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.
Olympians arrive for workshop and reveal their happy news...
Roedean's sport ambassadors Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh set to start a family
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!”
TV's Mash Report star has words of wisdom for Roedean girls
Comedian Rachel Parris visited the famous Brighton school to remind pupils to keep their career options open
TV comedian Rachel Parris dropped in on a Brighton school this week to give some stirring advice to young girls about their future.
The Mash Report star told pupils, parents and staff at Roedean’s Speech Day on Saturday that young people should be wary about pinning themselves down to one ambition as they often don’t fit any more as life progresses.
The Oxford graduate, musician and actress told the audience: “Don’t hold on to your dreams too hard because they might not be right for you as you get older. I didn’t plan on being a comedian – and my mum certainly doesn’t think I should be one as ‘it’s dangerous, its not secure financially and my brother’s funnier anyway’ – but it’s what I turned out to like doing after years of being an appalling cocktail waitress and working in arts administration.
“You have got to veer off the path sometimes and try stuff you wouldn’t normally do – even if it’s nothing to do with what you plan to do with your life - because you always learn something about yourself. My hero Julie Walters was a nurse first and – terrifyingly – Harry Hill was a neurosurgeon and still has a licence to practice – so they all veered from their paths to find what they truly loved.”
“Keep your options open, say yes to things you might not think you’d do naturally. You can do more than one thing with your lives and there is nothing more powerful than educated women – don’t have blinkers on because there is so much out there for you to do.”
The words of wisdom went down well – Roedean pupils gave the comedian a riotous standing ovations.
Headmaster Oliver Blond added: “What Rachel said really resonated with the pupils and also the leavers who have gone off to university but are still at the very beginning of their journey. I hope the girls left speech day remembering that life is long and full of opportunities and the more you can say yes to, the greater your chances of discovering what you love.”
Rachel has appeared on panel shows such as Mock The Week, QI and Would I Lie To You as well as starring in Live At The Apollo, Plebs, Murder in Successful and Radio 4’s The Now Show. She is also part of the incredibly successful Edinburgh Fringe Show Austentatious, which has toured nationally to sold-out theatres.
Jeweller to the stars returns to her alma mater, Roedean
Rihanna's favourite designer Anabela Chan set to become Roedean ambassador
A FORMER pupil at Roedean whose design career has seen her creations worn by Hollywood superstars on red carpets around the world is to return to the Brighton school to pass on career tips to current students.
Jeweller Anabela Chan’s exquisite creations have been worn by the likes of Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Ann Hathaway while fashion bible Harper’s Bazaar named her the ‘jewellery designer you need to know’.
Chan left Roedean in 2003 and went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, winning awards for her work along the way. She was soon snapped up by British design house Alexander McQueen, afterwards setting up her own jewellery line which is adored by glamorous names globally.
Now the designer has been named by the school as Roedean ambassador for creativity, which means she will make regular visits to talk to its pupils and help nurture their talents.
She said: “Roedean instilled me with an ambitious mentality. I remember witnessing a talk by Helen Sharman, the first Briton to go to space, when she opened the new science wing in April 1997. Inspirational speakers at the school encouraged me to strive for what I wanted to achieve. Perhaps most importantly, the art department was so crucial to me. Foundation is important, and Roedean is where I learnt to draw and paint. The art facilities are amazing and such an enjoyable space to work in. I remember Mrs Stanway and Mrs Clancy’s teaching providing me with confidence in my own ability.”
Roedean has also appointed as its STEM ambassador Dr Suzie Imber, who is a university associate professor in planetary science and won the BBC show Astronauts: Do you have what it takes? in 2017. Dr Imber will visit pupils to talk about her career and to promote science at the school.
The school already works with Olympic gold medallist hockey players Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh, who are its sports ambassadors.
Headmaster Oliver Blond said: “It’s extremely empowering for the girls to have regular contact with successful and inspirational female role models. This is why holding events like International Women’s Day and hearing visiting speakers is so important. We are very pleased that two new ambassadors will be joining us. Old Roedeanian Anabela Chan is an incredibly successful jewellery designer and has a strong background in art and design while Dr Suzie Imber spoke at the school in March and the girls found her obvious passion for science coupled with her remarkable achievements completely inspirational.”
Ewe've got a deal! Roedean does sheep swap with children’s farming charity
Girls say farewell to beloved sheep but are delighted they'll help other children in the county
AFTER a bountiful lambing season this spring, Roedean School’s farm found itself with excess ewes - so has handed four over to a South Downs farm which helps children with health and behavioural issues.
The independent girls’ school in Brighton swapped its four Welsh Badger Face ewes for four bantam hens with East Clayton Farm, a 120-acre site in the South Downs leased by the charity Lorica in 2004. The site’s farm buildings have been transformed into living accommodation for highly dependent young adults whose health needs mean they need 24/7 care and the farm hosts visits from children with behavioural issues who have trouble settling into school.
