Where are they now?
Richard Clarke has seen many hundreds of pupils go through our school. It is lovely to learn of the wonderful things they have gone on to do with their lives after the start they had here.
Ex-pupils of The Richard Clarke First School are invited to tell us about their experiences, and what they are doing now. Send an email and we will add it to our website.
Will’s experience spans 18 years in the creative communications industry. Will started his career as a copywriter and, since joining McCann in 2001, has produced some of the agency’s most iconic work. His passion for the creative industry, love of the ‘big idea’ and constant desire to push the envelope has helped build many global brands and won him major industry awards.
Will loves all aspects of the creative process, from strategy and brand guardianship to the craft of final production. In 2010, partnering with Stephen Meade, Will began steering McCann Enterprise as Creative Director.
All thanks to Mrs Rudd, Mrs Pemberton, Mr Yeomans et al.
Great school. Great years.
My name is Bethany Dunmore, I went to Richard Clarke from 1995 to 1999 (I think!), I then went to Oldfields and onto Alleynes. I then got my literature degree from the University of St Andrews, and now work for a PR firm in Birmingham.
Year 2 teacher, Veritas Primary Academy
I studied at Richard Clarke between 1986 and 1990 when Mrs Pemberton was headteacher.
I studied engineering at university and after working for some companies outside of Staffordshire I moved back to the area and am working for JCB as a Design Manager.
I attended the school from Y1 to Y4 between about 1993 and 1996 (I think).
I’m now a business owner in Santiago, Chile and captain of Chile’s national cricket team. My company teaches English as a second language and we work with over 80 teachers in 6 cities across the country. On the cricketing front, I led the side in an ICC qualifying tournament and have had the good fortune to travel across Latin America coaching and playing the sport.
I’m married to a Chilean (Gabriela) and see myself here for the foreseeable.
I have fond memories of Richard Clarke, although I was occasionally in the bad books. Mr. Yeomans was an inspiration and always looked to keep me challenged. I remember walking up the hill for lunch and getting changed for swimming classes inside the classroom.
My name was Lisa Cadman (now Challinor) and I started the school in sept 1976 (I think). Mrs Rudd was my first teacher.
I am now a Headteacher in a primary school in Stoke on Trent.
Giles Smart – At Richard Clarke 1989-1992
Software engineer working in Oldham and living in Manchester.
Becky Smart At Richard Clarke 1989-1993
Manager working for Mitchell & Butler. Now mum of 2 year old daughter and new baby son living in West Yorkshire.
Libby Davies At Richard Clarke 2005-2010
Before I started at Richard Clarke, I was painfully, excruciatingly shy. I wasn’t very confident in myself at all, and despite the valiant efforts of my parents, I was a public liability, as if anyone other than my immediate family spoke to me, I would break down into tears. I must’ve been genuinely embarrassing for my parents, and my family still tease me about it to this day. I remember my first day at Richard Clarke very, very clearly, from my dad taking the mandatory first-day-of-school picture in my cute red and white pinafore, to coming home that evening, gushing about everything I’d done that day in the car. From my first day at Richard Clarke, I absolutely loved it, right up until my very last day.
In the five years I spent there, I made some friends for life. Although we’re all at different schools now, with futures and careers heading in all manner of different directions, we are just as close as we were on our last day. I had such a wonderful class and I couldn’t have asked for a better group to spend five years growing up with. The class sizes were large enough to allow a truly diverse group of children, but were small enough to allow the teachers to get to know each child, his or her strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, traits and quirks.
As I was discussing with one of my former classmates a few days ago, the teachers were more like aunties and uncles, they knew us so well. Every teacher that we had was completely and utterly adored by every child. Personally, I looked up to every teacher I had in all of my five years at Richard Clarke. However, there was one particularly amazing teacher- who is now the Headteacher, as I understand- who inspired me in a way no one had before, and alas, no one has since.
Throughout my time at RCFS, I gradually gained more and more confidence every day, and as each child slowly shed their shyness, their newfound spirit reflected on the others, and we all grew and grew. However, if I was ever filling in a questionnaire of any kind, I could never think of anything to write in the “talents” section. I certainly never thought I was particularly talented at English. I knew I was above average, but so were many members of my class. I didn’t see myself as anything special, or being in possession of any outstanding talent of any kind. However, one perfectly normal day, we were set with a creative writing task. We had to write a short story. I remember pulling out all of the stops to make it the best piece I’d ever done. I handed it in a few minutes early, and then skipped off to my break-time without a second thought. It was only in the whole school assembly the next day, when my teacher stood up and said “One of my star pupils has written a truly excellent short story this week, and I think you deserve the pleasure of hearing it too. I’m going to read it for you all.” At the time, I had no idea at all that it was my story. However, as soon as she read the first few lines, my face split into a huge grin, ear to ear. As she read, I could hear people on either side of me gasping and saying “Wow! Who wrote that?” and I couldn’t stop smiling. After the assembly, my teacher took me to one side and told me that what I’d written was “absolutely fabulous”. I was told I had a real flair for English and, as I left that hall, I had never believed in myself more. I truly felt euphoric that my teacher, my parents and my peers were all so proud of me, but that was nothing compared to how proud I was of myself.
I had only a few months left at RCFS after that boost, but in those months, my confidence shot through the roof. I worked hard in all of my lessons, but particularly English. I was eager to read anything I could find, from my dad’s cookbook to the back of cereal packets. I pushed myself to completely master grammar rules, and I took everything my teacher said about creative writing as gospel. I was so absorbed in school life that my last week came as a huge shock. I remember leaving school on my last day there, in tears, half sad, half excited. I’d hugged all of my teachers and all of my friends. Every child in the school had signed my shirt. I left Richard Clarke First School, and a stranger wouldn’t have believed that I was the same tearful, shy girl who had stepped through the same gates almost five years before.
These days, I’m studying for my GCSEs at one of England’s top independent schools. I’m hoping for the highest grades possible in all of my subjects, but particularly English, which I’d like to study at university, and then follow a career in. I’ve discovered additional passions for lacrosse, in which I represent both my school and the city of Stoke, drama, which I’m taking for GCSE and hoping to take again at A-Level, and rock climbing. I work closely with the Peak District Climbing and Bouldering Associations, and my school climbing department, and recently went on a climbing trip to the mountains and volcanoes of Tenerife with Peak District Climbing. I am due to perform in the school play in a few days’ time, and, believe it or not, the little girl who cried if spoken to by a stranger has been selected to represent her school at a national public speaking event! I’ve come a long way since my years at Richard Clarke First School, and it’s solely due to that wonderful start in life that I am the person I am today.
Finally, I’d like to finish with what I feel is an appropriate analogy. It doesn’t matter how intricate and beautiful a building is; if it doesn’t have solid foundations, it will fall over at the slightest gust of wind. Richard Clarke really gave me amazing foundations from which to build my education and ultimately my career. I genuinely can’t thank the staff at Richard Clarke enough for giving such an outstanding start in life.