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On Wednesday 1 November, we welcomed over 100 donors and volunteers to Highgate’s Junior School, to celebrate our second Annual Benefactors Evening.

Our guests enjoyed excellent piano and cello duo, performed by Highgate pupils, followed by speeches made by Adam Pettitt, the Head and Hannah Afrah, a current Chrysalis Fellow at Highgate. Hannah was a pupil at LAE Stratford, during which time she benefitted directly from Highgate’s partnership teaching work, and she spoke movingly about the effect this has had on her life and prospects.

The reception provided a chance to show Highgate’s appreciation for the kind support of donors and volunteers, without whom many of Highgate’s achievements would not be possible. Highgate is an educational charity and donations, gifts of time, careers advice and expertise all make a real difference to Highgate’s success.




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Just shy of 70 OCs and friends attended Highgate Golf Club on 13 October for this year`s Cricket Dinner. Guests included Jon Polledri and Richard Brewster (President and Vice-President respectively of the Cholmeleian Society), Todd Lindsay, John Pheasant and Stuart Evans from the School and Mike Wood, Secretary of the Saracens - Sponsored Herts Cricket League, where the Old Cholms 2 league teams play throughout the summer. Jon Polledri said grace and, after a thoroughly enjoyable meal, there were amusing `end-of-season` speeches from 1st xi captain Sam Khalique and club chairman John Zani.

Mike Wood kindly handed out the annual awards as follows:
1st xi Player of the season: Jamie Whybrow 2nd xi Player of the season;
Dom Gibberd Merit Award for his Cricketer Cup performances: Eddie Tse 1st xi Champagne Moment for hitting the winning runs in the Cricketer Cup win v Hurstpierpoint; Willy Whiteside-McFadden 2nd Xi Champagne Moment for an outstanding direct hit run out v Berkhampsted; Alex Thomas Most Improved Club Player for the season: Josh Pullinger

Big thanks also to Ian Sanderson for running not only the raffle but also the very well-supported auction of cricket memorabilia.





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20 Former members of Grindal House met up at The Gatehouse in Highgate Village for their first reunion since 2010.  The age span between the earliest and the most recent was around 60 years, and it was pleasing to welcome our first female member  attendee, Louise Scoones, as well as former Housemaster, Keith Pullinger and the current incumbent, Phil Harrison.

Howard Darbon, who organised the gathering, welcomed everybody and suggested that we need to meet rather more frequently than every 7 years. It was agreed that members of the Mitre Club would be contacted to determine preferences regarding frequency, timings and location, following which arrangements for the next reunion would be put in place.

Phil Harrison talked about life in Grindal at the moment and reassured all present that whilst the trophy cupboard was not quite as full as it may have been, the spirit within the House was exceptionally good and many students were achieving great things.

All present expressed their thanks to Agnieszka Szymaszek, the School’s Project Development Officer, for undertaking the detailed planning for the event, which proved to be a most enjoyable occasion.

Howard Darbon (GH 1955)




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The Annual OC Dinner was held on Friday 10 November, in the Grade II listed Tottenham Town Hall. Following the recent opening of the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham - a selective free sixth form school, for which Highgate School is the principal educational sponsor  - the location of the Dinner could not have been more fitting. Nor could the evening’s guest speaker, Tottenham’s MP, David Lammy, who spoke passionately about his constituency and the huge benefit LAE Tottenham is likely to have in the area.

Following the Champagne Reception and a delicious three-course dinner, guests were treated to speeches by Jake Kovacks (Deputy Head Boy FG 2018), Jon Polledri (OC President) and the Head, Adam Pettitt. Following his witty and amusing review of the year’s School and OC news, the Head handed a special birthday gift to Geoffrey Walker (TL 1940), who will soon be celebrating his 90th birthday.

It was fantastic to see so many young OCs at this year’s event, and as the evening drew to a close, OCs gathered over coffee and wine, sharing stories about Highgate past and present.