Roedean head of experiential learning and experienced shepherd Leland Fieldsend, who runs the farm with some of the pupils, said: “We are delighted that, just as they have here at Roedean, the ewes will make a meaningful difference to young people’s lives; they are brilliantly interactive, and should fit into their new home very well. The bantam hens we received in return are already favourites among the Roedean flock, and we look forward to lots of Roedean eggs!”
Roedean has operated a farm on its site for the last three and a half years, an idea dreamt up by headmaster Oliver Blond to introduce the girls to animal husbandry and better understanding of farm life. Farm prefects are appointed and given responsibilities for the farms’ poultry and sheep, with animal welfare being at the heart of activities. As part of the all pupils’ weekly curriculum, they can choose from a range of lessons and activities during their Head Hand Heart (HHH) period, and many of them choose to work on the farm.
Mr Fieldsend added: “There are loads of activities the girls can do as part of their HHH and the farm option is really popular. They can get outside here on the South Downs, learn about everything from animal husbandry to biodiversity and food security and really get to know the animals. It was the first time we lambed this year, which was a real hit with the girls and it’s proved to be a real success.”
Farm prefect Millie Hoffmann, whose mum Bronwyn Eastwood is the farm vet, said: “We’ll miss the Badgers but we know they are going to a really good home so that has made us feel better.”
East Clayton farm CEO Jean Rolfe added: “The young people who visit East Clayton Farm get so much out of working with the animals and being given responsibility to look after them. We are delighted to receive four new resident ewes who have settled in really quickly and are already becoming firm favourites.”
Roedean pupils sprinkled with West End stardust at workshop
Actress Charlotte Kennedy takes pupils through their paces in Les Mis classes
A WEST END star brought a touch of glamour to Roedean school this term when she held theatre workshops for its pupils.
Charlotte Kennedy, who has just finished playing Cosette in the West End production of Les Miserables, spent the day at the Brighton school with Year 9 and 10s rehearsing the blocking and performance of the song At The End Of The Day from the hit musical.
The school’s theatre director Katy Markey explained: “The whole of Year 9 came today to do this workshop and in groups they had just 50 minutes to learn all the staging and blocking of this song in the original show. They worked incredibly hard and I can see how it lifts their confidence and self-esteem. We are not just concentrating on getting the girls who already love drama to do this – everyone has had a go and experienced what it’s like to get instruction from someone right at the top of her game.”
Charlotte, who first joined Les Mis five years ago at the age of 20 and has enjoyed wide acclaim for the role, said it was tough to learn so much in one session, adding that the exercise was great for all pupils, not just those who wanted a career on the stage.
She said: “This is about acting through song, which is not easy. I’ve seen the girls really blossom today and grow in confidence and that’s wonderful to witness. Often people think that if you didn’t start singing and dancing at an early age then you won't end up doing it for a career but I didn’t really start until I was 15. Then I just fell in love with performing and that was that!
“I hope that by coming along to Roedean and talking about my career and how I got into the West End will inspire girls in whatever they hope to do – its about not giving up and realizing that there will be lots of knock backs but its important to keep on going and accept that rejection is a part of your development.”
Year 10s drama scholars also had the chance to sample some of Charlotte’s expertise as they were given a session on singing the iconic song I Dreamed A Dream.
Pupil Beatrice Shilliam said: “It’s been an amazing experience to be taught by someone like Charlotte who has had West End experience of the original show. It’s been so inspirational because it’s a dream to be in the West End. She was a terrific teacher because she got us to go out of our comfort zone and try something new.”
School award enables Rosie Jones to find out more about wildlife conservation work
WHILE most teens were attending festivals or lying on the beach this summer, Roedean pupil Rosie Jones was busy saving baby turtles.
The 17-year-old travelled to the Greek island of Kefalonia in August to work with the charity Wild Life Sense which is a sea turtle research and conservation organisation with a mission to protect endangered sea turtles and their natural habitats.
Rosie was able to fund her trip after winning her school’s Air, Land and Sea award for Year 12s. The awards are designed to support an activity or trip in the summer holidays between Years 12 and 13, which is focused on personal development and public benefit. In the past girls have used their prize to fund volunteering in Tanzanian and Costa Rican hospitals and working with whale and dolphin conservation in Tenerife.
Rosie said: “I loved my experience working with Wildlife Sense, as it was incredibly hands on. Each morning we would survey the local beaches, health checking and measuring the progress of the nests. But the highlight was doing "hatching rescue", a night survey where we would sleep on the beaches and help ensure all hatchings made it safely into the sea and were not distracted by light pollution.
“As well as learning lots about the ‘caretta caretta’, which is what they call the loggerhead turtles, I also experienced the amazing Greek culture and made a fantastic group of friends, my fellow volunteers. This was an invaluable experience that I’ll never forget.”
