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Prince Henry's People


Prince Henry's People are the future. We believe that our students really contribute to the world as global citizens when they leave us. We want every student see that they have a future beyond our school to which they can aspire. A future where their talents and qualities are recognised and where they contribute to a wider society.

Working with our students, we found ex-students from Prince Henry's who have excelled in their field. These are the first of the Prince Henry's People they chose to inspire their fellow students.

Qais Ashfaq - Boxer

Qais, who attended Prince Henry’s from 2004 to 2009, is an Olympian and Commonwealth Silver medallist boxer, who recently won the WBA Continental Champion’s belt. He is now a professional boxer. Qais visited us in school in early 2020 to talk to our Sixth Form A Level PE and BTEC Sport students.

Christopher Bevan - Council Legal Officer

Chris Bevan always says that 'Prince Henry's was [his] catapult'. He credits Prince Henry's with helping towards his current career, as a Prosecutor, working towards becoming a fully fledged Barrister. 

I joined Prince Henry’s in 2004. I joined the school in Year 9 after a very difficult start in life.  In fact, I was raised in care and as far as I could see I had no future, certainly not one as a barrister! This school changed that. In fact, joining this school was the start of something very special and personal to me. I was nurtured by the school to achieve my absolute best through the most difficult of circumstances. Throughout my time with the school, I took all the opportunities available to me, both academic and extra circular. I performed well in my exams and even took some lead roles in the annual school musical on a few occasions. At Prince Henry’s, I was transformed from a scared child without seemingly much hope into a confident young man with a belief that an entire future is out there, beyond those doors, ahead of me. Since leaving school I went on to university and eventually studied law. I then won the most prestigious scholarship from a barrister’s organisation, one of the Inns of Court, which fully funded me to train as a barrister [Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, Diana Princes of Wales Scholarship]. I still have some training to complete, although I now work as a Prosecutor for Leeds City Council prosecuting criminal offences in the local courts. Because you are reading this, my fellow student, you are looking for inspiration. So, I have this to say to you: Strive for the best and be your best. You have all the tools in your bag to do so. Use them. It is down to you and regardless of who you are and where you come from, your whole life is ahead of you. This school is yours, so allow it to help you. Dream big and go get it! Allow this place to be your catapult too.

Christopher Bevan

Dan Bullock - Royal Marine Commando

Dan is an ordinary lad from Otley, who became a Marine Commando. This is a 32-week process which culminates in the Commando tests: endurance crawls through two miles of tunnels, pools, streams, bogs and woods, then a four mile run back to camp and a shooting test, a 90 minutes speed march, carrying equipment and rifle, an aerial assault course in 13 minutes, carrying equipment and rifle, and finally a 30 mile march across Dartmoor, to be completed in less than eight hours, carrying equipment and a rifle. Dan’s interest in fitness started in his GCSE PE lessons at PHGS, and we are all incredibly proud of his achievement.

Lizzie Deignan - Cyclist

A keen all-round athlete , Lizzie only took up cycling when she attended a British Cycling Talent Team session at school to avoid a maths lesson and try and beat a schoolfriend who challenged her!

A vegetarian since the age of 10, she had tasted success in athletics, at 800 and 1,500-metre track races, and even played as a goalkeeper for her school football team.

Lizzie is one of the great success stories of British Cycling, developing through the ranks to become a dominant force in women’s cycling, and road world champion in 2015.

She had the honour of being the first British athlete to win a medal - silver - at the home London Olympics in 2012 and became one of the country’s most famous sportspeople.

But her many and varied successes aside from that include a gold medal in the team pursuit at the 2009 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, two wins in the season-long UCI Women’s Road World Cup and Deignan entered the new Olympic year of 2016 as reigning world, Commonwealth and national road champion.

In 2019, she performed admirably in front of home crowds as the peloton came through Otley during the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire.

In September 2018, Lizzie gave birth to her first child, daughter Orla.

Anne Longfield - The Children's Commissioner

Anne Longfield OBE has been the Children’s Commissioner for England since March 2015. She speaks up for children and young people so that policymakers and the people who have an impact on their lives take their views and interests into account when making decisions about them.

She has a legal duty to promote and protect the rights of all children in England with a particular focus on children and young people who are in or leaving care, living away from home or receiving social care services.