Many thanks to Jon Polledri for welcoming us to the fantastic venue of Tottenham Town Hall.




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Saturday 2 September saw current pupils and Cholmeleians get together for their Annual Sports Festival. We were delighted to see so many former pupils return, to play a series of matches against the school in Netball, Fives and Football; an opportunity to not only meet old friends and teachers but also to prepare for their seasons ahead.

The Cholms’ football team looked impressive and were unbeaten throught the morning, which bodes well for them as they begin their Arthurian league fixtures. New Captain Henrik Sundvik (MG 2009) was clearly pleased, but also keen to attract some of our recent leavers to play for the one of the club’s three teams, either before they go to university, or permanently, if they are staying in London.

Similarly, OC Netball captain Jessie Varma (WG 2009) was on the lookout for more players to join their team that plays in the Camden evening league; recent leaver Aimee Paul (Netball captain; QG 2017) will hopefully be able to work with Jesse to bolster their squad.

The Fives club is thriving under Jonny Ho (MG 2008) and his Cholms’ team play weekly fixtures at Highgate, and often against the School; we look forward to more players helping to ensure the success of this OC club. 

Any OCs wishing to join these really friendly clubs should contact the Development Office at school, or myself at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thanks must go to Aimee and Anton Baleanu (MG 2017) for liaising with so many OCs in their role as sport ambassadors for their year group. Thanks also to John Humphrey and Steph Pride for hosting the fixtures and the excellent BBQ that followed. Both school teams look well placed to do well this year and their performance during the morning certainly indicates this.  

We look forward to next year!  SE




OCs will be saddened to learn of the death of renowned journalist and film critic Barry Norman CBE, (HG 1956), on 30 June. His obituary in the Guardian can be seen here.  (https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/01/barry-norman-obituary)




Highgate School and children's mental health charity, Place2Be, have partnered to launch The Developing Teenager, a teachers’ conference on 6 June which will draw together speakers with a wealth of knowledge and experience. The world we live in today is ever changing; behaviour patterns and advancements in technology all have an impact on the personal development of our young people.

The speakers will present a range of current research findings and their implications on the teenage years, as well as what can be done within the school setting to support the healthy development of teenagers. Key themes for the day include the impact of relationships in the teen years; what schools need to be aware of with gender; the rise in popularity of party drugs and legal highs; and whether technology is a new addiction.

Adam Pettitt, Highgate’s Head, will be opening the conference with a talk on why we need to know about our developing teenagers, and will moderate a panel discussion on the challenges in adolescence. He said:

“At Highgate, we work hard to put our pupils’ emotional growth and wellbeing at the heart of their education. Adolescence, and the need to carve out an identity, leave younger people more exposed to anxieties about one's worth and usefulness, and as a school we help our pupils deal with the huge changes that the teenage years bring. Key to this process is informing all those involved in education about changes and developments, about what works well so as to better to support young people. We want this conference, and the opportunity to hear from and to quiz experts, to make the adolescent’s world an even better one. We want this conference to inform educationalists within our 43 partner state schools and other schools across the country, helping to support young people in meeting the challenges of adolescence.”

Adam is sure that OCs will understand that the recent press coverage of the conference has focused on a small element of Highgate’s long-standing interest in promoting the emotional and educational wellbeing of its pupils. In this context, responding to clinical advice on ways best to cater for the needs of transgender or gender-querying young people, as well as legislation to protect the rights of transgender people, indicates that small changes to uniform and to language can make a huge difference. The changes on which the School is consulting its current pupils and parents would not mean that boys would be required to wear skirts, but could do so if they wished to. This has been uncontroversial in some state primary and secondary schools where the small numbers of transgender pupils have benefited and others have not been harmed.

Child protection, which the School takes very seriously indeed, needs to be informed by advances in clinical and medical research, even if society quite understandably also needs time to accommodate the findings of research and such advance. We will continue to emphasise the importance of good-quality education and information for impressionable young men and women, and to interrogate any changes to ensure that these are not misplaced or faddish.  Despite the press coverage, Highgate is not abandoning common sense or well-placed certainties, merely adjusting these in the light of its current pupils’ views, societal change and of clinical advice.




