Peele Success Stories

We decided we would like to find out how well some of our ex-students were getting on and what events had happened to them along their career highway. We were surprised at how many were prepared to share their journey with us and we were equally proud at the heights they had achieved.

Their stories were varied and very interesting. Some had traveled the expected path, secondary school -> Further Education/Apprenticeship -> University -> job. Some had arrived at their destination after a somewhat troubled or circuitous route and some found their niche after several false starts.

Whatever their story though, all agreed with the facts that determination, motivation, hard work and an education leading to qualifications were the only way to achieve their life’s goals.

Please take some time to read our ex-pupil’s stories and join with us in applauding them on their fantastic achievements.

They accepted challenge and achieved success!

"I left the Peele with twelve GCSEs, grades C and above, including four A* in Btec Sport.

I was playing football, in the first team, for Swaffham Town since the age of 16yrs in a semi-professional league which I continued to do until I reached 18yrs.

After leaving the Peele, I went to the College of West Anglia to study for a Btec National Diploma in Sport, Level 3.

During my second year we were asked to start planning for our future. I had known for two years that I wanted to go to the USA to study and I was offered a scholarship in November 2012. I realised it was a no brainer for me and accepted.

I continued to work hard within football and had offers from other semi-professional clubs such as Wroxham and Dereham whilst waiting to move to the States. I would recommend this experience to anyone serious about football.

It’s not all about playing sport though, there are studies involved so you have to be prepared to work hard at school as they go hand in hand together.

I am currently studying for my Bachelors Degree in Human Health and Performance in a college in Bellevue, Nebraska, USA. I am living in an apartment with three other lads and I am having the time of my life! I am independent, do everything for myself and the experience has helped me to grow up a lot. At first I was nervous but I now realise it was the best decision I ever made."

Lee Woolmore


"I always knew that I wanted to work in the fashion industry, having this goal throughout school helped to ensure I did put in the best effort in my favourite subjects Art & Design and Graphics Products. I was aware that the fashion industry was competitive, therefore whilst at the Peele school I got involved in extra curriculum activities including helping out at school productions.

I assisted backstage working in the wardrobe department, and making/customizing costumes for the cast. During my final year I joined the prom committee where I designed and made the tickets for our Prom. Working on these extra activities at school definitely helped me gain more knowledge and skills in the area I enjoyed the most.

Although I liked the creative subjects at school I made sure I put the effort in across the board and I achieved the final year achievement awards for Business Studies, IT, Art and Graphic Products of which I was very proud of. I was aware to work within fashion I needed to study A-levels and then go onto university. There are few jobs working within fashion near home and a university degree has now become a requirement, therefore the knowledge and experience gained through A-levels and university would be required to progress within the industry.
I left the Peele in 2005 with 13 GCSE’s [A* - C]. I then went on to Spalding High to study my A-levels in Textile Technology, Art, Business Studies and Psychology.

In 2007 I then went to study BA. Hons Fashion Knitwear design with knitted textiles at Nottingham Trent University – Graduated in 2011 with a 2:1. As part of my university course I took a placement year working for an accessory design company, during this time I gained industry experience and saw my first designs go into stores, whilst travelling to China and Paris with work.

Since graduating I am now working as an Accessories Designer at Arnold Wills & co ltd , the leading designers and manufacturers of fashion accessories for the UK high street and lifestyle brands. Designing for stores including: Next, New Look, Barbour and House of Fraser. Products I design include – Cosmetics Bags, Belt and Small leather goods. My designs are now for sale in many high street stores it is definitely very satisfying to see my designs in stores.

As I look back now, I wish that I had done better in my English GCSE. My grammar skills are not the best. I am in regular contact with buyers and factories for my job via email and I think that my grammar skills could be better than they are now."

Lucy Busley


"I begun life in South Lincolnshire attending Westmere Primary School and Peele Secondary School. Education was the last thing on my mind during this period. Upon leaving school I began work at Solanum potato packing factory where I remained for a year. Standing on the end of a production line soon became a chore, so I decided to attend College. I had no idea what to study, so settled on Law studies, ridiculously. At the time I was more concerned with breaking the law. I was soon excluded from College, but perseverance and doggedness superseded and I returned to College the following September with a newfound desire to study and with a changed mind-set. This time around I decided to study something of interest – travel. A top mark was gained and the next step was Buckinghamshire University. International Tourism was studied and despite losing interest towards the end of the three years I remained focussed and departed with a First Class Honours degree and an award for gaining the highest grade within a faculty of 400 students. I gained a place at King’s College in London, but unfortunately the planned funding fell through a week before I was due to start.