She has powers of data collection under section 2f of The Children’s Act (2014) as well as powers of inspection over any institution where children may be housed. These powers were added to the office from the original 2004 act which established the Children’s Commissioner’s role. The Commissioner is independent of Government, children’s agencies, the voluntary and private sector.

In December 2017, she spoke at our annual Celebration Evening:

At midday today, I tuned into Parliament TV to watch proceedings in the House of Lords – a debate introduced by Baroness Brenda Dean.  The debate was on the hundreds of thousands of children that I,as Children’s Commissioner for England, and my team,  have highlighted over recent months.  My role is a public appointment.  I am written into law and paid for by government but independent with a responsibility to be the eyes and ears of children in the system.  It is my responsibility to see where children are being overlooked and tell decision makers what needs to change These children are often hidden from view and highly vulnerable.  And it’s my job to shine a light on their often very challenging lives.

700,000 children today who are living in families where their parents have complex problems – addicted to drugs or alcohol, with mental health problems, with violence in the home.  

The half a million children, the population the size of Leeds, who are so vulnerable they are in the care of the state. The almost 50,000 children in gangs and highly vulnerable.  The list goes on – and these by the way, are conservative estimates.

Baroness Dean in the Lords debate today  likened it to a Dickensian state of being. Children who are having their childhood stolen and their potential held back as a result.

These statistics and data are shocking and important in themselves but these are real life experiences for too many children.  And these are the children that I – and my team are determined to help live better lives: Through new research, through great policy analysis, by taking and understanding children’s real life experiences, by working with the media and by persuading those parliamentarians who make decisions how important this is.  We are planning on changing the balance and to give these kids a chance. I want all kids to have the brightest future possible.

‘I’m talking about this very disturbing issues -  not to bring a cloud over a celebratory evening but to share with you my belief that I do this job because of the foundations that this school gave me some decades ago.

I firmly believe that my time at PHGS – studying History, English and Economics gave me the critical thinking, 

the breadth of horizon, an understanding of how our history has unfolded,  the skills and empathy with others you need to make a powerful argument.

And to strengthen my case on this even more, there is something else quite extraordinary to share.  In my office of 25 people, there is not just one person who attended this school but two.  Here with me this evening is also Jo Green – now my Head of news and media, formerly head of Labour’s press office and a highly skilled and highly regarded writer and media communicator.  

The debate that was held in the Lords today was held because the Evening Standard – the newspaper that sets the agenda for millions of Londoners and decision makers every day- ran a week long front page investigation on ‘lost childhoods’ – based on our report into vulnerability and the real life stories of the children involved.  Jo’s team secured the interest of the Standard which shows just how important his work is.

Now it is very common for people from the some schools to be in positions of influence at the top of government – it’s a well known fact that very recent cabinets have had a high proportion of ministers who attended Eton.  But I’m particularly proud that 10% of my team are Otliensians.  I think the experience and knowledge that we gained from our time at this school has given us a brilliant set of skills and life experiences we can use as a force for good.

Coincidently, Jo and I took the same subjects at A level and although his exams were a decade after me we had almost the same set of teachers. For both of us our time at this school allowed us to discover know who we are and gave us confidence in our abilities. It helped us to understand how we can use those skills to influence positive change in our society.  

Not everyone will choose to follow the career paths that we have taken, but I am struck by the similarity of the range of skills that I think we had the opportunity to gain with the skills that experts predict will be the most valuable skills for the future. 

We know that we are in a time of change – the digital world is developing at speed – most of you here today think that being able to talk to someone face to face at the other side of the world at the click of a button is perfectly normal.  Some of us remember when it wasn’t and its not that long ago. If Facebook was an human it would only just becoming a teenager and just old enough to use its own platform.  That’s something to think about when you consider the billions of users who now see it as a trusted part of their lives.

Artificial intelligence is racing towards us with all the exciting and unknown possibilities it entails.  There are predictions that robots will be taking over many of the jobs of the past.  The world will get faster and smaller and the possibilities will be even more unlimited and yet at the same time more uncertain.

