In Conversation With Wimbledon High School alumna Sara Nathan

In May 2023, as part of our In Conversation With series, Wimbledon High School hosted alumna Sara Nathan OBE (Class of 1974). Sara is co-founder of Refugees at Home, a former TV producer and GDST Alumna of the Year 2022 finalist. The Auditorium was packed with students and staff keen to hear about her life and work.

An inspiring role model, Sara broke the glass ceiling when she became Britain’s first female editor of a TV network news programme as editor of Channel 4 News in 1995, having worked as a BBC journalist for 15 years on Newsnight, Breakfast Time and The Money Programme. She was on the launch team for Radio 5 Live and was the first editor of its morning programme.

‘Sara broke the glass ceiling when she became Britain’s first female editor of a TV network news programme’

A founder board member of Ofcom, in 2008 Sara was awarded an OBE for chairing Ofcom’s Fairness Committee. In 2015, having become an ’empty nester’ with her husband, and in conversation with her brother who expressed a desire to help refugees, she felt compelled to set up Refugees at Home – a UK charity which connects those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. So far it has been responsible for placing 4,515 guests with a total of 357,281 placement nights and continues to go from strength to strength, with a certain Gary Lineker as the most famous host to date.

Interviewed by Wimbledon High School Head Fionnuala Kennedy and Deputy Head Girl Evie Hannigan, Sara regaled us with tales of her school days (she was also Deputy Head Girl), the Cambridge Union, her time at Stanford on a scholarship in the seventies, the world of broadcasting in the 1990’s and her motivation behind establishing her charity ‘Refugees at Home.’ It was followed by a fascinating exchange which ranged from being your authentic self, advice to aspiring journalists, the role of journalism in the digital age, media impartiality and (of course) immigration legislation, all provoked by some insightful questions from the audience of Year 8, 10 and 12 students.

We were delighted that Sara was then able to attend a Futures ‘Fireside Chat’ with a small group of students interested in pursuing a career in journalism. Shreya (Y12) said that her key take-away from the session was ‘being open to criticism is key to being a brilliant journalist.’


A GDST girl for life

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