I decided to remain in London and for a couple of years I lived a debauched lifestyle working in stop gap jobs in an upmarket restaurant and in sales for The Daily Telegraph newspaper. I then decided another change in my life was necessary. I quit my job and my home and spent 15 months couch-surfing and spending the majority of my time volunteering, ironically for Crisis, a homelessness charity. Again, perseverance prevailed and I gained a job in database marketing, finding a metier where I prospered and an industry I respected. Two years passed and I begun work at my number one charity in the sector, the British Red Cross, the international humanitarian agency and part of the largest volunteering organisation in the world. I work in a highly skilled and sophisticated team and one of the most well-respected database marketing and analysis teams in the third sector.

Do I have any regrets? Education-wise, I have nothing that keeps me awake at night. I am not one to rue on the past and spend my time looking forward. Of course, I am hasten to add that I reflect and learn an awful lot from experience. My personal life from childhood and through my teenage years and vices in adulthood presented problems, but one need not live to regret actions. As soon as an event occurs it is in the past and there are a million other scenarios you have the opportunity to find yourself. The route travelled may not be an easy one, but it is important to make the most of every opportunity and scenario faced."

Leigh Wetherall


"Have just seen your status its lovely to hear and see others doing well. I’d just like to add my point because I adore my job. I am looking after mentally, physically and vulnerable adults; also patients with Alzheimers and Dementia. It is a tough job but the challenge and the different tasks each day make it worth while. To know that I make their last days, weeks or months more comfortable and helping with things they can do makes me proud of myself.

After my NVQs and many training courses and First Aid I’m now trying to pursue more demanding roles within this field."

Sophie Turner


"Well after leaving Peele I went to do an NVQ2 in Childcare and Education followed by Teaching Assistant Level 3. I have since been a Primary School TA for 9 years. In the past year and a half I have been attending courses and training days for professional photography which I now use at weddings as a second shooter. Oh nearly forgot I start my access course this year part time to move towards my all time goal of becoming a Midwife like my two great – grandmothers.

{Did you work with my brother? Ashley).

After years being in a factory he’s now repairing Norfolk green buses and has a level 3 mechanic of large goods vehicles."

Shellie Ball


"The main reason I’d love to tell you my story is because I 100% do not believe I’d not be where I am today without the amazing teachers I had at Peele. There’s a distinctive moment in my memory where school completely changed for me. Through to year 10 I had been doing pretty averagely. Then we had Mr Harpham for science in year 10 and he made it so interesting that I really focused and when my first set of results came back as As/A*s I thought hang on a minute, if I try I can actually do so well. From that point I feel I have never stopped giving it my everything I’ve got, and ended up with pretty good GCSEs which got me into college.

At the College of West Anglia I studied Maths, English, Biology and Chemistry A-levels and achieved AAAB grades which secured my place at the University of Nottingham to study Biology. It had been the most exciting and amazing two years of my life so far. I managed to get myself a 1st in my first year which helped me get the Eliahou Dangoor scholarship to help with the funding. I recently got another 1st overall in my second year which helped me to secure a summer internship at a top biological research company in Hertfordshire where I will be carrying out my own research project and working alongside professors who are carrying out ground-breaking research. When I return to university in September, I will carrying out my final year research project and the accompanying dissertation on the causes of oligodendrogliomas, a form of brain tumour cancer, identifying and studying unknown genes which cause the disease. If someone come up to me 7 years ago or so, when I was in year 9, and told me that I’d trying to make a difference in the world by researching cancer, there is no way that I would have believed them! It’s also worth mentioning that although this sounds like all I do is work, I do have a lot of fun along the way, to keep me sane :) so yes, I’m aiming to get a first overall in my degree with hopes to go into research when I graduate and the next goal is a PhD.

I hope this helps, it’s amazing what a little inspiration can do and I wonder where I’d be without it :)"

Rachael Huntly


"Have just seen your status. Thought I’d give you a little email and let you know how I’ve got on. I went to college and got Level 3 Hairdressing and Beauty. I own my own business as a mobile hairdresser which has become very successful! I work 6 days a week 12 hours a day doing it. And I love it!!! I think it doesn’t matter who you are, what background you come from if you want to achieve and work hard you won’t let anything get in your way or stop you!!

I met my fiancé just after I left Peele school in 2008! We have bought a lovely home together and we are getting married next week after 18 months of planning I can’t wait!! Especially for the honeymoon! 2 weeks in Mexico!!"

