We are always delighted to hear from our former students. You can still play an important role in the life of The Kings of Wessex Academy by returning to talk about your own experiences of university and the workplace, thus inspiring the next generation.

At The Kings of Wessex Academy our former students and Alumni are very important to us. Not only do our staff want to hear your success stories and what you have been doing since leaving us, but we also believe you could have an important role in inspiring and motivating our current students.

We know that students are particularly keen to hear from you regarding your experiences and the pathways you have followed to achieve your goals. It may be that you are willing to come to one of our Careers Cafes where you can meet with small groups of students to share your knowledge, or submit your picture and short biography to our Alumni Gallery or even make contact just to find out more, we would love to hear from you.

Whenever you left The Kings of Wessex Academy and whatever stage of your education or career, please get in touch with our Employability Coordinator, Mrs Sally Devlin. Email or call 01934 742608

Alumni Profiles

Adam Green

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After completing his A Levels at the Kings of Wessex, Adam studied Medicine at University College London.

On qualification, he worked as a junior doctor in medicine and surgery for two years in Poole, Dorset.  Subsequently, he took up a position as a Resident Medical Officer in Perth, Western Australia.

Adam returned to the UK two years later to pursue his specialty in anaesthesia.  Currently he lives in Devon.   His work as an anaesthetist is varied and includes provision of anaesthesia for surgical procedures in the operating theatres, emergency and trauma care, alongside also working in the intensive care unit and maternity department.

Ben Leavey

HR Assistant
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I joined Kings of Wessex Sixth form in 2016 studying 3 A levels after a year I decided that the newly offered BTEC Business Studies was more practical and suited my approach to learning more. Mrs Wilson was integral to my success at Kings, acting as a mentor and motivator at rough points when I had second thoughts. The opportunity to working in London during Year 12 showed me what I want to work towards and taught me valuable lessons in independency (commuting, organisation, time keeping).

I was always outgoing in school and had positive relationships with other students and teachers. I was involved in sports throughout the years playing for the football team on numerous occasions.

I am now employed by The Food Service Centre (FSC) under their Academy scheme playing a key part in each department I go through ultimately making me an employable young man. It is great to be part of a successful local and family run business.

Chris Thurling

Executive Chairman - Armadillo
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Chris grew up in Shipham, went to Fairlands and was a pupil at the Kings of Wessex between 1981 and 1986. After completing A levels in history, geography and economics, Chris went on to take a degree in History and Politics at the University of Warwick. He subsequently completed an MPhil in politics at Bristol University.

In 1995 Chris setup his own digital design and marketing business, which he grew from scratch to achieve a seven figure turnover. After 17 years at the helm, Chris then moved into consulting and became a qualified executive coach and mentor. He is currently the Executive Chairman of Armadillo, a 40 person digital marketing agency in Bristol and Chair of Bristol Media, the 600-strong membership organisation for the creative industries in the region.

Darren Clapp

Managing Director
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Darren grew up with the knowledge and understanding of how to work hard, working before and after school and during the summer holidays on the family farm. He made the decision to help and support his family business as the industry was almost on its knees. Unfortunately, the business did close straight away and it was decision time for the future of the family. Darren and his father and with the support of his mother and sister, built an award winning wedding venue, hotel with spa , conference centre and shops from scratch in 4 years, employing over 120 staff with a £4 million turnover.

In 2008, Darren was left with a difficult decision due to a private family matter. He decided to leave the business to venture out on his own with nothing more than his determination to build a successful business of his own. Today, Darren owns 6 small companies in Somerset with a modest commercial and residential property portfolio. Darren is regularly winning awards, has been interviewed on TV and travelled world-wide with business as his software company is now Global and he is aiming to have 10 world-wide offices by 2022.

Freddie Mehlig

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Freddie completed GCSE’s and A Levels at Kings, before obtaining a Law degree from the University of Bristol. Prior to university, Freddie took a year out of education to travel. Having completed the LPC in Bristol, Freddie trained as a solicitor at Kennedys LLP in London and is now a Senior Associate in their Marine Insurance and Shipping team.

During his time at Kings, Freddie was part of many of the sports teams as well as being appointed as Deputy Head Boy.

George Burrows

Civil Servant
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George left the Kings of Wessex in 2016 and progressed to Plymouth University where he studied Event Management. George set-up his own events management company at university, and since leaving university, his business secured a commercial partnership with one of the biggest event companies in Europe; which allowed George to go on to secure his life-long dream of working in Government. George secured a place on the ‘Civil Service Fast Stream’, the leading number one graduate scheme in the United Kingdom and works within the project delivery sector.

