Founded in 1885 as one of the first girls' boarding schools in the country, Roedean provides an outstanding academic education for 400 day, full and weekly boarding girls from 11 to 18 years.
About the school
The school's ethos: 'looking outward, aiming high' is inspired by its stunning 40-acre setting overlooking the cliffs at Brighton across the English Channel. Roedean girls discover the excitement of learning in the classroom, on the stage or sports field - supported by excellent teaching and outstanding specialist facilities. Alongside superb results, girls gain the skills, independence and self-assurance to enter world class universities and progress onto fulfilling careers.
Roedean ballerina's on point at last despite Covid hurdles
Young dancer triumphs after years of dedicated practise
8th March 2021 — A YOUNG ballerina refused to let the pandemic get in her way in her dream to reach the highest level of dance.
Gabi Dickinson, 18, finally achieved the ambition she had worked so hard for when she was awarded a Merit at Advanced 2 level from the Royal Academy of Dance. This accolade requires hours of dancing practice every day throughout childhood to achieve.
But Covid meant she almost didn’t make it.
The Roedean Year 13 pupil was due, after training from the age of 4, to take the exam in March 2020 but it was cancelled four days before the date thanks to Coronavirus.
Said Gabi: “This exam was the culmination of 13 year of ballet training and 15 previous exams so it was a major blow. It was delayed until December but then when the exam came I was in a position where I had to self-isolate so I missed it again.
She added: “Covid has hugely affected and interrupted my dancing over the past year, with my longest lay off from training being from March to September last year.”
Gabi was elated when she finally got to perform for the exam. “I’m thrilled to get the Merit in it – after so many years of training.”
This outstanding achievement is the result of a remarkable level of dedication and physical effort, against the odds – students in dedicated dance schools practice for 4-5 hours a day to achieve this standard.
Inspired by Margot Fonteyn and Dacy Bussell, Gabi joined Roedean on a dance scholarship in year 9 and has been mentored by its dance teachers Sandra Stidston and June Mitchell.
Gabi added: “They have been an amazing support, particularly over the last year, as I was determined to take my Advanced 2 exam before leaving Roedean and we finally achieved.”
Ms Mitchell said: “Gabi has worked incredibly hard in spite of all the hurdles that Covid presented in terms of practise and taking the exam. She has practised for thousands of hours over the years and richly deserves her success. We are so proud of her determination and resilience.”
Roedean turns blue for the NHS as staff member gets busy making masks
Theatre manager Joe Wailes at Roedean created a stunning tribute to the NHS as part of the Thursday night NHS clap. In his spare time, he has been making PPE from school theatre supplies to help healthcare workers.
6th May 2020 — A quarantined staff member at Roedean turned the famous Brighton girls’ school into an all-blue tribute to Britain’s key workers as part of the Thursday night NHS clap.
The school, which stands empty as its pupils study remotely from all over the world, was lit in stunning NHS blue, with a rainbow coloured heart emblazoned across the clock tower bearing the words ‘Thank you NHS’. Theatre manager Joe Wailes masterminded the lighting up of the facade. But he has also been busy working out other ways to show the school’s appreciation to those who lay their lives on the line in the fight against the coronavirus.
Mr Wailes has spent most evenings sawing face visors out of plastic sheeting he found in the school theatre’s props department – he has now made 500 which have been sent to the Royal Sussex and various GP and dental practices. The school has also managed to gather together from across the site a further 2,500 pieces of PPE such as disposable gloves, disposable aprons, safety goggles and surgical face masks from the science and health centre.
He said: “I made the visors in the evening to pass the time because I know there is such a need right now for PPE. We had about 50 sheets of plastic and using a handsaw to cut the model and then an electric saw to make all the rest, I managed to make 500. Each one took about 15 minutes. There is a collection point at Hove Town Hall so I took them there and I believe they are going to be used for porters and other non-medical staff at the hospital.”
The school has also set up an NHS Giving scheme in which staff can voluntarily donate a small percentage of their monthly salary to the local NHS Trust, with the senior leadership team donating 5%.
The school’s radios have been donated to the ICU unit and it has also lent its buses for the transportation of NHS staff. The fridges and freezers across the school are also now being used to store food collected by local food bank.
