Where are they now?

 Alumni can sign up by visiting our registration page here: Registration Page

The objective of our “Where are they now?” campaign is to create a picture of life beyond South Wirral  – to illustrate the many career paths and opportunities that former students have taken, building on their education and experiences at South Wirral and our Sixth Form,  to inspire the current cohort of students.

Have a look at our past alumni by clicking on their Year 11 graduation year below.
[expand title=”Class of 1984″]

SHAUNE HARRISON,  Class of 1984

JOINED FROM GLENBURN PRIMARY IN 1979

South Wirral High School or Eastham Secondary School as it was known in 1979 was such a friendly environment and the teachers were fantastic and supported the students every step of the way. When I was at school my favourite subject was History and I always remember Mr Elston who was a great History teacher.

Around the mid 80’s I wanted to do special makeup effects work for films and in 1988 I got a job in the film industry. I’ve since become quite known for my work on all the Harry Potter films (doing mad eye moody etc) Star Wars films, Captain America, the Avengers. Sleepy Hollow. Etc…
I’ve opened up a prosthetic Makeup school in Manchester after moving back up from London. I also teach special effects work to the next generation of artists and I’m attached to direct a multi-million dollar movie shooting in the US next year.

When I left school I knew what I wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to make monsters so, to be honest, I never had a plan B. If I was to give current students one piece of advice it would be to dream big and never give up!



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Dawn Thomas,  Class of 1994

JOINED FROM HEYGARTH PRIMARY IN 1989

LEFT SOUTH WIRRAL IN 1996 TO STUDY HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LINCOLN.

“After leaving South Wirral High School I went into the workforce for a while before heading to attend The University of Lincoln where I studied for my HND in Health and Social care, it was during this time I needed to complete an internship and found myself being able to do that at a summer camp in America. This was the beginning of my love for summer camp.  I completed my HND then moved back to the Wirral where I commuted to Manchester Metropolitan University, Crewe Campus to complete my BA in Leisure Management Outdoor Activities. I returned each summer to work at camp and started my Masters at Liverpool John Moore’s University in outdoor and Environmental Education Management. I did not complete this as I had the opportunity to move to the USA full time and continue to work with children in a variety of youth development settings.

I worked as the Program Director for Girls Inc which is a year-round after-school and summer enrichment program, before returning to work in the camp field. I worked for the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains as their Director of Camp Pathway. Overseeing all of the camp programs across two states New Hampshire and Vermont. After 2 years I left and started working for Big Brothers Big Sisters Program as their Community Program Manager, matching youth with adult mentors in the community setting. I challenged myself to return to university and gained a second BA this one in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University.

I missed camp during my time here and found a great job which is where I am now, which is Camp Director for Emagination Computer Camps, I direct our Boston Camp in the summer and then design and create curriculum year round as well as recruiting, interview and planning staff training for staff at all 5 camp locations across the USA.

This past weekend January 15th I started my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling which will take a few years to complete but my ultimate goal is to combine all of my education, experience and continue working with youth and become an Adventure Therapist.

I learned some of my hard work and dedication at SWHS, mainly in the realm of the sports and active side of things. I played a lot of sports and was always encouraged by the staff in the PE department.  I also learned a valuable lesson indirectly from when Miss Dutton went to Canada for a year, it was inspiring that she wanted to move somewhere she knew no one and be there doing something she was passionate about. That always stuck with me, and I had challenged myself in High School to one day do something similar, and I did once I got to university.  It was the best advice I could give anyone, do not be limited by things you see as barriers, if it’s meant to be you will make it happen. I did and I am pleased that I was open to doing that and moving to America.  Of course, I miss home and visit regularly back to the Wirral and see friends and family, but I have my own family in America, more friends and a job and continuing education.

