Connie Riordan

(Date posted: Wednesday 16 May 2018)

It was a pleasure to recently welcome back another very special visitor through the Drayton Manor doors. 97-year-old Constance Riordan started here in 1932 and accompanied by her nephew she was given a tour of her old school – a school that would have looked very different 86 years ago. Connie was particularly keen to see all of our sports facilities as during her time here not only was she captain of the hockey and lacrosse teams but she also went on to be the school’s sports captain.

Connie obviously had a great fondness for Drayton Manor as she has kept all her school books and documentation from her time here, including a request for her to come to the school to be measured for her tunic. She has kindly donated these to the school along with some of the wonderful memories that she has put to paper about her time as a Drayton Manor student.

Here is one of those memories.

‘One of my earliest recollections of the school – I think maybe it was even just before I was admitted – was the school name spelt out in mauve and yellow crocus round the border of the semi-circular lawn in front of the school – a really beautiful display which attracted enormous attention from passers-by.’

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some more of Connie’s memories, including her life after Drayton Manor.

Kamal Ahmed

(Date posted: Thursday 29 March 2018)

Kamal Ahmed, former Drayton Manor Student and current Economics Editor for the BBC, returned to the school to talk to Year 10 students about the difference between ‘Fake News’ and ‘Real News’ and the current economic climate.

We learnt what to look out for in the media, and how to identify reliable sources. He also warned us about how some businesses use ‘Fake News’ to get customers to buy their products. It really made us think about how we portray ourselves online so that we create a good impression. Even he has been the target of some online ‘Fake News’, which really surprised us.

It was a fascinating presentation and we would like to thank Kamal for taking time out of his busy schedule to share with us his thoughts and opinions on such an interesting subject.

Grace Ble 10M

(Date posted: Wednesday 14 December 2016)

Politics and Economic students had the pleasure of meeting Kamal Ahmed, former Drayton Manor student and current Economics Editor for the BBC.

In the session, he reminisced about his old school days and the time he spent here. He then went on to give a valuable insight into Britain’s current economic state through the explanation of the economic levers used by the bank of England. He described the differences between Monetarism and Keynesianism, giving a brief history of the evolution of economics.

He then went on to answer questions from students on a variety of topical issues including Brexit, Donald Trump and the financial crisis of 2008. While answering these question, Kamal provided a perceptive analysis of the current economic state and described in depth the economic repercussions of Brexit, describing the consequences of Britain leaving the single market versus leaving the custom unions. He also explained the fluctuation of the economy and politics in relation to economic models.

Overall, the experience was a real eye-opener and solved many of the unanswered questions I had on the economy. On behalf on the attending Politics and Economic students I would like to thank Kamal for finding the time in his busy schedule to come and talk to us.

Asia Ahmed 11E

(Date posted: Friday 18 December 2015)

It has been announced that former Drayton Manor student Kamal Ahmed (1980 – 1986) is to become theBBC's new Economics Editor.

Kamal joined theBBCas Business Editor in March 2014 and has reported on the most significant business stories and interviews with key business leaders - including his Panorama investigation on what went wrong at Tesco following the accounting crisis.

In replacing Robert Peston as Economics Editor, Kamal will lead the BBC’s economic coverage and will have a broad remit on finance policy stories including leading the BBC’s reporting on the Treasury and other finance stories for all news outlets.

We were delighted that Kamal was able to join us as our recent Awards Evening as our Guest of Honour and wish him every success in his new role at the BBC.

Class of 1949

(Date posted: Friday 9 February 2018)

In January, we were delighted to welcome back a very special group of visitors to the school. Eleven members from the Class of 1949 returned through the Drayton Manor doors to have a tour of the school and share stories of their time here. Amongst the group was Carol Belch who was Head Girl in 1955 and two couples who met at school and went on to get married.

Clifford and Dorothy McCorry shared their wonderful memories of their time at Drayton Manor in a podcast and you can hear it by clicking here.

It was clear that one of the strongest memories from the Class of 1949 was that of friendship which they have managed to maintain by having regular reunions. In 2005 some of the classmates returned to the school for its 75th anniversary. John Leppard’s memories of this visit is captured in his beautifully written poem below.

Finally, we would like to thank Dorothy for donating her old lacrosse stick which now has pride of place in our trophy cabinet and is already attracting attention from both students and staff alike.

It was a wonderful occasion and we look forward to welcoming the Class of 1949 back to Drayton Manor in the future.

