At Roedean, we believe strongly in developing the creativity and individuality of every girl. We are very proud that Roedean girls achieve highly in a wide range of fields, from academia to sport, and music to painting. We believe strongly that challenge and breadth leads to excellence; girls push themselves to develop personally, as well as questioning what they learn and do. With A*-A grades in nearly 55% of A-levels at Roedean last academic year, and over 19% at A*, the girls demonstrated that they can perform exceptionally well under the intense pressure of public examinations. Their hard work resulted in an impressive leap up the league tables, and Roedean is delighted to be the most successful girls’ school in Sussex at A-level in 2015. Nearly 60% of leavers go to Russell Group universities each year, and highly competitive Art Foundation courses are also popular.
A-level study is both exciting and liberating, allowing the students to pursue their passions in depth and focus on developing their strengths; the girls are encouraged to challenge themselves to go beyond what they are taught in order to develop the key skills they will need later in life. At the same time, all girls are afforded the space to allow their creativity to develop, and they are given the freedom to follow their interests and blossom as individuals. The girls’ academic successes are matched in the Performing and Creative Arts, with distinctions at the highest level in music and dance, and in Sport we are very pleased that we currently have three National Champions at Roedean. We are justly proud of our strong mentoring schemes, which provide our brightest and most talented students with individualised support, helping each one to excel in their various chosen areas of expertise.
One of our brightest sporting stars at Roedean is Amber Anning. Having won two national titles last season, she ended it as the World Youth lead, with both European and UK U15 records over 300m, and she is also the UK age 14 record holder for Triple Jump. In August, Amber became the National U17 Champion over 300m with a time of 38.73 seconds, breaking the UK U15 record of Dina Asher-Smith, who performed so well in the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. Amber is also a talented netballer, playing for MSN and the Sussex U16 Netball squad. In November, she was crowned Chichester University “Young Sports’ Personality of the Year 2015” at the Sussex Sports’ Awards at The Grand Hotel in Brighton, and the hostess was Olympian and 2010 Commonwealth Games Heptathlon Champion, Louise Hazel.
Amber is doing great things this year too, and recently became U17 South of England 200m Champion and was the silver medallist in the Triple Jump. Amber was lucky enough to meet one of her idols, Sally Gunnell OBE, when she came to Roedean last term as guest speaker at Speech Day, when she spoke engagingly about the combination of talent and determination required for success.
Another sporting champion at Roedean is Eva Wang, who became National U19 Champion at Table Tennis, both in singles and doubles, last summer. She began the defence of her U19 British Schools’ Champion title earlier this year and was, as always, an absolute professional on the tables. She played four matches and won every game, so we look forward to hearing of her success at the National Finals in April.
In a completely different sport, Amelie Hurley is the U13 UK Street Dance Champion, after winning the duo section at the UK Championships in November. With previous competitors including Diversity and IMD (the winners and semi-finalists on Britain’s Got Talent), the standard is very high and Amelie is a remarkable prospect, so we should all look out for her successes in the future.
In Art, Mia Pierson represented Roedean at the Roche Court Educational Trust’s 2016 ARTiculation Prize event, held at the Saatchi Gallery early in January. This nationally acclaimed annual event is an exciting initiative designed to stimulate students’ interest and understanding of art, while developing individual thinking, observation, research, language, and presentation skills. Mia battled fierce competition to secure her place in the regional heat, where she gave an insightful and engaging presentation on the Pre-Raphaelite painting of 1874, entitled Proserpine, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The standard of presentations was incredible and organisers made a point of mentioning how impressed they were both with Mia and with the depth of understanding shown in her presentation, which was persuasive and engaging. She conducted a skilful discussion, weaving in contemporary issues with those surrounding the Pre-Raphaelites, and she should be rightly proud of her achievement.
Two Roedean musicians have won highly competitive places in national ensembles recently.
Gabriella Kaye won a place in the National Children’s Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, where the competition to be chosen as a clarinettist is very tough indeed, so it is an impressive achievement. Competing against 1,250 other children who also auditioned for a place, she is delighted to have been selected. She is also really excited about the forthcoming concerts this year, one of which will be to perform at the Barbican in London. She will balance these commitments with her school work and preparations for her forthcoming Grade 8 Saxophone exam – she is clearly a talent to watch out for in the coming years.
Francesca Seaborne has also been successful in auditioning for a part in the latest Glyndebourne Youth Opera production, “Nothing”, in February 2016. She is singing so well that she has been given a solo part, and she was also chosen to perform on stage at Glyndebourne last November with the world famous choir, The Sixteen, which must have been an unforgettable experience.
Roedean provides girls with an all-embracing education which goes far beyond excellent academic results, and they flourish in an environment which is challenging and supportive. Not every girl can achieve success on a national level, but every single one is valued as an individual and given opportunities to develop her talents, and perhaps even discover some that she did not know she had. “Girls all – unconsciously – smile when asked about life at school. Endorsement doesn’t come much more authentic.” (Good Schools’ Guide 2014).