Being a part of the sports teams, this was one of the most enjoyable memories of my time at SWHS.  While I was not the best student academically due to my dyslexia never being diagnosed until my BA in University it was hard for me on that side of school. Sports, Home Economics, and CDT with Mr Griff were the areas I was able to shine. The encouragement from Miss Dutton and Miss Murphy was always there no matter what sport I was involved in.

Miss Dutton was my personal Hero when I was at SWHS even if she didn’t know it.  She always encouraged me even on those days when everything else was not going well, she pushed me to be involved and engaged. I wanted to travel to Canada or the USA after she went for the year to Canada. Even though I was not the first person you would have thought would have been involved in every sports team and activity possible because I didn’t have the typical sports players shape. I was never discouraged or left off a team. I was in fact encouraged and engaged at every possible opportunity.  Having that someone who will push you and make you get outside your comfort zone is great and something all student should experience, but that also comes with the ability to be a friendly, respectful and honest staff member.

Over my career at South Wirral I always knew that Miss Dutton would be that person for me and it makes me happy to see she is still there and hopefully has been that person for many other students over the years.


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Adam Smith,  Class of 1996

JOINED FROM HEYGARTH PRIMARY IN 1991

LEFT SOUTH WIRRAL IN 1996 TO COMPLETE AN APPRENTICESHIP AT A LOCAL FIRM

“When I left South Wirral I enrolled at Riversdale Technical College in Liverpool and completed an apprenticeship in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning with a local firm.

One of my favourite memories of South Wirral was the trips to Spain with PGL, they were a real highlight for me. It was great getting to know kids in other year groups and seeing teachers more relaxed and having fun. My favourite member of staff is a dead heat between Mr Favager and Cliffy the caretaker.

Geography was my favourite subject at school. I still love being out in our environment and understanding how our ecosystems work. I went on to teach map and compass and adventurous training with the Army Cadet Force.

South Wirral was instrumental in my career path. Mr Hughes organised my work experience and Mr Sheen arranged for me to stay for an extra week. I was invited back for summer work and offered an apprenticeship.

If I was to give a piece of advice to current students is that there are lots of opportunities for those that may struggle in school, as long as you work hard and make the right choices. Eastham is surrounded by heavy industry. Think about what skills these companies need when choosing subjects and think realistically about career choices. Trade skills and engineering qualifications can be more lucrative than degrees, and companies will pay you while you learn!


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[expand title=”Class of 2001″]

James Oswick,  Class of 2001

JOINED FROM STANTON ROAD PRIMARY IN 1996

LEFT SOUTH WIRRAL IN 2003 TO STUDY BUSINESS STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL

“South Wirral gave me a great grounding that meant I could communicate with people from all backgrounds. Additionally, Mrs McCormack always took a special interest in my progress which meant a lot to me and made me confident that I could achieve what I wanted to. During my time at Sixth Form I loved Business studies but my favourite subject from GCSE was history.

I really enjoyed the dance and drama evenings especially when I was fortunate enough to play a role in year 8 where I was a John Travolta type character except I had 4 girlfriends in the short sketch. I performed it in front of the whole school which was nerve wracking but a great from memory. Achieving 7 A’s at GCSE was my proudest moment.

Whilst studying at South Wirral my favourite teachers were Mrs Lad (now Griffiths) who taught Biology because she made a difficult subject simple through her teaching methods. I always remember Mr Wallace and Mr McGrath for organising the ski trips and making them so much fun. Mrs McCormack never taught me any lessons but always looked out for me. I always had an interest in business and politics. Although I didn’t go

I always had an interest in business and politics. Although I didn’t go into politics I am now a senior tax inspector working in Tax avoidance so I still get to make a difference and collect the revenue the government needs to pay for public services.

I started dating my wife whilst still studying at South Wirral and we are still happily married and have two children. Although my wife didn’t attend South Wirral it does prove that high school resonances can and do last. It sounds cliched but it is so important to work hard in school so you have opportunities in life to do the things you want to. Even if higher education isn’t for you at least you’ll have an interest in learning and improving yourself.


