Roedean is justly proud of its holistic approach to education, and girls are encouraged to realise their potential in a variety of fields, as well as achieving highly academically. The result is that Roedean girls excel in diverse areas, and we have National Champions in sprinting, table tennis, and street dance, a soloist at Glyndebourne this summer, students at Advanced Level 1 in ballet, and a clarinettist in the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain.
With A*-A grades in nearly 55 per cent of A-levels at Roedean last year, and over 19 per cent at A*, the girls have demonstrated that they can perform exceptionally well under the intense pressure of public examinations. We are delighted to be the second most successful school in the area, and the most successful girls’ school in Sussex at A-level in 2015.
At GCSE level last year, 41 per cent of all grades were awarded A* and a fifth of the cohort achieved only A*-A grades, and the girls have used these solid foundations as a sure springboard for success in the Sixth Form. Among others, ten Brighthelm Scholars from state schools in the local area joined Roedean’s Year 12. Many girls in the Year 12 cohort achieved excellent AS grades last year, including nine girls who were awarded five A grades, a further eight with four A grades, and well over a quarter of the year-group achieving at least three A grades. The Brighthelm Scholars who are now in Year 13 were among those achieving highly, with an average of nearly 90 per cent A-B grades at AS level: one student scored 300/300 in Maths, had a 96 per cent average across the fifteen modules she took, and has just been offered a place to read Medicine at Cambridge; a second, who undertook medical work experience in Costa Rica with help from one of our Air Land and Sea Awards, achieved four A grades; and a third achieved four A grades, including 100 per cent in Business Studies.
With 46 girls in the school identified as Able, Gifted, and Talented, we are focusing keenly on providing as much academic stretch and challenge as the girls require. Tracking, close monitoring, and differentiation in lessons are embedded deeply in our teachers’ psyche, so as to give every single girl the best possible experience in the classroom. Beyond this, the weekly Roedean Academic Lectures expose girls of all ages to specialists from a wide variety of disciplines, including academics from top universities and a world-renowned conductor, as well as tapping the wonderfully diverse, and often unexpected, passions of our own members of staff, such as Utopia and Dystopia, weirdos of the art world, and Soviet poetry. Through discussions with the speakers, the girls broaden their horizons, often questioning what they already knew.
Winning places at top universities is as challenging as ever, and we try to identify the most academic students in Years 10 and 11, in order to begin the long process of preparing them for the numerous hurdles which must be cleared to be successful. There is a fortnightly Year 12 Discussion Group, which focuses primarily on Critical Thinking skills, and many girls had the opportunity recently to hear Dr Peter Vardy, the internationally famous philosopher, speak about the theory of knowledge at Ardingly College. With personalised guidance, the girls in the Oxbridge potential programme focus on a topic of personal interest and relevance, before undertaking detailed research; their findings are presented to their peers in a ten-minute paper, and they then lead a seminar on it. These experiences prepare the girls for rigorous university entrance interviews, along with reciprocal practice interviews with staff and students from Lancing College. It is our responsibility to do our best to prepare the girls to be able, under pressure, to demonstrate their true calibre.
Roedean offers a wide range of scholarships to girls with exceptional academic abilities, or remarkable talents in Sport, Music, Drama, Dance, and Art, and we also have the coveted 40 per cent London City and Sussex Scholarships. In each of these areas, the scholars receive targeted support, tailored to their specific abilities or needs. One example of this is the Sports Scholars’ Programme, which gives the girls access to nutritionists, subsidised kit, a personal mentor, and individualised training regimes. This flagship programme, along with excellent facilities and sporting opportunities at Roedean, supports the girls to perform to the best of their abilities. We want the girls to do what they love and to shine.
Roedean provides girls with an all-embracing education which goes far beyond excellent academic results. “Girls all – unconsciously – smile when asked about life at school. Endorsement doesn’t come much more authentic.” (Good Schools’ Guide 2014). Roedean commands a stunning position to the east of Brighton, looking out over the English Channel. All the girls, whether day girls or boarders, are fully integrated into boarding houses which have recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment; in recent articles in the Sunday Times Style magazine and in Tatler, the boarding houses are likened to a boutique hotel, reflecting how well contemporary style has been married with heritage features.
Girls at Roedean are determined to realise their full potential. They understand that challenge leads to success, and they relish it.
For more info go to: roedean.co.uk