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Founder's Day 2022

Back to normal – and better!

It is emphatically good to be able to report to our Old Elizabethans that, after all the disruption caused by Covid-19, Queen Elizabeth’s School has had a normal, uninterrupted year.

Our GCSE and A-level candidates have once again been sitting public exams. And the major events in our Summer Term calendar have all run in full, without Covid-related restrictions, just as they last did in 2019. Many of those featured Old Elizabethans in prominent roles. I was pleased that we could return to hosting a guest speaker at Junior Awards: Hemang Hirani (OE 2008–2015) forged a career in investment banking in the few, short years since he graduated with a First in Geography and Economics from the LSE. It was good to welcome many alumni – including members of the 450 Club – to the opening of the Friends’ Recital Hall and Music Rooms at our gala festival back in May. Perhaps most of all, since it is such an eagerly anticipated highlight of the QE year, it was wonderful to hold the 2022 Founder’s Day as a live and in-person event – and to see so many of you there! The Eamonn Harris Memorial event celebrated the figure of a hugely significant figure in our School’s modern history. I know his family were touched to see so many of Eamonn’s former colleagues and pupils in attendance.

While tradition and history are hugely important to us – especially as we look forward to the School’s 450th anniversary next year – I would add that 2021–2022 has not only been a return to normal: we have, in important respects, had a stronger year even than we enjoyed before the pandemic. That strength was recognised firstly through our winning of the Sunday Times Parent Power State School of the Year title for 2022. More recently, it has been underlined by the ‘outstanding’ grades we secured from Ofsted across all areas following an inspection this term. While we were quietly confident, generations of Elizabethans have come and gone through our doors since our last inspection in 2008, so it was very gratifying to receive the inspectors’ ringing endorsement of our work.

We are determined not to be complacent, and Ofsted praised us for having ambitious goals and for seeking to improve what we do. Already we are looking to our next major project, the creation of the Robert Dudley Studio for theatre and the spoken word, for which fundraising has now begun. One innovation that was especially well received this term was our introduction of a Valediction ceremony for our leavers, which was open to all Year 13 parents and was combined with a prize-giving for that year group. We see Valediction as both an end and a beginning – an opportunity to say a fond farewell to these young men after seven successful years at the School, but a chance, too, to welcome them to the ranks of the Old Elizabethans. Robert Rinder (OE 1989–1994), our guest speaker, gave a speech that was characteristically both thoughtful and entertaining. Our gallery of photos of Valediction is available here.

I was so pleased to see regular visits by alumni coming in to help the boys. They included Max Curtis (1991-1998), who spoke to a select group of Year 12 students about his career path into corporate communications, also reassuring them that it was fine not to know at their age what they ultimately want to do. Sajjad Dar (2009-2016) delivered a truly inspiring Human Geography talk to our Year 12 geographers, together with a selection of those studying the subject in Year 10. It covered his studies (he gained an MA in Geography at Durham and MSc in Spatial Planning at UCL) and looked especially at his time volunteering at a refugee camp.

Among the colleagues we say goodbye to this month are Mike Feven and Colin Price. Mike’s name will be important to our most recent alumni, while Colin will be familiar to all who became alumni in the past 36 years! Mike, from the Senior Leadership Team, is relocating 'home' to Bristol after two stints at QE. Having stood down from the Second Master role in 2019, Colin now brings to a close decades of stellar, brilliant Mathematics teaching. Happily, he will remain involved, not least in his continuing roles on the Governing Body and Board of The Friends'.

After a busy term of OE involvement and a hugely successful year for the School, I wish you all an enjoyable and relaxing summer.

Neil Enright

Neil Enright


Founder’s Day 2022
Founder’s Day 2022

Founder’s Day 2022: alumni out in force

After two years of online-only events, 2022’s Founder’s Day proved a big draw, with more alumni attending than the Headmaster can ever remember seeing before the pandemic. The £20,000 fundraising target was easily smashed, thanks takings from the FQE Fete, online giving and a sponsored Music event the day before.

The day included a memorial event to former Headmaster Eamonn Harris (1984–1999), postponed in 2020 because of the pandemic. After a welcome from the Headmaster, Chairman of Governors Barrie Martin MBE read a poem and there were tributes from two senior teachers from Mr Harris’s days: Eric Houston, a QE teacher from 1976 who was Second Master from 1999–2010, and Dr John Marincowitz, Headmaster from 1999 until retirement in 2011. You can watch our video here.

All the traditional elements featured during the day, including the Roll Call, Reading of the School Chronicle and thanksgiving service, where Michael Stewart CBE (OE 1978–1985) gave an entertaining address. His career has been in in national security-related jobs, with a particular focus on counter-terrorism. He is currently the Director of Prevent, one of the four pillars of the UK’s counter-terrorist strategy. The afternoon’s Stanley Busby Memorial Cricket Match between Old Elizabethans and current senior pupils was won by the School.

