Situated on a clifftop on the East Sussex coast, Roedean School is an all-girls school with a difference.
For Roedean, education is about much more than exam outcomes. Though students consistently achieve excellent grades, the School prioritises an all-round learning experience in a caring community, where girls engage in a variety of co-curricular adventures.
Welcoming students aged 11-18 from across the UK and around the world, the School, near Bristol, has developed a reputation for nurturing girls’ talents, sparking curiosity, developing their skills, and letting their imaginations inspire them.
This is an introduction to Roedean that touches on its brief history, values, academic philosophy, co-curricular offerings, and the features that set it apart from other schools.
A Brief History of Roedean School
Roedean has always held a vision of educational excellence for girls. Founded in 1885 by the three Lawrence sisters, whose mission was to provide “a thorough physical, intellectual, and moral” education, Roedean School started out as Wimbledon House in Brighton, with 10 pupils. Roedean moved to its current location in 1898, where, apart from a few years during the Second World War when the School evacuated to Cumbria, it has been ever since.
Roedean School’s Values
Over 130 years ago, the Lawrence sisters’ belief that girls deserved an education that equalled boys’ challenged the accepted notions of the time. Today, Roedean continues to reject stereotypes in favour of an education where girls aren’t constrained by external expectations and have the space and support to thrive and develop into healthy, compassionate, confident young women with strong personal and moral values.
The School’s academic philosophy is to foster a love of learning, originality, and creativity in each student. Discussion and debate sit at the heart of the academic experience, and, in the classroom, students and teachers engage in dynamic learning and teaching.
In 2022, the School celebrated its best ever exam results: 71% of Year 13s achieved A*-A grades, and 85.3% of all GCSE exams were marked as grades 9-7, equivalent to A*-A. The School’s leavers often go on to study at top UK and international institutions of their choices, benefiting from the careful careers and university guidance included in the Life Skills Programme.
Roedean also recognises that university isn’t the answer for every student: Year 12s receive support in considering a range of progression options, including degrees, higher apprenticeships, specialist courses, and valuable gap year experiences.
A Unique, Holistic Education
Roedean’s uniqueness stems from its holistic educational model, which it offers in a supportive community, supporting girls as they grow at their own paces in stunning surroundings with first-class facilities.
Roedean cultivates not only exceptional academic achievements but also a school journey where students develop independence and initiative beyond the classroom. Take the School’s “Wild Friday” initiative, which, every Friday, sees all of Year 7 spend the afternoon outside, working and playing with their peers, learning to appreciate the natural world and developing their interests.
Diverse Student Community
Roedean School nurtures a warm, vibrant community where people come first. The student population consists of half day and half boarding students and represents over 47 nationalities. This lends the School a diverse, dynamic feel, where students hear about experiences that differ from their own and develop a deep respect and understanding for other cultures.
Roedean girls’ empathy extends beyond its walls, as all students pursue a variety of charitable opportunities to positively impact the local community and those further afield.
Roedean’s striking location on England’s south coast features 110 acres, a farm, and breathtaking sea views. The School is close enough to Brighton to enjoy the city’s vibrant culture, but far enough away to benefit from the peace and beauty of its unique clifftop location, surrounded by the South Downs National Park and overlooking the dramatic coastline.
Another of Roedean School’s great strengths is its breadth of co-curriculum activities. Girls enjoy wide-ranging opportunities to try new things, find pursuits they’re passionate about, and thrive as they grow. Each week, girls can choose from over 130 varied activities that contribute to the holistic nature of Roedean’s educational provision, enrich students’ experiences, and enhance their personal development.
In the last decade, Roedean has invested £14 million into its impressive facilities and, looking ahead to the next five years, hopes to continue improving provisions for STEM, arts, and sport. The School is also keen to keep widening access and increase its public benefit through its bursary provision and work with other schools.
Recently shortlisted in four categories at the Independent School of the Year Awards 2022 — Performing Arts, Sporting Achievement, Community Outreach, and Independent Girls’ School of the Year — it’s clear that Roedean is a school with plenty to offer girls looking for a unique educational experience.