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26 January

Racing, Art, Bursaries, Opera & even more!

OV Tate Exchange 2018

It is always lovely to hear when OVs are doing exciting projects and we are really pleased to have this account from Beth Robins (Os 13-15) about what she is doing alongside her degree studies….

"I am currently a second-year student studying Painting, Drawing and Printmaking at the Plymouth College of Art, a small, independent, specialist Art School. In the spirit of King's culture of always making the most of every opportunity available, I decided to join Print Club as an extra to my degree studies. A few months ago, a call for proposals was sent out across the institution from the Creative School right up to MA levels to explore the theme of Production alongside Claire Twomey’s influence from her recent exhibition on the same theme. This project has been called ‘Factory Settings’. Through lots of hard work, Print Club’s proposal was accepted, and it was felt that I and three other individuals from my course, two second years and first year, should travel to the Tate for three days to be part of the core group working with the public

Factory Settings is an interactive exhibition and workshop that encourages the public to get involved and produce art themselves. Around fifteen proposals were accepted by the principal’s office to be part of Factory Settings, each one exploring a different aspect of what production means to them. This enables the public to take part in many different activities that addresses many different perspectives and angles upon the idea of production.

Print Club is comprised of a group of Painting, Drawing & Printmaking Students from across year 1, 2, 3 and MA. We are a new group and meet every Wednesday afternoon to critically discuss printmaking, make prints and look for ways in which we can work collaboratively through printmaking. We are taking on the theme of production in an innovative way by working across two venues simultaneously – Switch Room at Tate and PCA. This will unravel what production might mean in different venues – Tate, a prestigious art gallery and PCA an educational institution. We are exploring what it means to be part of a production line as artists, whether it is the artwork made that culminates from our hard work or whether it is the skills and knowledge that we gain throughout the process. Are we ourselves the result of production or is it what we make that is important?"


We were thrilled to hear that Allan Clayton (H 91-99) has won Outstanding Achievement in an operatic role for his role as Hamlet for Glyndebourne in the 2018 Opera Poll. The Telegraph review of the show talked about the ‘stellar performances from Allan Clayton acting his socks off in the title-role’.  Allan joined King's in 1991 as a Cathedral Chorister and went on to study music at St John's College Cambridge and then at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Racing to success

OV Chris Nelson (Cr 89-96) is involved in the thrilling world of F1 and has recently changed job and has now joined Mercedes as a Trackside Control Systems Engineer. This will involve him working on the chassis control systems (such as gearshift, clutch, driver display and switch configuration) and being responsible for the correct operation of these systems for one of the team's Formula 1 cars at race and test events. He works with the driver and a small group of engineers to help get the best performance out of the systems at the track.

Previously Chris worked for McLaren Applied Technologies Ltd for 8 years, attending over 150 Formula 1 Grands Prix (156 to be precise!) as a Track Support Engineer.

The photo to the right is from Chris’s last race with McLaren Applied Technologies at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last November in the Mercedes garage, holding the Winning Constructor trophy the team received after Valtteri Bottas won the race.


Liz Elliott, Development Director and Matthew Armstrong, Headmaster attended the School Bursaries Conference in London this week, which included a range of talks from ‘Education, Access and Social Mobility’ to ‘Fundraising programmes’ and ‘What we can learn from other sectors’, such as universities and US schools.  The programme included some very interesting debates, with one of the key outcomes of the Conference being the ability to share best practice from our own school, as well as learning from the experiences of other schools.

The power of bursaries to have a real impact on social mobility – even within Worcestershire – is brought home by independent research conducted for the Government:

“Talent and hard Work alone should determine how far people can go in life, whoever you are, wherever you are from.”

 DofE: ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’ (Dec 2017): As we launch our own Bursary Campaign, we are looking to raise funds that will provide some of the less advantaged children in the region with the opportunity to come to King’s.  Winston Churchill’s quote emphasises the work we are doing, and aspiring to do more of, in this area of life-changing pupil bursaries:

“What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?”

Liz was delighted to meet up with former King’s School Development Director, Carol Bawden (pictured on the left with Liz), who was attending the Conference in her governor capacity for another school and they were both impressed to hear OV, Richard Harman (Cr 72-77) (pictured on the left) speaking in his role as General Secretary for AGBIS (the association which represents governors of independent schools).  Richard was previously Headmaster at Uppingham School and, at the Conference, he talked about the role of governors, along with the Head and Senior Management Team, in providing strategic direction, as well as the vision for the school’s approach to bursaries.

Liz and Matthew came away from the day with some good ideas, as well as the reassurance and knowledge that at King’s School, we recognise the importance of bursaries to the future of the school.


We were thrilled that Oliver Brooks (S 96-01) came back to visit King’s this week. On leaving school, Oliver went on to study at the Birmingham School of Acting. He has since gone on to have an exciting career in Theatre, most recently starring in smash-hit Matilda the Musical in the West End, and the Pantomime Sleeping Beauty at The Swan Theatre. Oliver enjoyed meeting L6 and U6 Drama students, and was able to use his professional experiences to answer questions such as ‘How do you make it in the industry?’ and offer audition feedback and advice to current pupils. Oliver said that the trip back reminded him of where it all began, and he said how wonderful the resources and staff are at King’s for young people who hope to go into the industry. 

Music in the making

Recent leaver Ollie Wild (Ch 10-17) was a regular in the Open Mic Nights in the Michael Baker Boathouse and is now studying Music Production and Performance at Leeds Conservatoire of Music. Last weekend he came fourth in the final of the national Open Mic UK competition which had over 10,000 entries. Ollie performed his own music and he is the second former King’s pupil to have success following Sam Clines (Os 09-16) who was the winner last year.