“The unique international nature of Warminster allowed me to not only appreciate the real meaning and importance of a diverse workplace, but critically the benefits it can bring to the classroom.” James Panther (OV16)

Warminster has a proud history of producing a fine alumni of geographers; combined with excellent teaching staff and perhaps inspired too by Mr Crinion’s classroom assistants (ask any pupil!) we set the scene for geography to be a popular and inspirational subject. We were thrilled to hear recently of James Panther’s journey, who last summer gained a First Class Honours degree in Oceanography with Physical Geography from the University of Southampton.  Mr Philips, Head of Geography, remembers James well.  “He was always challenging ideas and concepts, even bringing in extracts of extra reading he had carried out at home to quiz me on my own geographical knowledge!”  Having returned in the last few years to share his experiences with current pupils, James is a valued and highly esteemed member of the OV community.  As Mr Crinion recalls, “James is a top-class geographer – he was always up to date with what was going on in the world and it helped that he had enthusiasm by the bucket load!”

Following a summer internship with the MOD, James quickly became a full-time employee and although he has plans to study further, he is thoroughly enjoying his current challenge.  Always generous with his time, James shared his reflections on his time at Warminster with us.

How do you feel Warminster prepared you for the next step? 

Warminster broadened horizons beyond those I had previously considered. Although it was challenging arriving in the Sixth Form from a different secondary school, I quickly appreciated the new teaching styles and methods, not least the subjects themselves, which immediately facilitated a broader learning experience. This meant I was able to deepen and expand my knowledge in subjects I hadn’t previously considered. Above all else, the unique international nature of Warminster allowed me to not only appreciate the real meaning and importance of a diverse workplace, but critically the benefits it can bring to the classroom.

What skills did you learn at Warminster and how did they prepare you for the world of work?

Critical thinking, professional questioning and importantly, manners.  These skills also prepared me for interviews and selection boards – looking back they were invaluable to me.

What are your best memories of your time at school?

Without doubt, the Adventure Training. This included my time with the CCF and completion of the Gold DofE Award. Sitting in a sodden muddy trench always carries fonder memories than the long hours writing essays!

Equally, spending days in rough seas kayaking along the South Coast before watching the setting sun around the campfire was an incredibly humbling and un-forgettable DofE experience. Both these activities without doubt helped Warminster to ‘make me’. To this day, I continue many non-traditional or ‘AT’ sports such as mountain biking, trail running, backpacking etc.

What did you study during Sixth Form and why?

I studied As Levels in chemistry and critical thinking and biology,  history and geography at A Level, alongside an EPQ.  I have always loved geography – understanding the world in which we live continues to fascinate me. The same can be said for biology; both environmental and human biology can seem so simple yet the further one digs, the increasingly complex it becomes. I have always had a keen interest in history, strangely for the same reasons as I relished studying geography; being able to make correlations between the past and the present ultimately enables you to be better informed about the future. Studying history allows one to learn how to draw parallels, identify patterns, trends and opinions beyond that of the numerical analysis of the sciences. Coupling history with science has without doubt enhanced my report writing abilities at both A Level, university and the world of work.

What was your favourite subject at school and why?

Geography – enabling one to draw parallels between the human and physical factors of the past and present to professionally inform decision makers. Its significance has never been in such demand or so important.

Where was your favourite place to spend time at school?

The CCF parade square or out on Salisbury Plain with webbing, Bergen and rifle – ready to go! In school, probably the table-football in the Sixth Form Centre – I spent many hours in there! Or the biology labs as the teaching staff were a great support. I have to mention too the memorable bus journeys to and from school. Put simply, I really enjoyed Sixth Form as so many places hold such fond memories for me.