Partnerships and Outreach
As part of its holistic ethos, Roedean is committed to making a difference and playing a meaningful role in the local community and beyond. The students have a wide variety of opportunities, whether it is through charity work, volunteering, or partnerships.
After its hugely successful launch in the academic year 2017-2018, the annual Roedean Academy provides supra-curricular academic challenge and enrichment for Roedean girls, alongside girls and boys in Year 10 from six local state schools – these are Blatchington Mill School, Dorothy Stringer School, Peacehaven Community School, King’s School Hove, PACA, and Longhill High School. In 2021, over 70 students took part.
Roedean and St Mark’s Primary have joined in a soft federation, so that the two schools can work together, and both with draw huge benefits from this partnership. For many years, Roedean has worked with primary schools in the local community, but, rather than making a small difference to a number of schools, we decided to focus our efforts on one school in order to make a big impact.
In the academic year 2019-2020, up to the point when the School closed in March 2020, Roedean had committed 638 student-hours and 140 staff-hours to St Mark’s, and the benefit for St Mark’s pupils was 2849 hours. Applying the formula used by Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Scheme, 778 hours of community service has a social value of £3,384. These figures were a marked increase on those for the entirety of the previous year, when they were 583, 114.5, and 2245 hours respectively, so we are very pleased that this project continues to develop and have a wide-reaching impact.
In addition to the existing community volunteering projects, Roedean and St Mark’s are working together on literacy, numeracy, EAL, reading projects, music groups and a choir, Art, and Drama. We are looking forward to being able to return to normal practices when restrictions are fully relaxed, and our priority then will be for Roedean girls to return to their face-to-face activities at St Mark’s. We have been sending regular Sport Workout videos, Art tutorial videos, and Roedean also loaned St Mark’s 20 iPads and chargers in January, to help provide access to remote learning for children who did not have devices at home, or to be used by key worker or vulnerable children attending school.
In 2018, the Headmaster set the Roedean community the challenge of raising £30 thousand to build a Library from scratch, as there was no dedicated space in the school for reading. We raised the money, the girls donated their favourite books form when they were Primary School age, and we opened the Secret Garden Library on World Book Day in March 2019. We know that this will have a massive impact on the reading and wider education of many children for years to come.
This partnership is hugely rewarding for all those involved in both schools, and it is wonderful to see it develop, with elements being added each year – we hope that we can continue to increase the time dedicated to this link, in order to make a tangible difference.
Roedean South Africa
Everyone at Roedean is delighted that we are maintaining a strong partnership with our sister school in South Africa. The two schools were founded by sisters less than two decades apart, and the ethos of providing a quality education which is shared by both is very strong.
As part of a cultural tour to the UK, a party of students from Johannesburg visited Brighton in April 2018 – they were only with us for one day, but students from both schools made a great connections and they immediately began identifying the similarities and differences between the two schools. In November 2018, 20 students and staff from Roedean travelled to South Africa to represent the school as ambassadors, to plan the future projects and exchanges. In February 2021, the Partnership Prefects at Roedean set up an e-PenPal scheme with students at Roedean South Africa, and it was wonderful that some RSA students were also able to take part in our 2021 International Women’s Day Festival.
These visits were a catalyst and both schools are very keen to establish an active and mutually beneficial partnership. During the first lockdown which began in March 2020, our two schools took part in an on-going virtual race across the world, to encourage everyone to keep active while we were all stuck at home – the girls at both schools logged the distances they covered while exercising, and we raced to Johannesburg and back, and they race to us! It was great to report this on a weekly basis, and it did feel as if there was tangible connection between our two schools, at a time when maintaining links are so important.
For a number of years, Roedean has worked very closely with a number of local primary schools and local organisations. In Years 7-10, each year-group has a discrete project, and this works very well.
A number of girls in Year 10 work closely with children with special educational needs at Downs View School, and they are also raising funds to buy additional equipment for the school.
Roedean students in Years 9 work with St Mark’s Primary on a weekly basis, as has been detailed above. It is wonderful that a number of these projects are driven by the girls, such as the Junior Choir, which is run by two musical students in Year 9.
Year 8 have a strong relationship with some of our closest neighbours, the Blind Veterans. In normal circumstances, the girls visit on a weekly basis, to read to the residents or just to chat, and, during the lockdowns, they have sent cards, video-messages, and recordings of musical pieces, to keep their spirits high. It is lovely that the residents have shown their appreciation for the girls’ support by writing cards and messages in reply.
We are hoping to forge a partnership between Year 7 and City Academy Whitehawk, but the Covid situation has hampered this somewhat.
Community Action Programme
All girls in Year 12 take part in the Community Action Programme (CAP), which is a high-quality community service and partnerships' programme. They have dedicated time for this on Wednesday afternoons, and it is extremely popular with the girls, who wish to contribute to the society in which they live.
This year, 75 girls have been undertaking volunteering programmes and community projects, and many have already indicated that they will be continuing with the projects next year when they are in Year 13.
There are currently 11 projects running, but they have taken a very different form this year, and have necessarily had to focus more on remote, fund-raising activities, rather than being hands-on, as is normally the case.
One highlight has been a book written an illustrated by Emily, Olivia, and Megan, called Brighton to Bulgaria – the girls had copies printed and sold them to raise funds to make up ‘bags of education’ for vulnerable children in Bulgaria. They raised nearly £1000, after printing costs, and we look forward to finding out how the bags are received when they make it to Bulgaria!
The Roedean community raises a great deal of money for a variety of charities, both global and local. As a school, we have an on-going commitment to ten girls around the world, whom we support through PlanUK, and to a local homeless charity, Off the Fence.
For Off the Fence, the Roedean catering department prepares 100 additional portions of the girls’ lunch each week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and these are delivered to the charity that day – the homeless people who receive the meals are incredibly grateful, and particularly so because the meals are not simply left-overs, but have been specifically cooked for them. During Covid, this provision was adapted to support social distancing. In November, a member of Roedean staff took part in the Off the Fence ‘Sleep-Out’ to understand better the experience of a homeless person.
The School supports 10 girls from different countries around the world through the organisation PlanUK, which has a focus on girls’ education around the world. Given Roedean’s founding ethos, this is particularly appropriate, and each students’ contribution is less £3 per year to support all 10.
Each year, the student body selects the School’s chosen charities, and this year’s are Raystede, the local animal sanctuary, and the Brighton Hummingbird Project, which supports Afghan refugees and asylum-seekers in the local area. The School raises funds for these charities in a variety of way throughout the year – in December 2021, 3 members of staff and 3 students in Year 13 are taking part in iDrop, abseiling from the i360 on the Brighton sea-front, to raise funds for Raystede.
Many of the students also have a personal interest in a specific charity, and they raise money in a variety of ways, both in and out of school.
The school has developed strong links with the local community through schemes such as the Community Action Programme and the involvement of sixth formers in collaborative work with their peers in a local community school.
– ISI Inspection 2016