The loggerhead sea turtle is the most common sea turtle species in the Mediterranean and nests on the sandy beaches of Greece. However, the species is threatened thanks to climate change, accidental capture in fishing nets and the loss of nesting beaches through light pollution and tourism.
Brighton Fringe Festival gets off to flying start at Roedean
Talented pupils showcase their love of music
The chapel at Roedean School was packed to the rafters on Saturday by music lovers as the orchestra struck up to perform the first concert of the 2019 Brighton Festival Fringe.
This is the 18th year that the independent girls’ school has held the debut event at the Fringe, with some of its most talented pupils singing and playing alongside guest choristers from across the country.
Tickets were free but a collection afterwards saw all proceeds go to St Mark’s CE School in Brighton's Whitehawk estate, a local primary school that has close ties with Roedean. The independent school recently funded and built a library at the school’s Manor Road site.
This year performers delivered the rousing Gloria by Vivaldi and Charpentier’s Te Deum, alongside concerto movements played by some of the school’s very talented musicians. A selection of solos ranged from Mozart, Hummel and Mendelssohn through to twentieth-century Kabalevsky featuring violin, piano and oboe.
Roedean soloists included;
• Year 13’s Freya Stewart who has been playing the violin since she was six and the flute from nine, achieving grade eight at both aged 13 and 15 respectively. She is currently sharing leader responsibilities in the Brighton Youth Orchestra, has led the Brighton and Hove Junior Youth and Youth Philharmonia as well as the Brighton Youth Orchestra String Ensemble and plays with Glyndebourne Youth Orchestra.
• Year 13’s Martha Wilson who has been playing the oboe from nine and at 12 began studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She now plays in multiple chamber groups, last year played Mahler’s Fifth Symphony with the Duet Philharmonic at the Royal Festival Hall and, also a keen saxophonist, has played at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
• Year 13’s Sorcha Harris, who is working towards her Grade 8 singing exam, holds an A* in music GCSE and was the alto soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Brighton Voices;
Director of Music Veronica Fewkes said: “We gave our musicians some huge musical challenges with pieces such as the Mendelssohn and Kabalevsky violin concertos as well as full scale choral works by Vivaldi and Charpentier. Many audience members were staggered by the professional level of the performance standard throughout the concert and we are very proud of all the girls' who took part in the event.”
No Easter break for Eastbourne head who cycled 600km for mental health charity
Andrew Wood bikes from Lake District to south coast in aid of Beachy Head Chaplaincy Trust
WHILE the rest of the country were taking it easy in the Easter weekend sunshine, a Sussex headteacher cycled 600km from the Lake District to his school in Eastbourne to raise money for a mental health charity.
Roedean Moira House headmaster Andrew Wood took to the highways and byways of England on Easter Sunday morning to raise cash for the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Trust (BHCT), tackling the hilliest part of the journey first as he set off from the Lake Windermere and nosed towards Merseyside. He cycled from 8am to 5.30pm for three days, travelling down through Staffordshire, Shropshire, the Midlands, Worcestershire, the Cotswolds, Berkshire and Hampshire before arriving back at school to a rapturous reception from his pupils on Tuesday evening.
So far supporters have pledged around £2200 in sponsorship but Andrew is hoping that the figure will climb still further. BHCT volunteers patrol Beachy Head on foot and by car and respond to emergency calls, to locate people at risk of suicide. They are trained in crisis intervention and offer supportive listening, to start a dialogue and to encourage more hopeful solutions.
Andrew, a keen cyclist, said: “I chose this charity because I often ride on Beachy Head and see the Chaplaincy Trust volunteers, who are out in all weathers looking out for people who may be suffering mental health issues. As a teacher, I am very keen to keep the conversation about mental health going at school.”
He added: “I have never cycled this far before – the most I have done is around 100km – so I was actually pretty nervous on Saturday night before the ride started on Sunday so I didn’t sleep well. But when I got going on Sunday, through what was just beautiful scenery, lambs gambolling past me as I crossed over pretty stone bridges past miles and miles of fields, I have never felt better. I stopped for 20-minute rests three times each day but as the days went on I seemed to get more energised. I guess it must have been the adrenalin!”
As people he encountered along the way heard about his journey, they made donations to the charity. He added: “The chef at the hotel I was at one night heard what I was doing and handed me a tenner! And a B&B owner I met did the same. People were really encouraging all the way along!”
He added: “The idea to do this ride came to me when I was looking through the school archives and learning about how the girls at the school were evacuated up to the Ferry Hotel in Lake Windermere for the entirety of WWII. The current pupils learn about this period in history, of course, and the archives are a valuable resource for them. I thought it would be great to retrace that journey.”
BHCT chief executive Gail Whitington said: “It must have been a gruelling journey for Andrew cycling such incredible distances and we are delighted that he chose to support us and our work. We would like to thank Roedean Moira House parents and pupils for their pledges. What an amazing achievement.”
To donate, please go to Virgin Money Giving homepage and search Andrew Wood.
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