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The second meeting of the OC LGBT group proved to be a very enjoyable evening. Around thirty OCs and their partners met for drinks in Islington, joined by the Head and a number of other teachers. We had an excellent mix of recent school leavers who had been members of the school’s LGBT Society, who swapped stories with older OCs about their experiences of Highgate and subsequent careers. We look forward to this becoming a regular event in the OC calendar!

Click here to read Highgate LGBT Society 2016-17 News, prepared by Highgate teacher, Andrew Plaistowe. 




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On Saturday 4 March, Adam Pettitt and John Mills, outgoing Chairman of Governors, were delighted to welcome a party of thirty OCs and their partners back to the School. Our guests were members of the 1565 Society, established to recognise and thank those who have kindly indicated support for the School in their Will.

The day began in the Junior School, with a fascinating lecture by Highgate’s own David Smith. The lecture covered the history of the Junior School, before focusing on the presence of the Fibonacci sequence in the repeating patterns present in the new Junior School’s amazing design

Guests then moved to the Mills Centre to enjoy a three-course lunch, speeches from Adam and John, and a chance to catch up with Highgate friends old and new.

If you would like to find out more about Highgate’s 1565 Society, please contact Emily Clarke in the Development Office, by emailing her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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The Winter 2016 edition of The Cholmeleian is avaliable to download here.



On Sunday 29 January Highgate School Old Boys deservedly won a well-contested match against a spirited Westminster side, to earn their place in the semi-finals of the prestigious Derrick Moore Vets Cup. To read the full Football update please click here



Saturday 3 September saw the OC Sports teams take on the current School teams in Football and Netball.  This was the first time the OC Netball team had taken on the School, and it was a closely fought competition. Although the School team took an early lead, the OCs made a strong come-back and were victorious with a score of 25 to the School’s 22.

The morning also saw two football matches, with both the first and second XI in action. It was a mixed affair at half time in the football, with the OCs leading 2-1 in the first XI match but trailing in the second XI game 3-0. All sides worked hard till the end, despite the very warm weather, but the results were a reflection of the half time scores. The firsts finished 2-1 to the OCs and the seconds in a 4-1 victory to the School.

Putting their fierce rivalries behind them, all the teams gathered to enjoy a post-match BBQ in the sunshine and analyse the action from the morning.
Many thanks to the OC representatives and SpEx staff that made these fixtures possible.

(For a full report of the 2nd XIs match please click here)



On Saturday 18 June, Highgate hosted a reunion for OCs at Highgate, Westward Ho! and Hartland Abbey during the wartime years. The day proved a great success with just over 20 OCs and guests gathering to reminisce about their time at the School.   The day began at the School Museum with a short talk from the Chairman of Governors, John Mills CBE, on the historical context of the V-1 flying bomb which landed on Senior Field on 28 June 1944 – some shrapnel from which is on display in the Museum.

Following the talk, OCs made their way to the Head’s house, where they enjoyed the chance to catch up over lunch. Many thanks to Adam and Barbara for hosting the lunch and to all those that helped make it such an enjoyable occasion.



On Thursday 19th May an OC reunion was held for all those that attended Highgate between 1990 and 2000. Over 40 OCs gathered at Assaggetti restaurant, run by the Fraquelli family (Andrea and Alberto are both OCs), to meet up with old friends and school teachers and reminisce about their days at Highgate.
A great evening was had by all, and Jon Polledri (SH, 1987, incoming President of the Cholmeleian Society) was delighted to reconnect with so many OCs and former teachers. Many thanks to Dave Amatt, Henley Smith, Mark Short, Keith Pullinger, Simon Appleton, Stuart Evans and everyone that came along to the reunion. We hope to see you all at the next one!