Our DM Days

For a heartbeat, Spring banished Autumn,

The sun warmed us with November rays,

Yet from the moment we stepped in the building,

We were back in our old DM days.

Not much, they say, lasts forever,

But some memories time can’t erase,

Without doubt in our hearts we were really,

Back in those good DM days.

Back then, time didn’t concern us,

Problems seemed never to faze,

And friendships were forged that owed much to

Our wonderful young DM days.

Passing years have not yet corroded,

The principles that we still praise,

And most of them had their foundations,

Set back in our gold DM days.

John Leppard

The Class of 1949 Visitors

Clifford McCorry

Dorothy McCorry

Carol Belch

Christopher Squires

Maggie Squires

Ian Thom

Alan Young

Jim Innes

Brian Rippeth

John Leppard

Anne Leppard

Class of 1949

(Wednesday 24 January 2018)

Fiona Slater, Jo Heard-White, Annlinda Buckingham and John McNeil, who were students in the Class of 1957, visited the school towards the end of last year. Despite pursuing different careers in various parts of the country, they have managed to remain in touch.

We are pleased that they forged their lifelong friendships at the school and it was a pleasure to welcome them back to Drayton Manor.

You can hear a podcast with their recollections of their time at the school below.

Simon Perry

(Wednesday 20 December 2017)

Simon attended Drayton Manor between 1978 and 1984. He moved to the USA in 1991 and worked for a number of years in the corporate real estate industry followed by a period of time working in IT services. He is now a Real Estate Strategy Director for the American multinational corporation, Nike. 

On a recent trip to London he visited the school with his wife and two children. We really enjoyed meeting Simon and his family and we would like to thank them for taking time out of their trip to the UK to visit us.

While he was here we recorded a podcast with him and you can hear his memories of his time at the school by clicking here.

Ivy Reeves

(Wednesday 24 January 2018)

We were delighted to welcome back a very special vistor through the Drayton Manor doors. 98-year-old Ivy Reeves started at the school just a year after it opened in 1931. She can been seen in the photograph from that year when she would have been just 11! This picture is proudly displayed in the main corridor of the Allenby Building.

You can listen to her memories from her time at the school on a podcast that we recorded by clicking here.

We are extremely grateful to Ivy and her son David for taking the time to visit us and we look forward to welcoming them back soon.

Peter Crew, Ben Reeves and David Ryde

(Friday 8 September 2017)

Drayton Manor welcomed back former students Ben Reeves, David Ryde (Head Boy 1981-82) and Peter Crew (1st XI Cricket Captain 1981-82). 

They were interviewed for our Alumni Podcast which you can listen to here.

James Lavrakas

(Thursday 15 June 2017)

We recently welcomed back former student James Lavrakas through the Drayton Manor doors. From Alaska in the US, Jim was a student at the school between 1967 and 1968 while his father was on a sabbatical in London. He described his time at the school as ‘remarkable’ and feels he grew up a lot during this short period of his life.

In 1989 he shared in a Pulitzer Prize with the News Department of the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska) where he worked at that time.

Jim was the subject of our launch alumni podcast and you can listen to his memories of his time at the school by clicking here.

Jai Patel

(Wednesday 23 March 2016)

Jai Patel was a student at Drayton Manor Sixth Form from 2007 until 2009 and is currently supporting rock legends Iron Maiden on their world tour with his band The Raven Age. Jai is currently in Rio de Janeiro but has taken a break between shows to tell us a bit more about his musical journey.

“With a tour like this you think it's going to be the most amazing thing, but it really is much more. I knew it was going to be huge but you don't really get it until you experience something of this magnitude. Iron Maiden have their own plane and we are so lucky to be travelling on it too, not to mention the venues and the crowds which are huge! There are people waiting at airports and hotels and they even know who we are, not just Iron Maiden, which is surreal. Playing in stadiums is such an incredible feeling, I never thought or even dreamed of doing something like this.”

Jai started playing the drums for the Duke of Edinburgh Award when he was 14 but did not focus on them until he joined the school. “I got my first drum kit in November 2007. Two of my best friends both played the drums and they showed me the ropes which I picked up quite quickly.”

He also tells us how he became part of The Raven Age. “It's a pretty interesting story actually. I did a cover on the drums of a song called Dark Day by Parkway Drive on YouTube and it got a lot of views as it was one of the first drum covers online. Guitarists Dan and George of The Raven Age saw it and messaged me to ask if I wanted to join the band as they needed a drummer. I ended up visiting the studio and recording a song for them and the rest is history!”