George involved himself heavily in the business programme of extracurricular activities at Kings during his time, taking part in the ‘Big Pitch’, and despite not winning, he has gone on to build a very successful event business.

Imogen (Imy) Prewett

Criminology Student
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After five years of study at Kings, Imogen left with A*AA in English Language, English Literature and History. She went on to study an undergraduate BA: Honours degree in Criminology at Lancaster University. She is expected to graduate with an Upper 2:1/First in 2023 and will be pursuing further study in the form of a Criminology MA.

Whilst at university, Imogen has undertaken numerous roles such as representing the Linguistic and English Language department as a diversity and inclusion student representative, acting as a mentor for foreign students as part of the ‘International Buddy’ scheme, and working as a Student Ambassador for the Lancaster University Law School.

Jennifer Harrison

Office Manager
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After completing my examinations at Kings, I went on to study beauty therapy for two years before working in a salon. I worked in a salon in Cheddar and also spent some time in a salon on a cruise ship!

After doing some travelling, I retrained with NVQs in Retail. I worked for Spar South West UK and after was a forecourt shop assistant manager for around 10 years. When this business was sold I retained in NVQ care, and worked with young adults with learning disabilities, which I really enjoyed. I gave this up when I became a Mum of 3.

Since then have worked for a short while in Kings Academy kitchen before myself my husband and partner bought a local car repair garage – Cheddar Motors, and now I run the office side of the business!

Karen Rudkin

Marketing & Communications Officer
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Former Head Girl Karen (Tew) attended Kings of Wessex between 1995 and 2000. After her A levels she went on to study International Hospitality and Tourism Management at Bournemouth University.

Karen always had a passion for running events, so whilst undertaking her dissertation at university, she was lucky enough to establish some work experience with the Glastonbury Festival and worked there for 10 months following graduation. She continued to work there during the festival on a voluntary basis for a number of years, but started her main career journey with an agency organising corporate conferences.

Karen moved into the hospitality industry in Bristol, working in the events team at a large hotel, but soon found a love for sales and marketing so took on a Sales Executive role, progressing on to Sales Manager after a year. She joined the pre-opening team at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bristol, a unique opportunity to build a strong client base before it opened in 2009 and progressed to Director of Sales and Marketing. Karen then decided to focus on her marketing passion and change industries, and is currently Marketing and Communications Officer for Devon Communities Together

Laura Filer

Director of Family Adventures Group
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Laura attended Kings of Wessex from Y9-Y13 studying both GCSEs and A -Levels. After completing Sixth Form, she went on to study Business Management at Cardiff University achieving a 2:1. Laura secured a Graduate role at Professional Services firm Ernst & Young in Bristol where she worked as an Auditor and became a Chartered Accountant with ICAS. After 3 years Laura moved into Student Recruitment working her way up to lead the team in the recruitment of over 1,500 school leavers and graduates a year, helping the firm to become the largest graduate recruiter in the UK. Laura then moved into the Partner Team where she worked with the CEO and Leadership Team to focus on the firms growth ambition and strategy around recruitment to double in size.

Whilst working in this role, Laura had two children and worked with her Husband to open their first business together which was a soft play centre, Ocean Adventurers in Cheddar which opened in July 2019. Since then, the business has grown to incorporate three leisure venues (Ocean Adventurers, Space Adventurers and Little Town Adventures) and also a day nursery chain Little Adventures Nurseries which now has 5 nurseries in the group (Taunton, Weston-Super-Mare, Worle, Cheddar and Bridgwater). As the businesses grew, Laura took the decision to leave her role at Ernst and Young at the end of 2021. Laura now works full time as a Director within the business leading on Attraction and Marketing activity across the group.

Maisie Lewis

Studying for MSt in Musicology
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After five years of study at Kings, during which she was heavily involved in the music department, Maisie went to Bath Spa University to study Music, specialising in classical singing and musicology and graduating with a First Class degree. While in Bath, Maisie worked for a number of arts organisations across the city, including The Bath Festival, EMERGE, CRD Records, and Radio Bath. After finishing her undergraduate degree, where she focused on the work of underrepresented compositions of English women, Maisie carried this research into an MSt in Musicology at St Peter’s College, University of Oxford, where she is also a Graduate Choral Assistant at Keble College. Her research is now focused on the role of women on the BBC radio show Children’s Hour between 1922-1937, with a focus on motherhood and music.

