Our Alumni

Wychwood prides itself on educating distinctive, creative, determined, independent and resourceful girls for over 120 years who have gone on to make an impact in all walks of life around the world from science to art, from business to comedy, from music to teaching. We are proud of all of our alumnae’s achievements and the following is just a snapshot:

Jojo Arvanitis (Shell 2009)

Assistant Coordinator, English Session OrchestraAlumnae2 Jojo Arvanitis

“The supportive and close-knit community at Wychwood means that students’ passions are encouraged to develop. My passion for music really grew at Wychwood and the teachers’ individual support, along with warm encouragement from other students allowed me to explore this passion further and eventually pursue a career in music!”


Annabel Broome (Shell 1960)

Psychologist. Annabel has done varied research, to help people with many medical problems; written 5 books, had two careers, as a Clinical, then an
OccupationalAlumnae2 Annabel Broome Psychologist, and worked with the Boards of many large companies, helping them become more effective and humane.

“As a Psychologist, of course I’m not exactly sure which experiences shaped my character and my career! But I’m pretty sure it was Wychwood that helped me get the level of education I needed, gave me the confidence to treat people equally, whoever they are; to feel important enough to assert myself, and also know my own mind.”


Doulla Croft FRSA (sHELL 1981) – Chair, Wychwood Association Picture2

Nielsen, London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee, Facebook, currently at Reddit as UK Head of Entertainment and Gaming.

“When I left Wychwood a professional career was never really on the cards for me for a number of reasons.  I had a strict Greek Orthodox upbringing and my primary role in life was expected to be as a wife and mother, but I am also profoundly dyslexic (less understood then), therefore my chances of higher education were limited.  And so an arranged marriage and motherhood in my early 20s was me, whilst my counterparts were at University.

Like many before and after, Wychwood had instilled in me a deep love of learning and a quiet confidence, so that I believed I could do more.  In my vie

w that was as much about the incredible pastoral care I received as it was about the teaching.

Divorced and with two very young children, I returned to education in my mid 20s (night school at my local college) to add two ‘A’ levels to the one in English Literature I had gained at Wychwood, and in 1997 I graduated from Oxford Brookes with a BSc in Sociology.  Happy to talk to anyone about my journey and the exciting, challenging and fulfilling career I have had since then in advertising/marketing/digital/tech.”


Emma Davidson (Shell 1980)

Chairman, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and arts and education fundraising specialistAlumnae2 Emma Davidson

“Seven extremely happy and memorable Wychwood years – the school is small, personal, individual and different (in a good way). I think of fantastic friendships, inspirational teaching (for me, especially the art and music), and empowering attitude. I’m amazed at what I have been able to do in my life and Wychwood provided the critical foundations and friendships that  made the difference.”


Dr Sarah Essigman (Shell 1980)

Educational Psychologist currently running the initial training doctorate at the University of Southampton.Alumnae2 Sarah Essigman

“Wychwood days were first and foremost fun, and as a school it gave me confidence, showing me I could aim high and be the person I wanted to be.”


Ellie Foreman-Peck (Shell 2002)

Illustrator. Ellie Foreman-Peck is a London-based illustrator who studied illustration at UWE and graduated with a first in 2008. She creates hand-drawn
portraits andAlumnae2 Ellie Foreman Peck editorial images for a wide range of clients, including the New Yorker and the Guardian.

“Wychwood offered a nurturing environment where the classes were small and the teachers really knew who you were. The teachers were fantastic, enthusiastic and positive which rubs off on you! I found the environment very accepting and it allowed me to find my strengths, particularly in the field of art. The wonderful art department allowed me to explore painting, drawing, photography, textiles – it was great! and I very much enjoyed my time at Wychwood


Jane Hewitt (Shell 1960)

Alumnae2 Jane Hewitt

Samaritans Regional Director, Yorkshire & Humberside, Former primary school head

“Wychwood introduced me to volunteering. It was for OXFAM and Meals and Wheels and only lasted for the couple of weeks after we completed our GCSEs. The valuable experience stayed with me. I’ve been a Samaritan volunteer for over 20 years. Alongside my duties responding to callers I’m involved in working with children and young people, training in-house and workplace training. Currently I have a regional role supporting the 17 branches in Yorkshire & Humberside. Primary teaching, headship and consultancy were all fulfilling, but so is Samaritans.”


