09 November 2017

Jenny’s story

"Alumni networks are a hugely valuable resource for schools. We all respond well to people who share a common experience or have followed a similar path."

- Jenny Baskerville, External Affairs Senior Manager and Social Mobility Lead at KPMG and former student of Orleans Park School

“I was quite a conscientious student at school. I worked really hard in class and took part in all sorts of extra-curricular activities, from performing in school productions to captaining the netball team. I was Head Girl, a real privilege and a game changer for me in terms of my confidence.

In retrospect I worried unnecessarily about my coursework and exams. I don’t regret it but I could have been a little more laid back at times!

Back in the 90s when I attended Orleans Park School they didn’t have a sixth form. I decided to attend a private day school in Hammersmith for my A-levels. After leaving school I went to the University of Bristol to study Economics and Politics. I left knowing I wanted my career to have a sense of purpose but without knowing exactly where I would find it.

After travelling for several months, I spent a year working on campaigns at the Electoral Commission before joining KPMG. I have since enjoyed a 10-year career with KPMG working across the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. As Social Mobility Lead for one of the most progressive social mobility employers in the UK, my work is focused on breaking down the barriers that exist in elite professions.

My secondary school education was a hugely formative time in my life. I’ve done some volunteering for my private school but always felt that I owed more to Orleans Park.

I am nearly two years into my tenure as a School Governor at Orleans Park and this summer we have signed up to Future First. We are at the beginning of our partnership but I am confident Future First will help us create a thriving alumni community.

Going back to school was surreal at first, it has changed a lot over the past 17 years but was still strangely familiar. I felt nostalgic and text my friends and siblings lots of pictures.

Alumni networks are a hugely valuable resource for schools. We all respond well to people who share a common experience or have followed a similar path – former students can relate and connect with current students in a way that staff may not be able to.

Alumni can get involved in a range of volunteering activities to support student including mentoring, offering careers advice and work placements, CV advice, supporting curriculum delivery and acting as vital role models.

Always believe in yourself. If you work hard and give everything your very best, nothing can stop you achieving what you deserve.”