Niko Ovenden

Business & Operations Manager
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Niko came from Fairlands Middle School to study for GCSEs and then A-Levels.  Afterwards he joined the University of Edinburgh, where he completed an Undergraduate in Social Anthropology.

Niko went on to join the university as an administrative colleague, completing an MSc in Cultural Studies whilst working full time as Director of Professional Services, leading all administrative staff and helping the Head of School with a budget of £7m per annum.

He now works for the University of Cambridge in a very similar role as Business and Operations Manager for a larger Department of 450 staff and students.

Whilst at the Kings of Wessex, Niko played occasionally in the school’s rugby and cricket teams and was always keen to help during Charities Weeks with media and fundraising.

Richard Herring

Comedian & Writer
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Richard was at the Kings of Wessex for five years, writing and performing his first comedy sketches in the school hall and getting into trouble for writing slightly rude jokes about teachers in the underground school magazine “Inkings”.

He went to Oxford University where he met Stewart Lee and formed the double act Lee and Herring who wrote and starred in four BBC TV series in the 90s. Richard is a pioneer in the medium of podcasting and fronts an award winning podcast called RHLSTP in which he interviews stars like Steve Coogan and Dawn French and also tours the UK with his one man stand up comedy shows.

Joe Bracewell

Trainee Quantity Surveyor
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Following completion of his GCSE’s and A-levels at Kings of Wessex in 2019, Joe soon moved to the French ski resort of Tignes in pursuit of a ski season. Returning home towards the end of 2020, Joe began searching for a long-term career.

Early during completion of his A-levels, Joe felt that continuing in full time education would not be the best option for himself. This pointed Joe in the direction of looking for suitable degree apprenticeships.

Having had family members within the industry, he was fortunately aware of vast opportunities available in the construction industry. Fast forward a few months, Joe secured a role as a trainee quantity surveyor with Willmott Dixon in October 2021.

Now, over halfway through his trainee scheme, it’s a role that Joe thoroughly enjoys, and feels the part time academic learning alongside the practical application to the workplace is extremely valuable.

Further to enjoying the role and potential progression it has to offer, Joe’s also very passionate about promoting the wide array of opportunities that construction has to offer to other young people.

Rob O'Dare

Infrastructure Project Manager
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Rob attended Kings of Wessex, successfully completing his GCSEs and A Levels.  He then entered employment on a training scheme with a County Council that involved working four days a week and attending day release at college where he studied for an ONC and HNC in Civil Engineering.  Rob worked as a Highways Engineer before eventually joining Bristol Airport as a minor works Project Manager in 2004.

Rob has been employed in various roles at the airport over the past twenty years, including managing the airfield operation, looking after the air traffic control unit and is now a Senior Infrastructure Project Manager, managing radars, instrument landing systems, taxiways, aircraft parking stands and other works totalling many millions of pounds of investment.

Matt Way

Mechanical Maintenance Engineer
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Matt studied at Kings for three years completing his GCSEs, before doing two years at college studying at Nuclear Engineering. He then trained as a Mechanical Maintenance Apprentice at AWE under qualified personnel in a highly technological environment.

He is now a trained and qualified Mechanical Maintenance Engineer at the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Lucinda Simeone

Commercial Development Executive
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After completing her GCSEs at Kings of Wessex, Lucinda went on to complete two Business Administration Apprenticeships at Strode College.

She then managed to secure a job at in the Engineering Department at Bristol Airport as an Engineering Administrator and went on to be an Engineering Co-ordinator, Contract Co-ordinator and her role now as a Commercial Development Executive.

Lilli Helps

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My name is Lilli Helps and I am an alumni of Axbridge First School, Fairlands Middle School and Kings of Wessex Academy.

After doing GCSEs at Kings I continued there for A levels in Maths, Chemistry, Physics and initially Further Maths.

My health meant I had to retake my AS year, that time I decided not to do Further Maths. I had a kidney transplant in September 2014, which was as I studied for my AS levels the 2nd time around.

I went on to study an integrated masters (4 year course) in Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Leicester, finishing in 2020.

After a year break following my degree (just when COVID began) I am now doing a PhD which I started in September 2021, where I am looking at how effective different interventions are at improving air quality in the UK.