rpp logo

Jacob de Figueiredo (2013) – post GCSE advice

After studying in the Sixth form, Jacob opted not to apply for higher education but to explore other opportunities towards any career goals he may have aspired to.

After school he managed to get a job at the Creative Advertising agency Grey London which was due to him reaching out and finding an apprenticeship instead of choosing to go to university.

Jacob says that the teaching and learning that he received at Roundwood enabled him to excel above other interviewees in terms of skills that branch outside of academia.

In August 2015, Jacob wrote an article about this which appeared in the Independent newspaper. Although this has links to the 2015 exam results, there is valuable information about choices with a number of individual career progression examples. Click HERE to view:

Scott Green 20131

Scott Green [2013]

Now an Assurance Associate at Ernst & Young following graduating from Durham University with a BSc.


Olivia Beach – Kos refugee Christmas Appeal

Festive campaign to help refugees

After witnessing the refugee crisis in the Greek island of Kos, a young woman is keen to help by Olivia Beach (class of 2013) , 21, who lives in Wheathampstead, has set up the Kos Refugee Christmas Appeal and hopes to raise £3,000 for three charities which work with refugee camps in Greece. She decided to set up the initiative after seeing in person the extent of the refugee crisis while on holiday in Kos in 2014. The following year, Olivia sent more than 900 bags of essentials and Christmas gifts to refugees on the Island and aims to lend a hand again this Christmas.

She plans to split donations between Doctors of the World UK, a charity that provides medical assistance within the camps, Samos Volunteers, an organisation that offer emotional and educational support to refugees, and Kos Kindness, the charity which helped distribute Olivia’s bags of essentials last year. She said: “The success of last year’s appeal was beyond my wildest dreams and having seen everyone’s enthusiasm and willingness to help, I am more motivated than ever to ensure this project continues to help refugees and ease the distress of their situation ever so slightly. “We can make a difference, and what seems like a small input from us means the world to people on the receiving end.”

To take part in the online auction or to donate, visit


Courtesy of the Herts Advertiser November 11 2016

Vicky Smith (2013). How the worm was turned by Colman’s

A popular spicy condiment has been used in a Harpenden woman’s research project – to gauge the number of earthworms in ploughed soil. By mixing Colman’s Mustard powder with water and putting the solution onto the ground, Victoria Smith, 22, has established that the less mechanical disturbance of soil, the better the environment to produce an abundance of the invertebrate.

Although a townie at heart – Victoria comes from a non-farming background with little previous knowledge of the industry – she has recently received the 2016 British Society for Soil Science Award.

After enjoying a work experience stint at Will Dickinson’s Cross Farm in Harpenden, Victoria uccessfully applied to Harper Adams University in Shropshire, where she has completed a BSc Hons agriculture and environmental management.

She received the science award for her dissertation on “The effect of tillage depth and compaction level on earthworm density” which investigated the impact of various farming methods on earthworm numbers.

Victoria describes earthworms as an important ‘ecosystem engineer’ as their presence improves soil conditions, leading to improved crops and soil sustainability. Previous investigations have shown that increased mechanisation in the agricultural industry can have negative effects on earthworms – described by Greek philosopher Aristotle as ‘the intestines of the earth’. But before she began her study, Victoria considered how she could actually extract the earthworms in the first place, to accurately gauge their numbers. One way is to use formalin.

However, this is potentially toxic for the environment and human health – not to mention the invertebrates themselves. Instead, Victoria used an application of hot mustard solution, involving

Colman’s Mustard and water, which has no adverse negative effects on earthworms or the surrounding environment. The mustard solution is applied to the soil surface, which irritates the earthworms and leads them to the surface. After drawing nearly 600 from the ground, Victoria found that to increase earthworm density, less intensive tillage systems should be used. Zero tillage, a system of farming in which planting is done in a narrow trench without tillage, is more beneficial for worms and helps increase their density. She concluded that her results “emphasise how sensitive earthworms are to increased tillage depth”. Victoria said that shallow and deep tillage – such as by plough – did not create healthy soil environments suitable for earthworm activity “and therefore are not advised as a technique to increase density”. Other research has shown a strong correlation in improved soil structure, water drainage and organic matter where there is an abundance of earthworms.

Since graduating, Victoria has travelled to Esperance in Western Australia with several friends from university to experience farming on the other side of the world.


Article reproduced from the Herts Advertsier. By Debbie White

rpp logo

Olivia Beach [2013] sets up Kos refugee Christmas Appeal

An ex-student, Olivia Beach (2006–13), has set up a local charity project called Kos Refugee Christmas Appeal. The aim is to fill 2,000 bags with essentials and small gifts for the refugees and then ship the filled bags to the island where a local charity will receive the delivery and distribute the bags in the days leading up to Christmas.

Olivia is looking for any volunteers to fill bags! There are 5 categories of bag; newborn, young boy, young girl, teenager and adult. If you think you would be interested in helping her with this project, please send an email to

If you are a member of a local group or society that may want to fill bags, please get in touch as she is looking for local groups to fill bags together, take a photo with your bags and then send it to the project to share on social media and the website!

You can also find more information by visiting her website –  or donate by going to the JustGiving crowdfunding page which has been set up:

The RP school charity captains think it is a wonderful idea, and hope that some of you can help brighten up these people’s Christmas.           Thank you.

Olivia is currently studying a 4 year BSc Politics with Economics degree at the University of Bath.