and photography courses
  • Staffordshire University | BSc in Film Production Technology.

Professional achievements:

  • Founding a successful design company
  • Producing design and branding work for multiple charity retail outlets across the south coast.
  • Having my design work published internationally.

Advice for students:

"Use your time at college to expand and explore your creativity, anything you want to do is possible."
Andy Wareham
Composer
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Andy Wareham
Composer

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2011 – 2013 | music, music technology, physics and maths
  • Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama | brass band conducting.

Professional achievements:

  • Featured regularly as a trumpet player on BBC Radio, most recently with ‘Johnny Cage and the Voodoo Groove’ and ‘Jac Mac’s Funk Pack’
  • Won the Vivendi Student Composition Award (2012)
  • Won best student composition in the University Brass Brand Championships of Great Britain (2016)
  • Won the Cory Band Composition Prize (2017)
  • Worked with the City of Cardiff Brass Band Organisation, The Rogerstone Community Band and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Advice for students:

"Whatever it is you want to do in life, push yourself to fill your time with whatever will help you to achieve it!"
April Hodge
Design Director
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April Hodge
Design Director

Education

  • Oaklands Community School
  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2006 - 2007 | media and photography courses
  • Southampton Solent University | BSc (Hons) in website design and internet technology.

Professional achievements:

  • Founding my own website design company within six months of graduating from university
  • Running a successful company for six years.

Advice for students:

"Embrace and enjoy your time at college. Work hard, help others and relish in the collaborative team spirit of eventual success."
Bethany Martin
Gymnastics Coach
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Bethany Martin
Gymnastics Coach

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2009 – 2011 | sports courses and art
  • Solent University | BA (Hons) in sport coaching and development
  • Solent University | MSc in athletic development and peak performance.

Professional achievements:

  • Representing GBR at various international competitions, including European Championships and the World Championships in Mexico in 2014
  • Setting up my own Aerobic Gymnastics Club and training young gymnasts.

Advice for students:

"Get stuck in, concentrate and work hard, because time flies by!"
Charlie Anderson
MBA Student
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Charlie Anderson
MBA Student

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2007 – 2011 | Sports
  • Lynn University, Florida | MBA in international business and marketing.

Professional achievements:

  • Won two NJCAA division three conference, regional and national championships
  • Won the NCAA division two Sunshine State conference, conference tournament and national championship.

Advice for students:

"Don’t ever be afraid to follow your dreams. When someone tells you your education is important, believe them. It was because of my education that I was able to have such success during my time living in America."
Christopher Hewitt
Actor
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Christopher Hewitt
Actor

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2011 – 2013 | musical theatre course
  • The Urdang Academy | BA (Hons) professional musical theatre and dance.

Professional achievements:

  • Played the lead role of 'Man in Chair' in The Drowsy Chaperone (Pleasence Theatre, London)
  • Part of the UK premiere and original cast of the Broadway production of Disaster! the Musical (Charing Cross Theatre, London)
  • Filmed 'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them 2' with Eddie Redmayne and Johnny Depp.

Advice for students:

"Never give up! If you know that you want a career in performing arts it is so important to never lose sight of why you love it. The business is hard and often challenging but believe in yourself, be determined, keep training and developing your craft and to try to make yourself the most versatile performer you can possibly be. You can always be better and make improvements in some way!"
Daisy Wheeller
Actor & Singer
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Daisy Wheeller
Actor & Singer

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2010 – 2012 | musical theatre, popular music, and psychology courses
  • Performance Preparation Academy | Diploma in musical theatre.

Professional achievements:

  • Secured a job at AIDA Cruise Lines as a lead vocalist
  • Worked in Fringe Theatre, pantomime and as a production vocalist overseas.

Advice for students:

"Instead of making long-term plans, have short-term, achievable goals because life always manages to take you in different directions. Jump in and enjoy the ride!"
James Ferrier
Pilot
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James Ferrier
Pilot

Education

  • Noadswood Schooll
  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2014 – 2016 | maths, physics and football.

Personal achievement:

  • Being accepted as a trainee pilot with Easyjet.

Advice for students:

"Follow what you want to do. Nothing that is worth doing comes without hard work and sacrifice, but don't forget to have fun!"
Katie Downer
Project Manager
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Katie Downer
Project Manager

Education:

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2012 – 2014 | performing arts and music courses
  • University of Winchester | BA (Hons) performing arts.

Professional achievements:

  • Project managed an art project (predominantly performed in Winchester Cathedral) for the University of Winchester
  • Train choirs (generally gospel music) at various youth theatres in the south of England
  • Freelance musician for musical theatre shows
  • Worked for the lead vocalist on the latest Jay-Z album and for Zazu from The Lion King (West End).

