Skip to content ↓
Reading Girls' School

Reading Girls' School


Calling all former students!

We were working with Future First to stay in touch with leavers, however we were unable to justify spending money on the service in the current financial climate, so with regret, we have dissolved the partnership. We ask all leavers to stay in touch by providing us with their personal mobile numbers and email addresses, and will endeavour to keep them up to date with events at Reading Girls' by sending out regular newsletters. We hope to start an alumni facebook page at some point, but it is still under development. 

Please read some of our former student profiles below. All those who registered with Future First were asked the same questions: · 

Where are you now and what are you up to?

  • How did you get there?
  • What is your biggest piece of advice you wish you could share with your younger self?

Future First also made some great posters which are at the bottom of the page. We hope that they will inspire the current students to reach for the stars! We may be contacting you soon to ask you to share your story

Reading Girls – Former Student Testimonials

Reading Girls – Former Student Testimonials

Jane Duncanson, left in 1970: “I am still living in Reading and I am currently working within HR for a Registered Charity. I help recruit teachers for the new free schools and academies that are opening up.

There have been quite a few but the two examples of this in Reading are: All Saints Junior School – West Reading. It achieved outstanding report from ofsted. Oakbank Secondary School – it was called Ryish Green which had closed.I also support the recruitment process of teachers in prisons – Feltham and Cookhamwood being two.

How did I get here? Not through studying at school, which is one of my biggest regrets. I left school at an early age, thinking I knew everything. I had a baby at 17 years old. I didn’t attempt to work secularly until I was in my early forties. I have no confidence, as all I knew was being a house wife. Not that there is anything wrong with that but it wasn’t enough for me. I started working part time in a shop and slowly gained experience and confidence. I became a supervisor in the shop and worked my up to becoming a Personal Assistant within the same store. I went on to work in a recruitment agency and from there I applied for a job within HR. I work with people that have degree qualifications and all I have is a degree from the school of hard knocks. What I am trying to say is, I learnt the hard way, and you don’t have to if you take advantage of the education that is being offered to you. My school report while at Reading Girls School (formally Southlands) always said. Could do so much better if she tried, why did I wait so long to try?

My biggest piece of advice I can offer you is: Try your hardest now while dedicated people are there to help you, take advantage of their advice, teaching skills and experience. Who knows what I could have achieved if I had taken that advice!”


Vicky Benham, left in 2003: I am working as a Media Delivery Co-ordinator for a recruitment company called Alexander Mann Solutions. 

I was TUPED to AMS from Microsoft as they won the contract and would have been here 4 years in June.  This is my third job whilst at AMS so have moved around a bit.  My first job was within the Contingent Management Services where I dealt with the admin for temporary and contract staff for various clients.  I then moved onto the BAE Systems account scheduling interviews and assessment days for them.  Then after that I moved to the Media Management and Planning team to become a Media Delivery Co-ordinator, working with job boards and essentially advertising roles for all of AMS' clients.

What is my biggest piece of advice I wish I could share with my younger self? - Oh that’s a hard one! I would probably say revise a bit more for my GCSEs and look into what kind of jobs are available after leaving school.  I know when I was that age, in regard to careers there wasn’t any useful advice and if I knew about some of the jobs I do now I could have done more back then to help me.”


Noushin Sikder, left in 2012: I am currently a student at Little Heath Sixth Form and I am studying Chemistry, Biology, Business and Philosophy & Ethics with the hope retaking my maths modules from the previous year.

I wish to become an industrial chemist working with alternative fuels and developing much more environmentally friendly and renewable fuels.

I didn't get the amazing grades I was hoping for last year which resulted in me retaking the year, it was even more disappointing because I had such amazing GCSE grades. This simply made me even more determined to achieve my goals and gave me time to realise what I wanted. Thus, my best advice is to not rush but not delay. Think carefully about what you want to achieve and don’t panic about the perfect result. Do not waste time as it gets a hell of a lot more difficult but luckily we haven’t quite reached the adult stage so just enjoy and work towards the end result, not the intermediate ones”

Jessica Sumner, left in 2013: I’m currently doing a level 1 Beauty Therapy course at Reading College, I wish to do level 2 and 3 also. When I left school I didn't know what I wanted to do, I was so lost. I had a lot of help from Juliet Sipson making my decision. I went for something I'd enjoy and be motivated for, that I can make a living out of. During school I never paid too much attention, and I always felt too lazy to do stuff, I was backchatting the teachers and sometimes bunking lessons. One piece of advice I'd give my younger self is 'hang in there, focus while you can, get it all done, and that’s it, everything is up from there. More interesting things are in the future, where you get a choice in what classes you do. It’s worth listening and working hard. Just remember everything from this point on depends on your behaviour and achievements now'


Asmaa Sultan, left in 2012: I am at Reading College and studying Health & Social Care Level 3 - First Year.

I worked really hard on my GCSE, and passed them all. I went further to do Childcare Level 2 at Reading Girls' College, as I did not wanted to go straight to do Health & Social Care Level 3. The reason was that I wanted to gain more skills and knowledge before I continued further.

After completing my Childcare Level 2, I went further to do my Health & Social Care Level 3, and I am still doing it. 

My biggest advice for myself would be to work hard, stay up to date with my assignments, have 100% attendance, as that can affect my grade. Also, when I get my assignments, I should start doing it as soon as possible, to avoid having loads of assignments at once to give in.”


Jeanette Watson, left in 1985: Where am I now and what am I up to?
I run my own business which helps to support other small businesses.  I suppose you could say I'm a Virtual Assistant - I help people in all sorts of ways, whether they need some business cards and email addresses adding to a database, or if they need some help in posting or changing their website content, blogging, social media.  It really is a wide range of tasks and with many people now starting up on their own, being a one person band can be quite time consuming

How did I get here?
Good question, I'm not entirely sure!  I think if someone had suggested I start my own business when I was at school, I never would have gone for that at all.  Back in 2011 I was in a very unhappy office job (having prev been made redundant from another employer).  I was stressed, trying to look after my two children and really not feeling supported at work.  I talked things through with my husband and we both decided that some time out of work would benefit me and give me some time to spend and support our two children.  This was fine for a while but I was speaking to one of the other school mums and it turned out that she needed a bit of help as she ran her own business.  With my skill set and the fact it was supposed to only be about 3hrs per month I thought why not?  Things snowballed from there really, I found with my IT background, there were lots I could help her with and if I could help her, then there would be other businesses I could do similar things for.  The most important thing though was that I could work from home and still spend time with my children - it was a win-win situation and I haven't regretted a single moment.

What is the biggest piece of advice you wish you could share with your younger self?
Gosh, huge question really - I have spent time with some other business women lately and we are all very good at dumbing down our acheivments - When people used to ask me what I did, I would begin with 'oh I'm just......' so my advice is be proud and have a little faith in yourself.  Don't be too quick to assume you've messed it up or made a mistake.  We all have different ways of doing things, we all learn differently so when somebody next asks you what you do or what you want to do, stand tall, look them straight in the eye and tell them - but don't start with 'I'm just.......'”


Chelsea Ivell, left in 2013: “I am currently attending Sixth form at King Edward VII a school near Leicester, I'm studying Business, History, English Literature and Psychology. For my enrichment I help out at a special needs school. 

I got into the school and into my desired subjects by having the required GCSE grades I needed for my subjects, revision was so important and if I had put more effort into revision I could have done better.

My biggest piece of advice would be to make sure when deciding what subjects you choose to make decisions based on how realistic they are for you but how much you enjoy the subject, you work harder when you enjoy something.”

We hope to add more profiles as people let us know what they are currently doing.