Mariella Frostrup cautions students on the dangers of growing up online at Sexey’s annual Speech Day
17th April 2015

Sexey’s School recently welcomed Ms Mariella Frostrup as Guest of Honour at its annual Speech Day, at which the school was treated to an expośe of the celebrity world, accompanied by a word of warning on the power of social media.

Acknowledging her fame, but humbly conceding the reality of her everyday life in Somerset, Mariella reflected on the influence that online media can have, saying, “These days it’s very easy for all of us to doctor our lives to make them perfect. To use shiny social media and add an Instagram filter to make us look like we are exciting examples of perfection, to make us look like we are successful, like we have achieved, like we are fulfilled and empowered, but the truth is there are days when everyone feels small and lonely and afraid.”

She advised Sexey’s students – and all young people - to question and interrogate the ‘reality’ that they see painted in the media, to “read between the lines and look behind the surface of the lives we see pictured.”

Mariella added a final note of caution, reflecting on the difference between the mistakes of her peers growing up, and those evident in young people now: “The difference today is that every single thing you do online leaves a trail, a history that you can’t ever walk away from, so my advice is to make your mistakes in real life, not on your smart phones. The internet is an enormous force for good when it’s used wisely and a terrible place to grow up in public. Spare yourself the humiliation of dragging your mistakes around on a Google search.”

Speech Day also proved an opportunity to celebrate the success of Sexeians past and present. A testament to its slick organisation by Mrs Sarah Stallion, the day ran smoothly, from the mature conduct of Sexey’s students and the musical talent of the Wind Band, to the assured address delivery by the Heads of School Jack Wingate and Annabel Buckland and outgoing Chairman of Governors, Mr Mike Penery.

Students collected an array of prizes rewarding their effort and achievement in all areas of school life, including academic, sporting, musical and artistic endeavour, as well as in the wider boarding and community environments. Hobhouse was awarded the prestigious Bint Shield in recognition of its victory in the inter house sporting and academic competitions throughout the year and the Shield was hoisted aloft by Harriet Perkins and Alex Amann to rapturous applause from the Head of Hobhouse, Mr Darryl Carpenter and his House. All prizes were awarded by Mariella Frostrup.

Mariella is a Norwegian-born broadcaster and journalist, who since she arrived in the UK at the age of 16, has established herself as a respected media voice on the UK’s arts and culture scene and on social issues. Mariella’s projects run the gamut from arts to current affairs - along with her regular show on Radio 4 Open Book Mariella has appeared on the likes of Have I Got News for You, Coupling and Absolutely Fabulous. She combines her television and radio career with that of a prolific journalist, writing regularly about gender issues, travel and has a weekly dilemma column in The Observer Magazine for whom she also writes major interviews. She is the co-founder of GREAT (the Gender Rights and Equality Trust), which advocates for women’s rights globally and was recently appointed as Save the Children’s Gender Ambassador.

Commenting, Mr Irfan Latif, Head Master at Sexey’s School said, “We thank Mariella for taking the time from her busy schedule to come and share Speech Day with us, and particularly for her vital words on the use of the Internet by young people today. Teaching the principles of appropriate social media use is a very real priority in schools including ours, and we welcome Mariella’s reinforcement of the importance and potential impact of students’ social media decisions on their future lives.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making this Speech Day such a resounding success – from staff, to students, to Governors, to parents and guests including the Boarding School Association’s National Director, Mr Robin Fletcher.”


About Sexey’s School

Established in 1891 and set in the beautiful English countryside of Bruton, Somerset, Sexey’s School is a CofE co-educational state boarding and day school for ages 11-18. It is one of 36 state boarding schools in the country, providing a cost effective, high quality all-round education. It is listed as a Top 100 State School in the Independent and is one of Tatler’s 22 Best State Schools in Britain in it's 2015 guide. Sexey’s offers a supportive, caring, family atmosphere for young people to develop both personally and academically and was rated 'Outstanding' for behaviour in its recent Ofsted report. In August 2014, Sexey’s celebrated excellent GCSE and A Level examination results, ranking best in Somerset and Dorset for a state school at GCSE. It continues to celebrate its students’ successes in sport, music, art and drama.