Heritage Open Day 13th September 2018

Last Thursday 13th September, Greenhead College participated in the National Heritage Festival, a festival in which 5,000 heritage events are organised across the whole of England to celebrate our fantastic history and culture.

Following the College’s award for the brand new Cooksey Building of Best New Development from the Civic Society, the Heritage Open Day was a great opportunity to showcase the fantastic building alongside our main building, which was formerly the Huddersfield Municipal Girls High School from 1909 to 1973, to the public.

Many of the guests from the evening were alumni of both the Municipal Girls High School and Greenhead College, who all thought it was fantastic to take a trip down memory lane and compare what the building was like back then to now.

The event provided various tours of the College to all the guests, which included visits to the Library, the Gladys statue, the Main Hall, the Art Studio and the award-winning Cooksey Building, as well as stopping off at particular areas due to individual requests. Principal, Simon Lett, also delivered a short presentation about Greenhead College along with refreshments to round off the evening.

Former Greenhead Principal (1973-1987), Graham Cooksey whom the Cooksey building was named after, also attended the event with his family. You can see below photos of the event including a photo of Graham Cooksey stood with the Cooksey sign.

It was a fantastic event and we hope to participate again next year.


Dr Samuel Gartland

Tutor in Classics and Ancient History at Oxford University        

Class of: 2003

Sam attended Greenhead College from 2001-2001 where he studied A Levels in History, English, Politics and Geology and went on to study History at Oxford University.

Following postgraduate study, Sam now works at Oxford University as a tutor in Classics and Ancient History. He spends much of his time discussing Greek history, literature and archaeology with undergraduates, as well as writing book and articles on Ancient Greece. He often works in Greece to study the physical remains of the ancient world.

Sam comments on his time at Greenhead:

Without coming to Greenhead for my sixth-form studies, I would never have thought of applying to Oxford (which I had only heard of from the Boat Race on television) and wouldn’t have had a hope of getting in without the fantastic teaching and encouraging academic environment of the college. More widely, Greenhead provided a friendly and welcoming place to spend two years, with the freedom to meet a wide range of new people and to develop friendships and interests which endure to this day.

Susie Beever

Journalist at the Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Class of: 2010

Susie studied A Levels in French, English Language & Literature, Psychology and AS level Fine Art at Greenhead from 2008 to 2010.

Following her time at Greenhead, Susie went on to study a degree in English Literature at Newcastle University, where she also worked as a News Editor for the student newspaper. Deciding to stay up in Newcastle, after her graduation Susie studied for an NCTJ (diploma in Journalism) with the Press Association and then secured a job working for a national press agency in Leeds.

Susie now works as a Journalist at the Huddersfield Daily Examiner covering news travel and weather, as well as campaigning on mental health issues.

Commenting on her time at Greenhead, Susie said:

“The two years I spent at Greenhead College were undoubtedly what kick-started my career and I am proud to be an alumni. I was inspired by all my tutors, but particularly by my English tutor whose energy and enthusiasm was what drove me to study the subject at University. Besides this though, I always felt the staff at Greenhead always had time for each individual student and believed in everyone’s ability.”

Dr Jack Blackburn PhD, MRSC

Organo-analytical Research Scientist, University of Huddersfield.

Class of: 2002

Jack attended Greenhead College between 2000-2002 studying A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology, winning the 2002 Miss Patch Award.

Following A-level study, Jack attended the University of York and later the University of Huddersfield, graduating with a 1st Class BSc(hons) degree in chemistry. Following a successful degree program, Jack was offered a university research scholarship in organic chemistry through the prestigious Leverhulme Trust, under the supervision of Dr Wesley. J. Moran and Dr Karl Hemming. Jack’s research focused primarily on the development of novel anti-cancer agents, for which Jack was awarded his PhD following acknowledgement of his research from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Following his PhD study, Jack took up his current position at the University of Huddersfield. Specialising in mass spectrometry, Jack’s work focuses on developing global capabilities in organic-analytical chemistry. He has made and continues to make internationally recognised scientific contributions to medicinal chemistry, environmental chemistry, microbiology, materials science and archaeology.

Commenting on his time at Greenhead College, Jack said:

Prior to attending Greenhead College, I was shy and desperately short with confidence. I look back on my time at Greenhead College with great affection and can only describe it as life-changing! I would consider my experience at Greenhead College to be the single greatest positive influence on both my educational and personal development. As such, I salute Greenhead College in every single professional achievement I make.