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JADE ASHWORTH,  Class of 2007

JOINED FROM MILLFIELDS PRIMARY IN 2002

Since leaving South Wirral High School I have been to study a degree at John Moores University.

South Wirral taught me about diversity and hard work. I really enjoyed Multicultural arts weeks and interesting lessons by amazing teachers
During my time at South Wirral my favourite teachers were Mr Ellis – incredible teacher, made everything seem interesting. Miss Hewitt – gave me a bigger love of Biology.

I have begun traveling the world doing a month in each place – gives a different outlook on life.
If I was to give one piece of advice to students it would be to do what feels right to you. It is your life – you have to be happy with the choices you make – don’t make decisions to please anyone else.


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JAMES HEWSON,  Class of 2009

JOINED FROM MENDELL PRIMARY IN 2004

LEFT SOUTH WIRRAL IN 2016 TO STUDY SPORT AND EXERCISE SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS

After South Wirral I undertook a fitness/ personal trainer qualification and gained work. In 2014 I went to South Cheshire College studying a HNC in sports coaching & development and in 2015 I started a degree program at the University of Chester studying exercise and health.

South Wirral helped shape the industry I wanted to have a career in. I felt both Mr Bell and Mr Mcloughlin brought out my confidence through the Duke of Edinburgh program and through physical activity in PE and trips.

I have always had an interest in sport/exercise and have now combined my caring nature by becoming a health orientated personal trainer.

In 2011 I was part of a team to climb to 26,000ft on Mt. Everest for children with leukemia In July 2017 I will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for my local hospital’s 1 in 11 appeal for neonatal services.

If I was to give students one piece of advice it would be to pursue your goals no matter what external factors try to prevent you.


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[expand title=”Class of 2011″]

Matt Kelly,  Class of 2011

JOINED FROM RAEBURN PRIMARY IN 2006

LEFT SOUTH WIRRAL IN 2011 TO STUDY MEDIA AT WEST CHESHIRE COLLEGE.

“I never knew what I wanted to do when I left school, I enjoyed ICT and Media. I used my interest in these subjects to enrol on a Media Studies course at West Cheshire College. The skills I learnt at South Wirral High School helped me have the confidence and ability to set up two very successful companies. One is an Event Management Company and the other is a successful Medical Provider who works alongside Liverpool Football Club.

As well as working for myself I also work for North West Ambulance Service as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher. This is a role I thoroughly enjoy and feel I am making a real difference by helping people when they can feel very vulnerable.

If I was to give one piece of advice to current students it would be “There is no elevator to success, You have to take the stairs.” I managed to get to where I am now with a lot of hard work and it is now paying off.

South Wirral gave me a wide range of life skills ready for the journey ahead of me.


Hannah Shevlin,  Class of 2011

JOINED FROM ST ANDREWS C OF E PRIMARY IN 2006

After leaving South Wirral I successfully completed a degree in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Liverpool. I am currently studying for a PGCE at the University of Chester to become a secondary maths teacher. 

My favourite memory of South Wirral would be in history when Mr. Goodwin brought in 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts as a reward for homework. Whilst at school my favourite subject at school was of course maths! Every teacher at South Wirral played an important part in my time there, however, my favourite teachers were Mrs. Batch and Mrs. Clegg for their constant support.

I have always wanted to be a teacher and it’s a privilege to teach students and help them to reach their full potential, especially during ks3 and ks4.

If I was to give one piece of advice to students it would be don’t waste your time! Try every activity, put all of your effort into each subject because this is such an amazing time in your life that you won’t get back. Putting the effort into your grades now will pay off in the long run!
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[expand title=”Class of 2013″]

Oliver Shingler,  Class of 2013

JOINED FROM POULTON LLANCELYN PRIMARY IN 2008

LEFT SOUTH WIRRAL IN 2015 TO STUDY PSYCHOLOGY BSc AT SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY

After leaving South Wirral High School, I was accepted into Sheffield Hallam University to study a BSc in Psychology, I also joined the Yorkshire Officer Training Regiment, (UOTC).