Please click here to view a photo gallery from the event



We are sad to announce the death of Lord Neill of Bladen (WG 1939) on May 28, 2016, aged 89. Educated at Highgate School and Magdalen College, Oxford, he became a barrister in 1951 and a QC in 1966. Knighted in 1983, he was made Baron Neill of Bladen in 1997 and was an active crossbench peer.



Highgate School and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club have announced an innovative partnership to create a new sixth form school in the heart of Tottenham, with the support of the Department for Education (DfE). Please click here to read more.



It is with great sadness that we announce the deaths of two Highgate colleagues, Paul Aston and Mike Morelle.

Paul Aston passed away on Saturday 30 April. Paul, who taught Design Technology, had been ill with cancer for some time. Paul joined the staff in 2001 and was a member of the management team with responsibility for health and safety and co-curricular education. He was a stalwart member of the car club. Our thoughts are with his widow, Liz, and family. A memorial service is planned and we will let you know when the date is announced.  

Mike Morelle passed away on Friday 22 April. Mike joined the Highgate staff in 1970, and was Head of Chemistry until his retirement in 1995. Our thoughts are very much with his widow, Jessica, and daughter Sophie. The funeral will be held privately, but a memorial service will be held to which OCs will be invited.



In December, The Diabetes and Endocrine Unit at Imperial College NHS Healthcare St Mary's Hospital honoured OC Professor Robert Elkeles (WG 1955) by installing two plaques with his name. He had worked at the hospital from 1978-2014.



120 OCs and guests attended a reception and Cholmeleian Society dinner at the House of Lords on the evening of Friday 27th November, hosted by Lord Rupert Redesdale, President of the Cholmeleian Society, who has been a Life Peer and member of the House of Lords for 24 years. Click here to read more.

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Congratulations to Highgate School's Girls Senior Fives Team (1st pair), who have won the Black Cup for the fourth year in a row.



On Friday 6th November, OCs now residing in the North of England gathered for lunch at Brasserie Blanc Restaurant in Leeds. Click here to read more.

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On Wednesday 4th November, pupils from Highgate and Partner Schools visited Essex Court Law Chambers, where they were treated to a series of talks by several fantastic speakers. Click here to read more.

alumni news law event



On Saturday 12th October, a plaque was dedicated in St George’s Church, Ypres, to the 228 OCs, staff and pupils, who lost their lives in the Great War of 1914-18. Click here to read more.

alumni news ypres



Professor Andrew Pettegree, form the University of St Andrews, delighted a fifty strong audience of OCs, parents, students and teaching staff with a brilliant discussion on Sir Roger Cholmeley’s England in the European context. Click here to read more. 

alumni news andrew petegree



The Telethon has now finished and was a great success, with 660 OCs being contacted. Our team of recent leavers enjoyed learning about the history of the School from the OCs to whom they spoke, as well as gaining a huge amount from the life experience that our OCs have to offer. Added to this, OCs contacted in the campaign pledged over £80,000 over the next four years, in support of bursaries, partnership teaching and facilities. A huge thank you to all those OCs who donated or took the time speak to our callers. Click here to read more.



Highgate School has started its first ever Telethon! Running throughout the first two weeks of September, a group of thirteen recent leavers will be telephoning OCs to update them about School news and ask them about their experiences at Highgate, and invite them to make a donation to support Highgate.

To find out more about the Annual Fund, please click here.

To watch a video about the Annual Fund, please click here.

If you would like to find out more, please contact Emily Clarke in the Development Office, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phoning 020 8347 2101.



We are sad to announce the death of Mike Gadsden (TL 1956) on Wednesday 7th October 2015, after a long battle with cancer. Former President of the OC Society, Michael will be sadly missed. A service of thanksgiving for his life will be held at St Paul's Church (Blandford Road, St Albans AL1 4JP) at 3pm on Friday 23rd October followed by tea in the church hall. Any Cholmeleians who knew Mike are welcome to attend.




