Our reunion celebrating 70 years of St Clare’s was attended by alumni and ex-staff members of St Clare’s from different year groups. The presence of Nick Lee, Anothny Binnington, Carolyn Halliday and several others, who were long-severing staff members of St Clare’s, provided a good opportunity for current staff and ex-students to discuss the changes and share their experiences of their time at St Clare’s.

Duncan Reith, Principal

The reunion was also an illuminating experience for our current IB students who got an opportunity to interact with the alumni communityNina O’Hanlon and Yael Kent, our two IB1 students, interacted with Patti McCarthy to discuss her experience of studying A-levels at St Clare’s in the 1970s, which was then known as St Clare’s Hall. Their interaction provided our students with insights on the historical journey of St Clare’s from being an English Language Centre for Foreign Students, teaching A-levels to students, to today being the oldest IB World School in England. 

Currently on sabbatical from her role as Third Officer on RRS David Attenborough to complete a law conversion course, Madeleine has played an instrumental role in several expeditions to the South Pole with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Originally from a small town in Australia, she reflected on how her experiences as a boarder at St Clare’s prepared for living in close quarters with others at sea, and the inspiration that volunteering on tall ships for her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award gave her to join the merchant navy and ultimately led her to the BAS. Charting a ship through a rapidly moving iceberg field was nothing compared to the stress of the IB, she said!

Madeleine Bonham Jones 

Scientists in the Antarctic represent many of the world’s nations and Madeleine struck a poignant note as she told us about the generosity of Ukrainian researchers stranded at their camp at the outbreak of war and a meal that was shared.

As so many of our alumni, do, Madeleine personifies our values of internationalism and credits the international baccalaureate with giving her the opportunity first to read for an undergraduate degree in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute in London, and then to change course for a far more technical role. Motivated by her experience of witnessing environmental degradation in the planet’s most vulnerable areas, and the threat to penguin populations, she is now hoping to contribute her legal knowledge and qualification to action to prevent climate breakdown. 

Our next reunion event will take place on 1 June 2024. Would you like to attend? Fill out this form to register!

St Clare's, Oxford