I have always found Psychology interesting, even before starting my A-Levels, but when I joined Mr Favager’s year 12 class I instantly knew I wanted to study it at university. My degree is not only fascinating but will increase my chances of achieving my goal of passing main board selection into Sandhurst after university, with hopes of becoming an officer in the British Army.

The piece of advice I would give to current students is to not rush into a decision of what you want to do after school. Take your time and research every potential path to make sure it is the right one for you. My favourite memory of being at South Wirral was going to the international rugby 7s tournament at Twickenham with the P.E department.

South Wirral does a lot to support students during their time at school. What I found helped prepare me best was the responsibility that the teachers gave, allowing me to find things out for myself.


Hollie Wilkinson,  Class of 2013

JOINED FROM POULTON LANCELYN PRIMARY IN 2008

LEFT SOUTH WIRRAL IN 2015 TO STUDY PSYCHOLOGY AT EDGE HILL UNIVERSITY

“I am in my second year at Edge Hill University studying Psychology. I am also a course representative and work for the university as a student guide and a student ambassador. Not only did South Wirral provide me with the necessary skills and grades for life after school, it also greatly improved my confidence. I joined in 2008 with only a few boys and one girl from my primary school, whereas students from primary schools such as Heygarth and Raeburn knew and transitioned with many other students. This pushed me into making my own new friends and finding a grounding for myself. During my 7 years at South Wirral I used to love helping out at all Open Evenings, Induction Days etc, and so, worked my way up to a Form Leader in year 11, and Head Girl in year 13.

I have great memories surrounding the many relationships I made with both students and staff. Especially in the sixth form, there was a real closeness felt by all students, and I always felt like I could go to my teachers for support. These relationships ensured that Prom was a
particularly special evening celebrating our achievements and time together.

I thoroughly enjoyed my English Literature A-level, but I also had a passion for Psychology. Whilst at South Wirral I formed a great bond with Mrs Clegg who was my Head of House. But I was also greatly fond of the leading sixth form staff (Mr Neal, Mrs Robinson, Mrs Skeldon, Brian and Graham) along with A-level teachers such as Mrs Hesketh, Mr Favager and Mr Robinson.

I want to be a primary school teacher so I am undertaking a Psychology degree and then aim to do a PGCE in Primary Education with QTS (qualified teacher status).

If I was to give current students advice, it would be, if you manage to juggle GCSEs/ A levels with extra revision, in-school commitments, out of school activities etc., then this definitely acts as a base for life in the real world. Here you are practicing key life skills such as time management and prioritising.

Ensure a healthy balance between school and your social life, and always reach out for further support if you need it.


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[expand title=”Class of 2014″]

HANNAH DOBSON,  Class of 2014

JOINED FROM POULTON LANCELYN PRIMARY IN 2009

LEFT SOUTH WIRRAL IN 2016 TO STUDY SPORT AND EXERCISE SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS

Head girl Hannah Dobson was an active and enthusiastic member of the Science department, helping out in after school events such as Open Evening. Hannah was a brilliant independent learner, and her work in both class and at home helped her secure fantastic grades at A Level – A*, A, B, B and C. This helped her to a place at the University of Leeds to study Sport & Exercise Science.


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[expand title=”Class of 2015″]

Will Blackie,  Class of 2015

JOINED FROM HEYGARTH PRIMARY IN 2010

LEFT SOUTH WIRRAL IN 2015 TO JOIN WEST CHESHIRE COLLEGE

Will followed the technical route at GCSE which enabled him to go on to pursue his studies at college. His expertise in lighting gained him a grade A. A key lead on the South Wirral Technical Team, he supported whole school assemblies, presentations and events. Will had a big part in leading and managing the team, training up younger students to continue the Tech Team’s legacy in the future.

 


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