Fireside Chat

Fireside Chat inspires social responsibility in next generation

Former Head of School, Kat Sladden (Hood, 2002) returned to RHS to inspire the next generation at a Fireside Chat hosted at Holbrook House.

Sixth form students were pleased to welcome Kat to the fifth talk of the series held at the Headmaster's residence. Fireside Chats at RHS are informal, yet structured conversation between the Headmaster and a special guest designed to encourage immersive conversations. Kat is an activist, campaigns consultant and the founder of WeHuddle, a community set up to support and inspire women leading campaigns. Kat is also currently supporting the survivors and bereaved families of the Grenfell Tower fire through the campaign group, Grenfell United, which fights for justice and change.

Kat offered pupils career advice on journalism, communications, working with charities and NGOs plus a tip or two for those aiming for Cambridge, her own alma mater. Kat encouraged pupils to be ambitious for what they care about and to not be afraid to take measured risks. Kat explained that her career moves make perfect sense when viewed in reverse, but she would have never had guessed where she would have ended up.

The students, many of whom, had themselves signed online petitions on the issues they most care about were fascinated by the potential in giving individuals their own platform to bring about change. The students learnt from Kat that she believed the future of work will increasingly involve moving from job to job. Kat's advice was to build broad and strong interpersonal relationships that can be called upon when building a career. The students also had a good discussion on what they believe to be RHS' distinct strength – a diverse pupil body who all pull together and share the same school ethos of service and loyalty to others.

Kat commented, "I really enjoyed sharing my story with pupils and hearing about their ambitions and their views on a range of issues from feminism, environmentalism, privilege and protest. Coming to RHS on a Seafarer's Bursary is pretty much where it all began for me – particularly Geography Room 10! Today's pupils are carrying forward the ethos I remember and cherish."