Jo Holmes (Shell 1984)

Stage Manager Royal Opera House, Covent GardenJo Headshot Cropped

“My time at Wychwood was very happy, full of fun, laughter and friendship. Being part of a small community really encouraged us all to value each other, and gave me the confidence to discover my strengths early on in life. It goes without saying that the excellent teaching and the rich artistic, dramatic and musical opportunities at school shaped my future. Above all, Wychwood taught me the importance of being inclusive, collaborative and creative.”

Alumnae2 Laura JamesLaura James (Shell 1995)

Author of the Captain Pug series of books for children.

“I joined Wychwood in Study. I really suited being in a small school and loved being in Oxford. My teachers were genuinely inspirational. Not only did they manage to get me through my A-levels but they helped to bring out the best in me. Wychwood has a wonderful community spirit and encourages a strong sense of personal responsibility. I gained some great friends and made many happy memories during my two years at the school.”


Alumnae2 Jill Langdon DavisJill Langdon-Davies (Shell 1980)

Media Manager, Oxford University Press

“I arrived at Wychwood shy, anxious and under confident. I left with a toolkit of skills – both academic and social – that carried me through to University and beyond. Wychwood gave me a love of English Literature and Art History that has stayed with me all my life; and this year I celebrate thirty years working at Oxford University Press, doing a job that I love. Thank you, Wychwood, I couldn’t have done it without you.”


Alumnae2 Iszi LawrenceIszi Lawrence (Shell 2000)

Comedian, BBC Radio 4 Presenter and Podcaster

“Wychwood gave me the impetus to be whatever I wanted to be … and the moment I work out what that is, I’ll let you know.”


Alumnae2 Kate LethabyDr Kate Lethaby (Shell 1991)

General Medical Practitioner

“As a GP, a large part of my work involves being empathic. Wychwood, which is such a nurturing and caring school, taught me this in bucket loads. As girls, we all looked out for each other, knew everybody in the school and really were one big family. It gave me a terrific start!”


Alumnae2 Ottoline LeyserDame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS (Shell 1980)

Scientist, Professor of Plant Development at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory

“What has stayed with me most about Wychwood is the supportive and collaborative ethos. There are different ways to do things than winner-takes-all.”


Rachel Page FCA (Shell 1983) – Treasurer, Wychwood AssociationPicture28

Finance Director, MEPC Limited, Chief Financial Officer, AMPORTS – US subsidiary of Associated British Ports, currently enjoying self-employment following a six-year trip driving to New Zealand

“I left Wychwood at 16 and while I wanted to stay on for Study this was not possible.  Wychwood taught me to think for myself and to challenge conventional thinking, something that supported me in my professional career.  I loved numbers and Mrs Clear was the best maths teacher I could have hoped for.  I studied European Business Studies with French before choosing a career in accountancy.  The love of numbers continues, but more importantly, the enduring friendships I made at Wychwood continue to sustain me.”


Alumnae2 Kate SteinDr Kate Stein (Shell 1997)

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

“Teenagers are rather a demonised group but I have a lot of empathy for them. I found adolescence, and being at the mercy of my emotions, pretty tough and maybe that’s why I chose to specialise in child psychiatry. Wychwood helped me through those turbulent teenage years and nurtured my passion for reading. I formed life long friendships and the bridesmaids at my wedding were Wychwood girls. We were encouraged to be independent, individual and creative, and these are values I hope to instil in my daughter.”


Alumnae2 Jess Shepherd

Jessica Shepherd (Shell 1997)

Teacher at Edinburgh New Town Cookery School

“My 7 years at Wychwood were incredibly happy times with lovely friends. I had fantastic teaching that opened up all sorts of opportunities and gave huge confidence and understanding of the world. A wonderful start in life.”


Alumnae2 Camilla StephensonCamilla Stephenson (Shell 1977)


“Through inspiration and opportunity, Wychwood fostered my lifelong love of music, gave me my career and a legacy for my own children.”


Alumnae2 Rebecca StocklandRebecca Stockland (Shell 1982)

Full-time Mezzo Chorister, English National Opera

“My days at Wychwood are some of the happiest in my life, and the friends I made then are still my best friends today. Its quirkiness and mild eccentricity make Wychwood stand out, a place where everyone is encouraged to champion themselves.”