BBC journalist and former X-Factor contestant Ashley John-Baptiste came into school to share his inspiring story with Year 11. Now 27, he related how he turned his life around when he received his mock results in Year 11. Raised in the care system, he had not engaged with school and had been suspended repeatedly. When he saw what he could achieve though, he set his sights on a history degree at Cambridge University.
“I went from hanging out with my mates on a Friday night to reading about Hitler. It’s one thing to have a dream, an aspiration, but it’s another thing to achieve it. You have to work for it.”
While he was revising for his finals exams at Cambridge University one of his friend mates persuaded him to audition for The X-Factor. Although he became part of the boy band The Risk he decided to bow out of the competition to pursue other dreams. “I had potential as a boy band member but I could be more helpful to society making documentaries on the BBC.
His parting piece of advice to Year 11 was to take care with the decisions they are making right now, because they will affect the rest of their lives.
“If you had told me in Year 10 that I’d be making documentaries on TV 10 years later I wouldn’t have believed you. Listen to the people around you who are pushing you to be the best you can be.”
Ashley finished his presentation by singing two songs. Pupils were really inspired by everything they heard from Ashley.