Roedean headmaster Oliver Blond, who is also quarantined within the school complex, has offered up the school’s boarding houses to NHS workers needing accommodation.
He said: “It goes without saying that we as a school must do everything in our power to help those fighting this virus. Our offer to accommodate NHS workers is there. And as for Joe - his efforts reflect the fantastic approach that so many people across the country are taking right now to help with PPE. The school looked amazing all lit in blue and we hope NHS workers who see it know how very much we appreciate what they are doing for the country.”
Roedean breaks tradition to welcome boys - but only once a week
School's Roedean Academy programme invites Year 10 children from across Brighton and Hove to participate in a series of lessons that stretch them beyond the national curriculum including genetic engineering, cryptology and the psychology of crime.
24th February 2020 — BOYS will study at all-girls Roedean School for the first time in its 135-year history – but only on a Wednesday evening.
The Sussex school has been a bastion of exclusively-female education since it was founded in the 19th century to prepare girls for the rigours of newly opened Cambridge women’s colleges Girton and Newnham.
It has produced a stream of actors, politicians, journalists, human rights campaigners, scientists and artists, all achieving firsts in their fields across the centuries.
But 2020 has seen the arrival of boys at its imposing wooden doors overlooking the English Channel as they take part in the school’s Roedean Academy programme.
The programme invites Year 10 children from across the city to participate in a series of lessons that stretch them beyond the national curriculum including genetic engineering, cryptology and the psychology of crime.
Each Wednesday evening some 14 boys and 39 girls from local secondary schools visit the famous girls’ school high on the cliffs to settle down to language code-breaking, philosophy and stats and hard maths sessions.
Stanley Bradley-Scott from Brighton school Dorothy Stringer School said: “I think that Roedean’s academy is incredible – there is a massive range of modules, so you can be super-science-y or you can be the complete opposite. My friends are curious to see what it’s actually like – we drive past here a lot and see this incredible building, but we never knew much about what was going on.”
Kumi Kemp from Brighton school Longhill School added: “I thought Roedean would be a bit uptight with everyone following the rules exactly, but it’s completely different – everyone’s really friendly. It’s got opportunities for everyone, no matter what you want to do.”
Roedean pupil Lola Clarke agreed: “It’s great to participate in discussions with people who are bringing in new ideas and new perspectives. I think that Old Roedeanians would be really proud that we are able to have this experience of working with boys sometimes.”
Headteacher Oliver Blond said: “We have been running the Roedean Academy for quite a few years now and we just saw no reason why boys from the city couldn’t start enjoying the classes too. They are tackling subjects that stretch and challenge them and go beyond what’s on the curriculum and what they need to know to pass GCSEs. It’s learning just for the love of it – something Roedean has espoused throughout its history – and we have seen children absolutely loving it.”
Martha Morrison and Tinayeishe Mapfumo joined Boris Johnson for Chinese New Year celebrations
24th February 2020 — TWO Roedean pupils met Prime Minister Boris Johnson at number 10 as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Martha Morrison, 15, and Tinayeishe Mapfumo, 14, travelled to London with their Chinese teacher Lin Wu to take part in a Downing Street reception for the British Chinese community to celebrate the advent of the lunar new year which lasts until February 8.
Some 30 pupils from across the country were chosen to attend and Martha and Tinayeishe were picked by Ms Wu because of their love of learning the language.
Mr Johnson was treated to a performance by bright red and yellow dragons outside his front door before mingling with the pupils and learning how to write Chinese characters by brush pen.
Tinayeishe said: “I really enjoyed visiting 10 Downing Street and seeing the prime minister in person. I felt very special to be one of the children who greeted him in Mandarin and very privileged to have been in the same room him and other important Chinese officials like the Chinese ambassador. The dragon dance was captivating and at the end Boris Johnson painted the eyes of the dragon and it was really interesting to see more of the Chinese culture and tradition. The prime minister seemed very friendly and welcoming and looked like he really enjoyed embracing the Chinese culture. Before he left, he took a picture with all the children and while that picture was being taken he was singing what sounded like a nursery rhyme which was quite interesting.”