So to deal with all this, the experts tell us that there are some skills that will be invaluable to individuals and society in the future.  They are:

A clear sense of self – who you are and how confident you are with yourself - in a world where individuality will become more important and we move away from one size fits all.

The ability to form networks – to build relationships and, friendships and people who can help

The ability to be flexible and deal and respond to uncertainty

And the ability to come up with solutions – be action orientated and think of new ways of doing things

The ability to look after the world around them – whether that’s the environment, the community, the street or block you live in.

Self confidence as an individual, good at making friends and networks, flexible, able to find new solutions to old problems and an ability to nurture the world around you. These are the things that are going to be prized over decades to come and these are the things that I think PHGS has been able to offer you.

I had the privilege to visit the school last month and talk to teachers and pupils about the work of the school.  I was really impressed by the achievements of children at PHGS and really grateful to the young people I met who talked to me about their concerns and priorities.

I know that you all stepping out into world of work and study and that you have an exciting adventure and journey ahead of you.   But it is your future and your society of the future ultimately and I would encourage each and every one of you to do all you can to influence that future in the most positive way possible.  PHGS has given you a brilliant kitbag and springboard for success and I hope you will benefit from this foundation in all that you do.

We get the society we choose and we all have the potential and responsibility to influence it for the better in any way we can.

Meanwhile, I, Jo and the rest of the team will be turning up the spotlight on vulnerable children with a determination to offer a brighter future for every one of them.  

As AA Milne the author of Winnie the Pooh said – you must always remember – you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

Congratulations on all that you have achieved and all the very best of luck for all that is to come.

Mark Stanley - Actor

Mark came to Prince Henry's Sixth Form because of the AASE Elite Rugby programme. At the end of Sixth Form, he applied to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He secured his first role, as Grenn in Game of Thrones, as he graduated. He is also known for roles in Run, The White House, Dark River, Criminal UK and Honour.

Chloe Tear - Activist

Chloe Tear left Prince Henry’s in 2016, to study Psychology and Child Development at Leeds Trinity University where she received a First Class Honours degree. Chloe has cerebral palsy which affects the left side of her body and she became registered as partially sighted during her time at university due to a quick deterioration in her vision.

She started a blog, Life as a Cerebral Palsy Student, during a Year 10 IT lesson at Prince Henry’s and this formed the basis of her desire to raise awareness. Her blog later changed its name to ‘Chloe Tear’ when she left education. She’s a tireless campaigner, disability activist and public speaker who appears on radio and television as well pursing a freelance writing career. Her work has supported the BBC, Scope and RNIB while regularly supporting national campaigns in the field. Chloe is working to raise awareness of living with cerebral palsy and sight loss, with her focus on a need to change public attitudes towards disability.

In 2018, she was given a Prime Minister’s Points of Light award for raising disability awareness and has twice featured in the Shaw Trust Power 100 List which comprised of the most influential disabled people in Britain.

Matthew Walker - Global Senior Brand Director, Arla Foods

Matt Walker has worked in Global Marketing for over 15 years with brands such as Heinz®, Evian® & Danone®. He is currently Global Senior Arla Brand Director, a brand sold in over hundred countries to millions of consumers globally.

Innovation & brand communication are the key tenants of his work in marketing.

In innovation, he  works on understanding consumers anyway & everywhere; launching products from Heinz Beanz Snap Pots® in your cupboard to fizzy milk in China.

In communication he works on connecting and relating to consumers. This has led him to sponsorships from Wimbledon to London Fashion Week; and on numerous advertising campaigns across different continents. This includes in 2009 the launch of the Evian Roller Baby® campaign; which entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest viral advert at the time, clocking up 45m views in its first weeks.

Matt also points out that there has been many failures along the way.

Matt says “I was always inspired by what is changing in the world and specifically with consumers, the world has changed massively in the last decade but at the heart of business is your consumers, identifying what they need and how you connect with them.”

His interest in consumers & marketing started when he took a GSCE in Business Studies then an A-Level in Business Studies & Economics at PHGS; before going on to study Marketing at University.

He says "If I was to go back and give myself one piece of advice at the start of my career; it would be to realise how important you are as part of the next generation. Companies want to look forward and they are only as good as their ideas, looking for the next generation of ideas & solutions; do not underestimate how important you or one simple idea can be to the future.”