Shaun’s Silver Medal Success in Japan

Shaun IOI 20181.JPGFormer Greenhead College Student, Shaun Marshall has been awarded a silver medal at the International OIympiad of Informatics, which took place in Japan. Shaun completed his studies at Greenhead College in summer 2018, gaining A*A*A*A* grades and secured his place at Oxford University to study a joint degree in both Maths and Computer Science.

Shaun flew through the initial rounds which took place in College and competed at the National Finals at Trinity College Cambridge where he finished in the top 3, qualifying him to compete at the International Finals.

Each year the International Olympiad of Informatics is hosted by a different country and this year the competition took place over 7 days in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan near Tokyo. 87 countries entered teams of up to 4, selected from their respective National Championships. The contest is made up of 2 sessions on separate days, each of which entails solving 3 questions within a 5 hour time period.

Out of the 335 participants, Shaun achieved a silver medal coming 1st in the UK team and 71st in the World, placing him in the top 25%. An outstanding achievement!

Martin Smith, Head of Mathematics, commented:

Shaun is an outstanding student – his ability to solve challenging problems is phenomenal. I am sure he will carry on to future success during his degree at Oxford.

Shaun is pictured below with the full UK team, who also performed remarkably.

UK Team IOI 2018.jpg

Thom Walker

Studying MA Printmaking Camberwell College, University of the Arts London

Class of 2003

Thom was at Greenhead College from 2001-2003, he studied A level Art, Geography and English Language as well as an AS level in Maths.

Thom followed his interests in visual art to study at Leeds College of Art and Design, completing an Art Foundation year which helped him get a place studying at the Glasgow School of Art from 2004-2007. Whilst living in Glasgow he became very involved in the art community and worked several jobs alongside making his own art such as a wine seller and a postman (not quite as fun as it sounds in the Glasgow rain).

Thom moved to London in 2011 and began working at Whitechapel Gallery whilst continuing his own art work, taking part in exhibitions and starting to focus on creative writing and self-publishing books of his poetry and short stories.

Currently working in an Art Community centre in East London and as a Teaching Assistant in a Special Needs school in West London Thom is half way through a MA in Printmaking at Camberwell College of Art.

Thom commented on his time at Greenhead:

“Greenhead College was an invaluable experience for me, all the teachers I had were inspiring and brought passion and energy to their subjects. I feel that especially the strength of the art department was fundamental in my development and helped me to see the value of art and have belief in what I could achieve if I threw myself into it.”

Professor Judy Hirst MA, DPhil, FRSC

Professor of Biogical Chemistry at The University of Cambridge and Deputy Director of the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit.

Class of: 1990

Judy studied A Levels in Chemistry, Biology and Maths at Greenhead College from 1988 to 1990.

Following this, Judy’s academic success went from strength to strength. As an undergraduate, Judy attended St John’s College, Oxford to read Chemistry and following her graduation, decided to remain in Oxford to study for a Doctor of Philosophy researching mechanisms of catalysis in complex enzymes.

Judy then did postdoctoral work at The Scripps Research Institute in California for two years, before taking a position at The Medical Research Council in Cambridge.

Currently, Judy is a Professor of Biogical Chemistry at The University of Cambridge, as well as Director of the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, Head of a research group, consisting of PhD students and postdoctoral scientists, Dean of College and Director of Studies in Chemistry at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. An extremely impressive array of professions!

Judy was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) this year, and shortly after was also awarded an Interdisciplinary Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC). 

Reflecting on her time at Greenhead College, Judy said:

‘I was happy there, it was an excellent college and the teaching was high quality. It was also a supportive environment and it got me on to where I wanted to go’.

Doing the business in New Zealand

Greenhead College alumni, Paul Thornton recently came into college to talk to our A1 and A2 Business students about his experiences starting a Digital Marketing business in New Zealand.  Paul’s company Digital Hothouse provide search engine optimisation and use Google Adwords to generate sales for clients, putting them high up in any Google search to generate consumer interest.  A really interesting and insightful session for our future entrepreneurs! Paul was taught 20 years ago by Mark Mitchell and also employed alumni Gavin Hirst, from the same class,, to work for his Auckland business.
Student comments included:

‘It is fascinating to see the opportunities technology firms from Europe have in New Zealand, as UK firms are around 4 years ahead in technological terms opening up more business opportunities for a digitally focused company’.