Added Martha: “It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I got to try new Chinese foods that I have never tasted before and learn more about Chinese culture. I think being around so many Chinese speaking people has helped me a bit with my learning, as I got to listen to pronunciation. I feel very lucky and grateful to have attended, and it was very inspiring to see Mr Johnson in person.”
Roedean Chinese department was in celebratory mood this week as two of its other pupils beat five million students around the globe to come first and second in the 20th World Chinese Essay Writing Competition.
Year 9 pupil Yoyo Zhang won the global competition with an essay on Confucius while Lareina Yang took second spot.
Gifted Roedean musician wows top uni after just two years of study
Despite only learning how to read notes at 15, Eden Binks has landed a place at Manchester University to study music – the course named in the Sunday Times Good University Guide as the highest-ranking music department in the country.
24th February 2020 — ROEDEAN sixthformer Eden Binks could not read a single note of music until the age of 15 yet has just learnt she has landed a university place on the country’s top music course.
The 18-year-old was delighted to receive the news that she has an offer from Manchester University to study music – the course was named in the Sunday Times Good University Guide as the highest-ranking music department in the country.
Eden started tinkering with keyboards when she was 11 but rejected formal lessons as “too boring” and determined to teach herself everything she needed to know about playing the piano on Youtube.
By the time she was in Year 10 at her school in Eastbourne, it became clear to her parents Sarah and Jason that their daughter had real talent despite a lack of formal training. They approached Roedean’s music department teachers who were stunned by Eden’s innate abilities and encouraged her to take a crash course in music theory. Six months later, Eden had passed Music Theory Grade Five and was enrolled at Roedean sixth form to study A level music.
Her progress has been so rapid that this spring a new orchestral composition that she has written will be performed at the Brighton Fringe.
Said Sarah: “When we bought her an electric weighted keyboard for her 11th birthday, we also arranged for a 30-minute lesson every Saturday but she hated them! But her love of the music remained and she decided to follow Youtube tutorials to get better.
“She just seemed to love it right from the beginning and studying music A level at Roedean has been amazing. Music teachers Ms Fewkes and Mr Rous have been incredible by encouraging and supporting her to believe more in her natural abilities. They suggested she join the orchestra on percussion, which she loved and this helped her enormously with starting to feel more accomplished when reading music and working within an orchestra. And now they have given her the opportunity to write her own piece to be played at the Brighton Fringe. That shows their level of belief in her, which she has taken with great pride. What a legacy for her to leave Roedean with.”
Eden added: “It has been an amazing journey for me and I can’t wait to start at Manchester. Eventually, I would love to become a producer and composer and hopefully work with a variety of different artists. I have already discussed with Manchester Uni how I could pursue both my degree and a solo career and they said ‘Why don't you pursue your solo career as part of your degree?’ Perfect.”
Olympians arrive for workshop and reveal their happy news...
Roedean's sport ambassadors Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh set to start a family
13th November 2019 — OLYMPIC gold medalists Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh brought a smile to staff and pupils at Roedean School when they revealed they were expecting a baby.
The celebrated former GB hockey players, who are the first same sex couple to win an Olympic medal together on the same team after taking gold in the Rio 2016 Games, were at the school to deliver a workshop to pupils about appreciating their own strengths and recognizing value in others no matter how different they are.
Helen happily explained she is in her second trimester and the North London pair are looking forward to welcoming the baby at the end of the year. She said: "Yes, we're really excited and a bit nervous about it - but it’s going to be our next big adventure!"
Since retiring from the sport at national level, the sportswomen have been working with schoolchildren across Britain to strengthen their mental resilience classes. The programme was inspired by the culture of the Great Britain hockey team where Kate and Helen gained an appreciation of the different qualities players brought to the side. This is the notion they say they want to bring to schoolchildren who sense of self esteem is often eroded by social media.
Helen said: “Even adults can struggle with the concept that we can all have different strengths and still bring something to the table. I think children are willing to listen to what you have to say and take it on board and it’s wonderful to see them absorbing it. We tell them yes, we played hockey for England and competed in the Olympics but we still made mistakes and beat ourselves up about them. It’s about owning that and recognizing how to harness those feelings for good.”
She added: “It’s important to be comfortable and confident in your own skin. One girl said to me today ‘I know its not my place to say, but congratulations on the baby’ and we said it absolutely is your place!”