Vinehall School, Brighton College and Reed’s tell us about the famous former pupils inspiring the students of today

“Sir Tim Smit KBE is a much celebrated member of the Vinehall alumni. Sir Tim is known for his work on the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project, as well as the Charlestown Shipwreck & Treasure Centre.

A pupil at Vinehall in the 1960s, Tim has often reminisced about his formative years spent exploring the grounds and wildlife at Vinehall. ‘There were several great teachers, but I would single out Tom Gilbart, a Cornishman with skin like bronzed hide, a moustache with handlebars, eyes that flashed and a voice that transported all of us children when he read Brigadier Gerrard, King’s Solomon’s Mines and Sherlock Holmes. He loved wildlife and history and turned all of us into Natural Historians.’

We follow Sir Tim’s career keenly and are delighted that he has been able to reciprocate his early inspiration for natural history whist at Vinehall by supporting us in our recent whole school commitment to sustainability. We will be working with Tim and his highly recommended associate, Richard Dunne of the Harmony Project, to raise an awareness of how to live more sustainably within the Vinehall community.

We aim to empower our children to consider the path they want to take and the future they want to create; there are some major challenges for them to contend with; however, our aim is to spark the change they wish to ignite.”

“Brighton College alumna and filmmaker Chloé Zhao scooped the Best Director Oscar for Nomadland earlier this year. She became only the second woman to win this accolade. The film also won Best Picture and Best Actress awards at the event, as well as winning four BAFTAs earlier on in the year, where she gave Brighton College a name check, thanking her teachers there.

Chloé was a Sixth Form boarder at the school from 1998 until 2000, where Julian and Alison Withers were the teachers responsible for her pastoral wellbeing. Alison is still a teacher at the College, and said: ‘Everyone at Brighton College is incredibly proud of Chloé. We were her Housemaster and Housemistress during her time here, and remember her very well. She was always a determined and driven pupil, with a wonderful sense of humour and a keen sense of curiosity. She liked to question things, and she was always fascinated by people and different cultures. She contributed to the life and soul of the boarding house, and we are delighted for her in her success.’

Renowned for its focus on kindness, Brighton College is one of the world’s leading independent schools for girls and boys aged 3-18. The College regularly achieves the best A-level and GCSE results of any co-educational school in the UK, whilst ensuring children enjoy a wealth of extracurricular opportunities.”

As far as ‘well-known’ alumni go, Reed’s is very fortunate to have a great roll call, including the likes of Tim Henman OBE, Sir Simon Keenlyside CBE and Tom Hardy CBE. The School is eminently proud of all its ‘Old Reedonians’ and what they go onto to achieve. It is our ethos of a values-based education which means we nurture the individual, giving them the tools to succeed in whatever they want to do. One particular Surrey-born Reed’s alumnus might be familiar to younger readers, and his father (Chris Tarrant) will be known to many!

Toby Tarrant started at Reed’s in the Third Form (Year 9); a bright, bean pole of a young man. His passion was, and still is, cricket. A talented player, with an unorthodox style, he ended his school career as Captain of Cricket. Having studied English, History and Drama at A Level, Toby was always known as a bit of wordsmith with a quick wit, so it was no surprise that – after reading History at Birmingham University – he should find himself in broadcasting. Toby currently presents a successful weekday show on Radio X as well as several sports programmes! It’s wonderful that Toby’s mischievous sense of humour which we enjoyed in the classroom has definitely served him well in life.

What’s even more heart-warming is that Toby still has time for his alma mater. From being a regular in the alumni cricket team to lending his support of our world-class Indoor Cricket Centre to keeping in touch with his former teachers, Toby and his cohort from 2010 very much represent the sense of Reed’s community and fellowship that stays with our pupils as they continue on their life’s journey!

As Toby says, ‘Cut me open and I’ll have Reed’s blue blood, tinged with red for my beloved Liverpool FC!’”

IMAGE ABOVE: Toby Tarrant (centre) with Alec Stewart OBE & Reed’s cricket pro, Keith Medlycott at the opening of the Indoor Cricket Centre


Meet the Head

We’ve been getting to know Lindie Louw, Head of Hazelwood School Hazelwood School is a coeducational Nursery and Prep School set amongst 25 acres of woodlands on the Surrey Kent border. We enjoyed hearing about their forward-thinking approach. What led...

Past & Future

Three schools celebrate their rich heritage and look forward to bright tomorrows 150 Years in the Making at Marlborough House School In 1874, the year Disraeli succeeded Gladstone as Prime Minister, Thomas Hardy published ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ and...

We are the Champions

Sir William Perkins’s School explain the importance of championing the individual as they lead the way in personalised education At Sir William Perkins’s School, the ethos of championing the individual is not just a motto but a way of life....