‘I learnt how important word-of-mouth promotion was when dealing with business clients as they are more likely to use a recommended firm’.

Visit Digital Hothouse’s website here: https://www.digitalhothouse.co.nz/ 

Neil O’Brien MP OBE

Member of Parliament for Harborough
Class of: 1997

Neil attended Greenhead College between 1995 and 1997, where he studied Chemistry, Biology and Government and Politics.

Following Greenhead College, Neil initially studied Medicine at Oxford University but after one term, changed course to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

A series of jobs in Politics followed after Neil graduated from University, including working for the successful campaign against Britain joining the euro and running the Think Tank Policy Exchange.  

Neil then worked for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, as a Special Advisor from 2012-2016, and then in Number 10 Downing Street as a policy advisor on the economy to Theresa May from 2016-2017.

Neil was elected for the MP for Harborough in Leicestershire in 2017.

Welcome to Greenhead: Principal’s September 2018 newsletter

A warm welcome to Greenhead College to all our new and returning students, and their parents and carers. I hope everyone has an excellent start to the new term.

The beginning of the academic year is always extremely busy, and this online newsletter aims to highlight a few key events, opportunities and sources of information to look out for.

A Tribute to Owen Williams

I would like to begin by reflecting on the very sad loss of a valued member of the Greenhead community, Owen Williams, who died this summer.

During his two years at College, Owen studied Business, Economics and Maths A Levels, the Extended Project Qualification, and worked towards his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

A reliable, good-humoured and popular student, Owen will be greatly missed by Greenhead College staff and students. He was a strong team player and an enthusiastic learner who will be remembered for his wit and good humour.

His teachers comment on his enthusiasm for studying, initiative shown in lessons, wider reading and strong numerical skills. Cheerful, reliable and fully engaged, Owen had made full access to all opportunities available to him.

Owen will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this extremely difficult time.

If any student is affected by this news and would like to access support – either now or at any time in the future – please do not hesitate to speak to your personal tutor, a College counsellor or myself.


College Information

Could I remind all students to check their emails on a daily basis to ensure they are up-to-date with key messages concerning life in College.  Students may find it useful to refer to their Student Planner and to check the Student Calendar in the Key Dates section of the website, which lists upcoming events, such as assemblies, and important deadlines.  Parents and carers may find this calendar useful as well.  There is also a Parents’ Information section on the website which provides information on topics including student bursaries, the College day and progress monitoring. 



One of Greenhead College’s major strengths is the exciting range of extra-curricular activities available to students.  This is a reminder to all our new first year students that Enrichment Sampling Week and Enrolment starts this week, with activities commencing on Monday, 17 September.  I would encourage all students to sign up to as many enrichment activities as possible.  Not only are they fun and enjoyable to do but they will allow you to stand out from other candidates when applying for employment or to university in the future.      


National Heritage Event

Greenhead College is proud to be hosting a free event on Thursday, 13 September at 5.00pm as part of Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of history and culture. Open to everyone, this is an opportunity to visit all parts of the College site, which first opened its doors to 236 pupils as The Huddersfield Municipal High School for Girls on 18 January 1909. After becoming Greenhead High School, it finally became a Sixth Form College in 1973.  The tour will include a visit to the award-winning Cooksey building, the most recent addition to our campus, which opened last year.  To book your place, please email Julie Polzin (j.polzin@greenhead.ac.uk).   


Parents’ Information Evening (New Students)

We have an information evening for parents and carers of our new first year students on Tuesday, 25 September at 7.30pm.  The event will cover two main topics: firstly, how we fulfil students’ potential through high quality teaching and pastoral support and secondly, information about practical matters such as tutoring, enrichment and careers advice.  Please note that parking is limited on our main site.    


Latest Examination Results

2018 was another excellent year for A Level results: the overall pass rate was 98.5% (national average 97.6%), with 64% of grades at A*-B (national average 52.7%).  These were superb results, reflecting students’ high aspirations, hard work and commitment. I would also like to thank parents and carers, and our magnificent staff for the steadfast support and guidance they gave our students.


Support Available

Finally, could I emphasise to students and their parents and carers that support is always available.  Our staff, including teachers, personal tutors, the learning support and careers teams, College counsellors, and the senior team, are here to help with any matter of concern. Our doors are always open.   

Best wishes,

Simon Lett