19 September 2023
Up to fifty years since they had left Portsmouth High School, alumnae from the Classes of 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003 and 2013 returned for lunch and tours of the senior and prep schools last weekend. The day was hosted by Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott, with tours led by the current sixth form.
The alumnae rekindled old friendships and reminisced about the times they had spent at school.
Dr Jane Collins, from the Class of 1973, former Chief Executive of Marie Curie from 2012 to 2019 and now Vice Chairman University College Hospital, found herself on the front of the stage reciting Shakespeare’s Macbeth; ‘They are, my lord, without the palace gate,’ she performed, with much hilarity from her fellow classmates.
‘I haven’t been back to Portsmouth High School for years,’ said Dr Collins. ‘I was really pleased to have met up with lots of the year of 1973 after too long a gap. I realised I should have come back sooner. The highlight for me was talking to our fantastic sixth form guides and hearing about their plans for their futures. Good luck to them all. It was all so familiar as I walked through the gates but also very different too. The school had really grown in size with many more classrooms and outside spaces, which were great to see. Hearing what others have done over the last 50 plus years since leaving school was really interesting – such variety both in the UK and elsewhere.’
Jackie Moyle from the same year group had a tour of old haunts around the school. She added:
‘We used to say “what happens in the top floor of the music building, stays on the top floor of the music building.”’
One of the sixth formers, Ilmi, who took the alumnae on tours, said:
‘This is the second year I have taken tours around the school with the alumnae. It is such a lovely day – and to hear their stories and memories is so wonderful.’
Mrs Spender, a former teacher, said:
‘It was a lovely occasion and it was such fun reminiscing with lots of girls I had the pleasure of teaching. How talented they all are and what a great foundation for life PHS gave them. It was particularly special to see the 1973 leavers who were my ‘first’ Upper Sixth and to reminisce with so many lacrosse players from all years. Surprisingly I could name all those in the 1983 1st XII team photo! I loved hearing about everyone’s families and careers.’
Mrs Jane Prescott, Headmistress of Portsmouth High School, added:
‘Every year we welcome back former students and it is wonderful to show them the new facilities we have on offer here. They bring with them a host of memories and stories and have rekindled friendships. As they told us, the ethos of the school remains the same today; to educate and inform but have lots of fun on that journey too.’