View photos from the Eamonn Harris Memorial event
'Speed-dating’ workshop

The big Broughton return!

Nine friends from the Class of 2016 passed on their advice and guidance to junior boys and caught up with their former teachers when they returned to the School for a reunion. Eight of the group were from Broughton, so they duly dubbed odd man out Michael Yeung, of Leicester House, an honorary Broughtonian for the day.

First stop was a trip down memory lane with a visit to 7B’s form time, where Languages teacher Marie Jo-Jacquin is still the form tutor, just as she was in their day back in 2009. They then did a careers ‘speed-dating’ workshop in which they introduced their roles and industries, and the key skills and routes into it, to small groups of Year 8 boys.

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Everyone's a winner Galactic Challenge

Everyone’s a winner: alumni helping QE boys hit the heights

Old Elizabethans helped 50 boys battle it out in a Galactic Challenge at the School that saw all three teams secure multi-billion pound contracts for an imagined settlement in space. The pupils from Years 7–9 (and from across tutor groups) formed aerospace ‘companies’ to participate in the space industry simulation challenge, competing against not only each other but also the clock. Their target was to design a space station for 100 years hence, when space travel might be commonplace. The remit was for a tourist resort that would orbit Mars.

Lending their expertise and experience on the day were four 2017 leavers: Aadil Kara, Neelesh Ravichandran and Harikesan Baskaran and Suchira Peiris. Aadil, Neelesh and Harikesan all reached the national stages of the UK Space Design Competition (Galactic Challenge’s ‘big brother’ for older pupils) when they were in Year 13, with Aadil going on to reach international level.

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450 Club

Still time to join the 450 Club – but don’t leave it too long!

A good number of OEs have been joining our 450 Club – currently the favourite way for alumni to support their School – with some even buying membership for friends or family. The club was established as we approach the 450th anniversary of the School in 2023. Joining is easy – all you need to do is commit to donating £450 (in instalments if you wish). But you will need to move quickly: donations need to be set up by 1st September 2022.

450 Club benefits include a free copy of Dr Marincowitz’s new book, being published in the spring. One of the perks of 450 Club is the unique chance to be immortalised by having your name included on the book’s donors page. But because of publishing deadlines, that can only happen if we have all the members’ names by 1st September, which is why we have our strict deadline for signing up.

Join the 450 Club
Priyan Shah

Generosity through the generations

Priyan Shah and his family are so passionate about encouraging the next generation that they have set up their own educational awards scheme.

Together with his parents,Dhiru and Rami, Priyan (OE 1991–1998) visited the School this term to present DVS Foundation Awards to ten of the current Year 12s. These aim to promote a virtuous circle of motivation and success, together with kindness. And the awards are only one facet of the family’s philanthropic work: the foundation’s focus is on education, food insecurity and healthcare, in both the UK and East Africa.

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Richard Peters

Spanning the continents with Goldman Sachs

Richard Peters took a degree in Music and then months later embarked on another in Medicine – after receiving some essential help from QE in the interim.

He successfully trained as a doctor – albeit punctuated by a two-year spell in America pursuing his passion for making film and TV programmes – and later began a career specialising in occupational medicine. Today, Dr Richard Peters is Regional Medical Director at Goldman Sachs Inc, where he provides strategic medical, health and wellbeing guidance and oversight for staff based across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

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Pavir Patel

Pavir in Forbes 30 under 30

Pavir Patel (2003–2010) was named in the latest Forbes 30 Under 30 listing in the Europe, Finance category. Pavir, who read Economics at Nottingham, is chief of staff at Bitpanda Pro, which he joined in July 2021 after seven years at JP Morgan. He leads strategy, operations and business development for the Vienna-based trading platform and crypto exchange.

Biyi Alo

Biyi makes it big

Professional rugby player Biyi Alo (2005–2010) received his call-up to join England’s 35-man squad ahead of the national side’s tour to Australia. Biyi, a tighthead prop with Wasps, was invited to join the England training camp at Teddington, where head coach Eddie Jones’s players were preparing.

Biyi first played the game at QE. Head of Rugby James Clarke said: “Our heartfelt congratulations go to Biyi on his England call-up, the first for an Elizabethan in some years. He has built a very solid career, firstly with Saracens and Worcester, and now with Wasps.”

Founder's Day 2022

And finally…

We trust you have enjoyed reading this edition of the QE Connect e-magazine produced by QE for all our old boys. What next? Well, if you haven’t already discovered QE Connect, our online social and business network, why not take a look.

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