Charlotte Sands


"It has been rather surreal to think about what I have been able to achieve since I left the Peele back in June 2012. It almost seems impossible to think that so much has happened in two years! But being at the Peele has taught me so many lessons, not just learning academically, but also lessons about life too.

However, to achieve what I have achieved in the past two years, it would not have been possible without gaining my GCSE grades in Core and Additional Science. At the beginning of year 9, I knew the importance of leaving school with GCSE’s in not just Science, but English, Mathematics and other subject too. To ensure that I got these grades I knew that I had to try my best, and no one would accept any less. So to achieve this ultimate goal, I signed myself up for every revision session there was. It was hard attending every revision session nearly every night until four or five in the evenings in the final year, but if that was what I needed to success, what’s worth the price is always worth the fight!

No one said that it’s easy to do these things, and it is a task in itself to be able to succeed in all areas. Never the less, in the end I did gain my GCSE’s in core and additional science as I hoped for. I couldn’t honestly believe what I saw on that piece of paper on results day. It was only then did I understand and appreciate the hard work that both students and teachers put into making success!

From achieving this at the Peele, I went on to study BTEC National Diploma in Children’s Care, Learning and Development at the College of West Anglia. During this time, I worked with children and babies from birth to eight years. Science has helped me with this aspect of the course, because we learnt about what children and babies need in terms of development and growth to be able to reach their full potential throughout their childhood. It was mostly biology that we used, as we did various case studies looking at how diet can affect children’s development, how exercise can impact on their physical and holistic development, and also how we can promote this through activities and routines in childcare settings.

From this, science has been a huge advantage as I have been successful with my application for university. Without my science GCSE grades, I would not have been able to apply for any education degrees relating to primary education. It’s because of these science qualifications, I have been offered places to study at; The University of Bedfordshire, Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge and Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln (BGU) all to study BA Hons in Primary Education (With Qualified Teaching Status) and Early Childhood Studies and Professional Practice. To this end, I have chosen the University of Bedfordshire at my choice to lead me into my journey of primary education.

With support of the staff at the Peele to help me gain my science GCSE’s, it has opened so many doors, and I think people underestimate how important it is. I cannot thank the staff enough at the Peele for what they have done for me during my time at the school. There are where times when sitting the entry exams for my interviews for university, I sat there and remembered what Mr. Mac had taught me about Box and whisker diagrams. Its little things like that, that will always make me remember the Peele, and to be proud of where I come from, and thankful to those who got me where I am today.

I have accepted the challenge, and with hard work and determination, I am achieving success."

Amy English


The following was written by Rafa Matias who joined us from Portugal in 2005 with very little English.  He has since worked very hard and now produces some extremely insightful and interesting stories via a blog he writes on the internet.

"Motivation. This is a word that will help you not only towards your goals in your early days at school, but in your whole life too. There will always be people in your life that will tell you that you aren’t good enough and that you will fail on whatever it is you’re doing. However, don’t forget that only you know what you are capable of doing regardless of what people will tell you. There will come times where you will feel down and like you won’t be capable of carrying on, but remember that there will always be someone around you that will give you that confidence which will allow you to carry on. The best example that I can give is myself. I have been in your position and I know what it feels like to fail. I was at a point in school life where I didn’t really care about my grades or what the results would be. People around me kept telling me that I needed to try my best so that I could have much more opportunities in life and follow my dreams. People came in to talk to the students to tell us how difficult school was after secondary and that you needed to do your best; telling that to a teenager hardly ever works. Nevertheless, me being a teenager like you guys and not really paying attention I just carried on having fun and not really trying my best at all of the subjects. When I finally received my exams, I wasn’t happy with my grades, unsurprisingly. I thought I did better in some subjects, which then turned out to be quite obvious that I didn’t do that well. And honestly, feeling like you weren’t good enough and could have done better is a really horrible feeling. Most teachers will sound repetitive and annoying on occasional times, but you spending 5 years of your life with the same teachers, whether you like it or not, some bonds are created and they do want you to be successful in life. Remember that all of what you will do in your life starts from where you stand right now. The results that you will get from what you’re studying now will decide what you will be able to do later in your life. This may sound pointless and stupid but it’s very true, take all the help you can get. You might feel like that most of the work that the teachers give to you is unrelated and won’t help you in any way, but the truth is that everything the teacher give you to do is to make your journey easier. In the end, I guarantee that all your work will be rewarded with happiness, I promise."