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Impressive List Of Guests Set To Inspire Ashville Sixth Form Pupils

Published by Ashville College on Thursday 19th of January 2023

An impressive line-up of guest speakers - including one of Britain's first female sports presenters, a film director and a polar explorer – will be heading to Harrogate’s Ashville College to engage with, and inform, its Sixth Form pupils about life beyond the classroom.

The Sixth Form speaker series is part of the independent school’s ‘Future Ready’ programme, which offers a range of qualifications designed to support skills development, university applications and preparedness for the world of work, as well as leadership opportunities and support for life after Ashville, whether that be with university applications or careers guidance.

The first of seven speakers this term is Sue O Leary (Friday, January 20), who will speak on the challenging subject of rape culture, hate speech and why words matter.

Her talk will encourage pupils to ‘call it out’ when they witness inappropriate behaviour.

The following week, (Friday, January 27), it’s the turn of ultra-marathon runner Ben Smith, who will give an insight into his life and experiences. 

Beginning in 2015, Ben set out to run 401 marathons in 401 days with the intent of raising £250,000 for two anti-bullying charities, having been bullied himself at school.

Later in the term, Ashville will welcome sports journalist and presenter Tanya Arnold, who was one of the first female sports presenters and has worked at the BBC for 20 years. On Friday, February 3, Tanya will deliver an entertaining and engaging speech about her career, where she has covered events including the recent Rugby League World Cup.

The following week, Friday, February 10, elite-level swimmer Ed Baxter will recall his experiences as an athlete at the top of his sport, which has enabled him to become good friends of three-time Olympic gold-medallist Adam Peaty, as well as business partners.

From a swimming star to a polar explorer: the following month, on Friday, March 3, Fiona Thornewill is set to take to the stage. Fiona’s record-breaking feat of reaching the South Pole unaided in a record 42 days will surely make for a superb talk. Her achievement is all the more impressive given that her satellite navigation system failed ten days into the expedition.

Friday, March 10, sees film director Kit Monkman visit Ashville. Kit directed a ground-breaking film-adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth back in 2018, relying completely on ‘green screens’ for his settings. Many pupils may have studied the play in their English lessons and will be excited to hear from the director of such a distinctive version.

Capping off the speaker programme on Friday, March 17, Steve Philips will deliver a thought-provoking and important presentation on the topic of suicide awareness and prevention. Steve’s son, Jordan, took his own life in 2019, which led the bereaved father to establish the Jordan Legacy, which aims to prevent lives being lots to suicide.

Leanne Norton, Ashville’s Head of Sixth Form, said:

“Building on the success of the previous term’s speaker programme, which included MP for York Outer, Julian Sturdy, former England international footballer Michael Dawson, and investment manager Vanessa Eve, we are proud to confirm the list of remarkable speakers visiting the school this term.

“The speaker programme enables pupils to benefit from the experiences of speakers from a variety of backgrounds. The talks confirmed for this term will touch on many different topics – some will be thought-provoking, some will be inspiring, and all the speakers will be engaging and informative.

“Ashville looks forward to welcoming its seven guest speakers this term, and I’m sure our Sixth Form pupils will listen maturely, and take on board what the speakers have to say.”
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