Alumna Assembly Talk

We were delighted to welcome alumna Dr Sandra Oelbaum back to Withington this morning for our assembly to help raise awareness of the importance of the Bursary Fund in the life of the School.

Sandra attended the School from 1969 to 1976 on a direct grant place, after her teacher at Northenden Community School, Miss Archiver, herself a Withington alumna, suggested to Sandra’s parents that she should sit the Withington entrance exam. The direct grant scheme ended in 1974. Sandra recalled Miss Hulme, the former Headmistress who founded the Bursary Fund in 1976, impressing on pupils the significance of the newly founded scheme to ensure that a Withington education would continue to be available to girls, regardless of economic circumstance.

It was inspiring to hear how Sandra’s desire to become a doctor had been fostered since she was 6 years old. Giving an insight into her medical career, Sandra explained that, as a GP in one of the poorest areas of Liverpool, she has worked to support people in difficult circumstances gain access to the healthcare they need. She is also involved in planning for the future of the NHS in Merseyside and Cheshire.

“I’ve looked after many patients who have not been lucky, people who grew up in care homes, people who can’t really read and write, people who don’t have a home. As I’ve got older, these encounters have made me even more aware of how lucky I was to come here,” she told the girls.

“So, I’m a huge fan of the Bursary Fund which can make a real difference to girls’ lives. That Manchester free place changed my life and I want the opportunity to come to Withington to be there for every girl in Manchester who can pass the exam. Money shouldn’t be a barrier.”

We’d like to extend our thanks to Sandra, a much valued and long-standing supporter of the Bursary Fund, for giving up time from her busy schedule to attend our assembly.

The Bursary Fund currently supports 1 in 6 pupils in our Senior School. We are conscious, however, that for every girl we support, there are others who are disappointed.  You can find out more about supporting our Bursary Fund here.