Dr Gillian Tett inspires at Speech Day 2011
Dr Gillian Tett and Mrs King

Dr Gillian Tett inspires at Speech Day 2011


New Chair of Council, Simon Rothon, opened proceedings at Roedean’s 2011 Speech Day. Thanking former Chair, Christopher Jonas, for the ‘prudent custodianship of our funding’, he went on to share with the audience the success of his daughters, who had been at Roedean in the 1990s.

Mrs King’s review noted with satisfaction last year’s public exam results, university entry and inspection reports. Looking forward, she celebrated Roedean’s ‘distinctive offer, with smarter sharper teaching’ and highlighted the exciting developments in bursarial provision, weekly boarding and the forthcoming boarding house refurbishment.

Head of School Emma Alexander and her deputy Camilla Gibson gave a confident and polished report on the highlights of the preceding year, before the orchestra and senior singers’ captivating musical interlude.   

Dr Gillian Tett, instantly recognisable to many from her Newsnight appearances, then stepped forward to give a very personal address.

Recalling a school careers talk which had described journalism as a tough, aggressive profession, Dr Tett explained that it had taken until her PhD years to grasp the opportunities and develop the confidence to pursue her dream of working as a journalist. 

Now, as one of the most respected and influential women in the global media, she shared some tried and tested advice:

  • Don’t worry if you don’t know where you want to go yet; it can take many years to find out. 
  • Do explore; grab life by the scruff of the neck to find out what you love and then do it with all your heart. 
  • Do not be put off if your goal seems difficult; every journey starts with a small step. Instead, do a little scary thing each day and each week until they no longer seem scary.  

Finally, Dr Tett cited her grandmother, who had been an inspiration to her. This was a woman materially wealthy, but with limited opportunities for her adventurous spirit.

She ended, ‘All of you, don’t ever forget how lucky you are to have your mind opened every day. Go forth and dream. Go forth and explore. Go forth and try new things, for the sake of all women who have not had that chance.’ 

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