Congratulations to renowned OC violinist Daniel Hope (EG 1986), who this October will be presented with the 2015 European Cultural Prize for Music alongside other stars of the classical scene. Full details of the award here.


BBC broadcaster Peter White MBE talks to Rob Halfon, our Featured OC, about having a disability and being in the public spotlight, in the first episode of the new series of 'No Triumph, No Tragedy' on BBC Radio 4.


Congratulations to young OC Henry Zeffman (TL 2012), who has recently won this year's prestigious Anthony Howard Award for young Journalists. Along with a cash prize of £25,000, Henry will now undertake successive intern fellowships at The Times, the Observer and The New Statesman, while writing a 5,000-word essay on British politics and government - the proposal for which helped him win the award. More detail on the award can be found here.


Congratulations to those OCs who have been re-elected as Members of Parliament - David Burrowes (NG 1982), Robert Halfon (QG 1982), Bernard Jenkin (WG 1972) and Jeremy Lefroy (EG 1971) all kept their seats - Enfield Southgate, Harlow, Harwich and North Essex, and Stafford respectively - with considerable majorities for the Conservative Party.

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Hundreds of OCs attended a thanksgiving and commemoration service at St Paul's Cathedral today, followed by a celebratory lunch at Merchant Taylors' Hall. Pictures from these events can be seen here and here, and Canon Mark Oakley's inspirational sermon, which moved pupils, staff and OCs alike, can be read here.

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We congratulate OC violinist Daniel Hope (EG 1986) has been appointed as the Director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and received a warm reception. He will take up post in 2016. More information here.

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Ion Trewin (TL 1956), literary director of the Man Booker Prize, sadly passed away on April 8th 2015. He had a long and illustrious career in the literary world, formerly holding the posts of literary editor for The Times' and editor-in-chief at publisher Weidenfeld and Nicholson. A full obituary from The Times can be read here.


Award-winning OC filmmaker Julian McDonnell (SG 1984) has created a set of video tours to take you on a journey through all that is interesting, beautiful and strange about London. From the smallest police station in London to where to get a good pint, Julian covers everything you never knew you needed to know about the nation's capital.

LENT 2015


Brian Pearce (WG 1949) tells us that at the end of January Andy Simpson (MG 1952) with his wife Jan had supper with him and Margaret Pearce in Port Alfred Eastern Cape. It was a thoroughly enjoyable occasion made a bit special by the fact that this was the first occasion on which a non-South African resident OC had met with our SA representative.


Humphry Barnikel (Staff 1972 - 2007) met up with several OCs for lunch in Sydney at the Jewel On The Bay restaurant while visiting family in the area. The guests were Humphrey Barnikel and his wife Elizabeth, then OCs and partners Ballauff (Chris & Janet), Bowan(Peter), Bowan(John), Rumball (David), Watson (Maurice & Margaret), Wilson (Miles) and Etheridge (Bill & Trish). A total of twelve attended and there were seventeen apologies. Much information was exchanged and familiar faces reconnected and the lunch finished in good spirits at around 4pm.



Tim Acton (WG 1950) is a stalwart of the Australian OC scene, and hosted another successful lunch on Sunday 7th September 2014, at The Marine Hotel in Brighton, Melbourne which was well attended by OCs and their partners Tim reports that "as always it was most convivial and enjoyable, with much reminiscing of happy days at Highgate School"
The OCs of Victoria have been meeting regularly for many years and are particularly looking forward to the visit by the Head Master in December next year, which will be undertaken as part of the 450th anniversary celebrations.

No group photo was taken this year as the restaurant was very busy but Tim has kindly provided us with this picture of himself in Highgate School regalia of the past.

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Bernard Shapero (SG 1976), a rare bookseller with a shop in St James, has his home featured here in the Sunday Times.


The Rt. Hon. Robert Halfon (QG 1982), Conservative MP for Harlow, has been appointed as Permanent Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Conservative Home link.


Zafar Rushdie (KG 1992), son of author Salman Rushdie, on how he and his wife met and their wedding. Times article.