A UNIQUE experience in a stunning location is what Roedean offers pupils.
Overlooking the sea, at the foot of the South Downs and on the edge of a city – Roedean provides pupils with a diverse, vibrant place to study and relax. “The girls have the space to grow up at their own pace here, and they thrive in this environment, confident in their abilities and happy,” explained Headmaster Oliver Blond.
“Girls at Roedean develop all the skills they need to be confident and successful women in later life and make their mark in the world; the school is laying the solid foundations on which they will build their futures.
“Our aim is simple. We want every girl to enjoy her time at school and to flourish here.”
Roedean is proud to be an academic school where girls are able to excel in subjects often dominated by boys – three quarters of Sixth Formers do A Level Maths, while the Sciences are also very popular.
“As an academic school, we seek to inspire curiosity and a love of learning in all our girls,” explained Mr Blond. The school’s trajectory is definitely upward, leaping 66 places up the league tables last year. Roedean’s dynamic nature was highlighted in an exceptional ISI inspection report in March.
Roedean offers a holistic approach to education. Every girl is actively encouraged to take part in sport. A cricket pitch, athletics track, indoor swimming pool and sports hall will shortly be joined by a floodlit astro pitch. Trampolining, table tennis, Zumba, yoga and Pilates are all offered. A fully equipped dance studio is used for ballet, tap, street dance and much more while the adjoining 320 seat theatre is the perfect place for a wide variety of productions.
Pupils’ art adorns the walls throughout the school, showing off the wealth of talent nurtured by a department that saw five girls gain 100 per cent in their A Level last year. The huge art room walls are decorated with unique tiles created by the original pupils at Roedean.
Roedean was founded in 1885 by three sisters – Penelope, Millicent and Dorothy Lawrence – and due to its success and popularity moved to its current cliff top location in 1898. All the original features of the building remain – huge fireplaces, heavy wooden doors, wood panelling and in some rooms original wall friezes – accentuated by modern additions. The history is embedded into the fabric of Roedean, yet the school is not stuck in the past, it is constantly looking to the future. The library is being transformed with a mezzanine and greater access to technology to create a multi-functional space for a modern learning experience.
A recent £9 million upgrade of the boarding houses brought boarding into the 21st century. Styled like a boutique hotel whilst retaining a homely, welcoming feel, the boarding houses are like no other. Each of the four houses has its own accent colour – red, green, yellow or blue – and this is reflected throughout in the carpets, accessories and trimmings.
Gone are the cold, soulless spaces associated with ‘old’ boarding schools. Instead you will find the most amazing accommodation that perfectly blends the historic and traditional with the modern and new. William Morris wallpapers sit alongside Orla Kiely accessories. Modern deer heads reference the “roe” in Roedean, whilst submarine lamps give a nod to the men stationed there during the war.
Alongside the bedrooms are the beautiful bathrooms and a host of common rooms, games rooms, television rooms and drawing rooms – a plethora of spaces for pupils to join together, chat, cook snacks, study and relax. The dining room serves amazing food – hot food, salads and fusion bowls are available daily along with a wide variety of fresh fruit at the request of the girls.
Roedean apparently boasts the longest corridor of any school in Britain and the four boarding houses, and a series of individual study spaces for day and boarding pupils, are all accessed off it. Many rooms offer amazing sea views – an ever changing and inspiring landscape throughout the year. Its own secret tunnel links Roedean directly to the beach.
Cloisters link the school and the stunning chapel, complete with its stained glass, impressive organ and marble floors. Here flies the HMS Vernon ensign in tribute to the men stationed at the school during World War Two. It also means Roedean is one of the few girls’ schools in the country with an Old Boys’ Association. The whole school comes together each week for a service in this wonderful space.
Roedean has about 500 pupils, 55 per cent boarders to 45 per cent day pupils, and within years 7 to 9, over 85 per cent of the girls are local. Across the school there are pupils from 25 countries, with an increasing number coming from London as the school offers a weekly chaperoned service to and from the capital, which is less than an hour away by train.
Mr Blond summed the school up perfectly: “Roedean is an extraordinary school – the girls play sport with the sea’s blue behind them and the green of the South Downs in front of them, the Maths classrooms have perhaps the best view of any school in the country, and which other boarding houses have been likened to a boutique hotel? Roedean is unique.”