The tour with Iron Maiden does not finish until August, and Jai is focused on ‘spreading the Raven’s wings’ and building their ever increasing fan base.

“We have our debut album coming out this year so we are very excited and we hope to support other acts on their tours and really build on the fan base we are currently generating around the world.”

During his time at Drayton Manor, he was part of a band called Fall From Within with fellow students who performed at various assemblies and received huge praise from staff and students. The band were also interviewed for a feature in the 2008-09 Phoenix magazine, which you can view by clicking here.

“My time at Drayton Manor was great! I was the only drummer on the music course and the school was very supportive. They bought a drum kit which I did my exams on and I was able to play my first concerts at assemblies and other school events. It is great that we have managed to keep in contact because I have a lot to thank Drayton Manor for. If it was not for my time there, I would not be living my dream right now.”

The school would like to congratulate Jai on his success and wish him the best of luck for the rest of the tour and for the future. We hope to welcome Jai back to the school one day to hear more about his musical journey.

(Friday 17 March 2017)

Former student Jai Patel has released his debut album ‘Darkness Will Rise’ with his band, The Raven Age. Jai was the Guest of Honour at our Awards Evening in November, and impressed the audience with a solo drum performance which acted as the finale to the evening.

The Raven Age were also recently awarded ‘Best New Band’ by Planet Rock at The Rocks Awards after going up against nine other bands. They are currently touring with metal icons Anthrax.

We would like to offer Jai and The Raven Age our warmest congratulations on their achievement.

Alan Mehdizadeh

(Wednesday 21 December 2016)

Former Drayton Manor student and actor Alan Mehdizadeh visited the school and gave a talk to drama students. He was a student at the school between 1994 and 1999.

Alan has become a renowned actor since his time at the school, appearing in many TV roles including Grange Hill and EastEnders, before taking to the West End stage. He played the role of ‘Big Davey’ in Billy Elliot between 2013 and 2015 before joining the cast of Kinky Boots as ‘Don’ in August this year.

He was greeted at the school by Head of The Arts faculty, Mr Warren and Head of Drama Mrs Jackson who introduced him to Drama students from a range of year groups. His talk covered his time at Drayton Manor, the difficulties of becoming a professional actor, tips on how to rehearse and learn lines and techniques for performing confidently. He then answered some of the students questions.

He was invited for lunch with members of the Senior Leadership Team where he was then reunited with his old tutor, Mr Bowman.

We would like to thank Alan for his visit and wish him the very best for the future.

Martin Hancock

(Wednesday 14 December 2016)

Actor and former student Martin Hancock visitedThe Arts Faculty and spoke to us about the profession of acting. Not only did he give us unique insight into life as an actor but he also gave us some excellent tips on line learning, rehearsal techniques and method acting. Furthermore, he gave a very intriguing view into his experience of working on set with director Sir Ridley Scott during the filming of Kingdom of Heaven.

It was a very interesting talk and we relish the opportunity to implement what we have learnt within our own exam performances. We would like to thank Martin for giving up his time to talk to us.

Rima Tariwala 13.2.

Professor Pier Lambiase

(Wednesday 23 November 2016)

Drayton Manor was delighted to welcome back past student, and Consultant Cardiologist at University College London, Professor Pier Lambiase. His enlightening speech to prospective medical students focused on some of the intricate surgical procedures that are carried out and the complications that may well occur. He spoke about the importance of evaluating a medical situation with a team of doctors to decide on what the best procedure might be for a patient. If surgery might be risky for one patient, it may well be the safest option for another. The development of technology was also discussed and what it has allowed Medicine to do today.

Problems within the Medical profession were also discussed emphasising how much responsibility a doctor holds, their extensive workload and the importance of leadership skills. Professor Lambiase spoke to students about the changes in the practice of medicine and how mortality rates for individual surgeons are now being published scaring them from performing riskier procedures.

Some of the attending students said…

“I was intrigued by the way in which modern medicine constantly develops”

“With Professor Lambiase’s past patient scans and 3D stimulations of the heart’s functioning, I was able to see the working of medicine come to life”

The Medicine Society would like to thank Professor Lambiase for giving up his valuable time to come and deliver what was an incredibly informative and enlightening presentation.

Written by Medicine Society Prefect, Ahmed Abotabekh (13.6).

Drayton Manor High School, Drayton Bridge Road, London W7 1EU

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