Advice for students:

"Learn what you do better than anyone else and use it to your advantage. Make sure your skills and passion shine through!"
Lauren Barrett
Learning Support Assistant
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Lauren Barrett
Learning Support Assistant

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2011 – 2013 | health & social care, English, psychology and sociology
  • University of Brighton | BA (Hons) in education

Personal achievement:

  • Securing a place at Cardiff Metropolitan University to study a PGCE

Advice for students:

"Choose subjects you enjoy and take part in the enrichment opportunities that RTSFC offers. Many of the opportunities have stuck with me; from example, experiencing different cultures volunteering in Africa and rehearsing and performing against other colleges in Rock Challenge. These experiences shaped my time at Richard Taunton and also helped me with getting into university. Around exam time my advice would be to try your best but not to put pressure on yourself, and to make the most of the support offered from tutors."
Leo Meredith
Contemporary Dance & Ballet Specialist
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Leo Meredith
Contemporary Dance & Ballet Specialist

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2012 – 2014 | dance and performing arts courses
  • Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Professional achievements:

  • Contemporary Dance and Ballet Specialist at Theatre For Life
  • Freelance dance artist
  • Emily May Dance Theatre project
  • Performed at the Breaking Boundaries Festival
  • Performed in the Rosie Kay Dance Company curtain raiser for 5 Soldiers
  • Performed in the New Adventures curtain raiser for The Red Shoes
  • Worked with Joli Vyann (hydc), Zoi Dimitriou (Laban), Lizzi Kew-Ross ('Some Go'- Laban) and Marina Collard ('Why I'm Not Talking'- Laban).

Advice for students:

“Know your learning style (are you more of a visual dancer or a visceral dancer). Always try as much as possible to get out of your comfort zone and experience a new way of moving/learning.”
Lucy Anderson
Paramedic
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Lucy Anderson
Paramedic

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2011 – 2013 | music, biology, maths and chemistry courses
  • University of Brighton | BSc (Hons) in paramedic practice.

Professional achievements:

  • Qualifying as a paramedic
  • Securing a job with the South East Coast Ambulance Service.

Advice for students:

"Enjoy college, it's so much better than secondary school! Achieve the best grades possible as this will open doors for you in the future. Aim for a job/career that you want, not what someone else wants you to do. You are the one that has to do the job after all!"
Luke Baker
Media Sales Support
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Luke Baker
Media Sales Support

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2010 – 2013 | English, Italian, French and business courses
  • First class BA Hons in Italian and management studies.

Professional achievements:

  • Secured a job at an international print media firm providing multi-lingual sales support to Italian partner companies
  • Produced and directed eight shows at university. The two shows that took place in a 500-seat West End theatre both won awards
  • Travel Editor for the university magazine.

Advice for students:

"Plan your time carefully so that you can be as productive as possible and keep on track with your studies."
Luke Newman
CEO
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Luke Newman
CEO

Education

  • Oaklands Community School
  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2010 – 2013 | sports and maths courses.

Professional achievements:

  • Building Testlands to a multi functional organising that serves the community on many levels
  • Setting up our registered charity to help and support people in need across Southampton.

Advice for students:

"Life is all about choices. Have your moral compass in the right direction and your choices will help create an enjoyable and successful journey."
Manisha Kumar
International News Anchor
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Manisha Kumar
International News Anchor

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 1992- 1994 | French, biology, history and economics
  • University of Oxford | BA (Hons) in philosophy, politics and economics.

Professional achievements:

  • Presenting for BBC News, in New York and London, from 2001-2008
  • Winner of Summerson Goodacre & Daily Telegraph Industry Commentator of the Year in 2007
  • Nominated for two awards for achievement under the age of 30.

Advice for students:

"WORK HARD now, so that you can enjoy yourself later! Keep your eyes open for opportunity. Stay humble, stay grateful and keep on moving."
Phil Grant
Primary School Teacher
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Phil Grant
Primary School Teacher

Education

  • Oaklands Community School
  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 1990 - 1993 | art and communications courses
  • University of Winchester | BA (Hons) in education.

Professional achievements:

  • Leading a year group of 90 children
  • Becoming a school improvement team leader.

Advice for students:

"Find something you love and go for it. If you try your hardest then the sky is the limit!"
Will Anderson
Recording Engineer
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Will Anderson
Recording Engineer

Education

  • Richard Taunton Sixth Form College 2009 – 2011 | maths, physics and music courses.
  • University of Surrey | music and sound recording (Tonmeister).

Professional achievements:

  • Won the Dave Fisher Classical Recording Prize in 2015
  • Worked with some major classical artists including Dmitri Alexeev, Davitt Moroney, Emma Johnson, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Advice for students:

"Grab every opportunity offered to you at Richard Taunton Sixth form! Working hard academically goes without saying, but don't forget to jump at the other chances offered at college."