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The Roedeanian

Autumn 2018

Developments at Roedean 2018

New arrivals on the school farm

Firbank Grammar School from Australia visit us

Karaoke in Keswick

Year 10 and 11 Battlefields Trip

Year 7 Bushcraft Trip

OR Cristal Downing talking to Year 13 Politics Students about her role at the UN

Alumnae Events

OR Rahila Gowan returns to the school with her son and friends

Class of ‘82 Reunion

Class of 2016 visit the school

ORs catch up - Lois Johnson, Lucy Martin, Lorna Wallis and Fran Hockley

Introduction We are having to work extremely hard each year to continue to ensure a strong cohort joins the school as the independent school market remains challenging and competitive. Alongside this we want to ensure that everyone who visits the school, spends time with the girls and staff, sees the transformation, and the depth of experience, and comes away incredibly positive about the quality of education at Roedean. This word of mouth marketing from current girls, parents and visitors is having a great impact – our Open Day at the beginning of October was fully booked and the school is now at its biggest ever with 620 girls on the School role. The first few weeks of the school year have seen many of the girls go out on residential trips. The lower half of the school all having a year group residential at the beginning of term to help them form tight bonds within their year groups, we have also had a trip to the WWI Battlefields in Belgium, an Art Trip to Venice, and a Music Tour of Belgium. We also welcomed visitors from a school in Australia for two days of sports competitions. We have had several exciting developments at the school. We officially opened the new all-weather pitch on Friday 28 September, with a visit from the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Dee Simson, who also happens to be a former Roedean parent, and Helen Richardson-Walsh MBE. We were also honoured to be able to announce that Helen, and her wife Kate Richardson-Walsh OBE, are now our school sports ambassadors. This partnership will mean fantastic opportunities for our girls to develop their sporting abilities. And just before half-term we found out that we have been shortlisted for two Independent Schools’ Awards in the categories ‘Boarding School of the Year’ and ‘Rising Star’. These awards highlight best practice and exceptional achievement throughout the country and in international schools abroad, so this is a wonderful achievement. The winners will be announced in December. It was fantastic to welcome so many OR and parent donors to the Pitch Opening, to be able to formally thank them for their support. I am also delighted to have welcomed Ginny Stephen, the President of the ORA, and Mary Henderson, Vice-President, to Speech Day on Saturday 3 November.

Oliver Blond, with Ginny Stephen and Mary Henderson, President and Vice-President of the ORA

Contents School Highlights


Dates for your diary and notices


OR News


Official opening of the All-Weather pitch


Obituaries and Celebrations


With best wishes Oliver Blond Headmaster 3

School Highlights Incredible A-Level and GCSE Results We wish a huge congratulations to all of the girls who took their GCSE and A-Level exams this year. The A-Level girls achieved the best A* grades for a decade. The depth in this strength is particularly impressive, with well over a third of students achieving at least one A* grade and nearly one in five achieving two or more A*s. We are also proud that, although nationally the number of young women taking up STEM subjects is very low, 37% of this year’s leavers have gone on to study Maths or Science courses at university. The GCSE results were also fantastic with 48.2% at A* or its equivalent, 22.6% of examinations were awarded the new elite Grade 9 and 71.9% at A*-A is an incredible achievement. As with the A Level results, the girls were particularly strong in the STEM subjects with over 80% A*-A in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These results are even more impressive given that they have come in a year of great change to the specifications and grading system.

St Mark’s Primary Fundraising At the beginning of the school year, Oliver set the School a charity fund-raising target of £25,000. As part of our support for the local community, we are focusing on supporting St Mark’s Primary in Whitehawk, which is the most deprived part of Brighton. One of our major projects is to build a Library for the children there. Work is already underway and we hope that this will be ready to open by Christmas. The Prefects responsible for our community fund-raising have lots of brilliant ideas which you will hear about in due course, but a library needs books. Our aspiration is for every girl in the school to nominate and then donate their favourite book from their primary school years. Donating their personal favourite book will be a way for them to contribute personally to this project in the knowledge that they are passing on their own love of reading to younger children.


Women in Science As part of the Liberal Democrat Party conference, which was held in Brighton in September, a group of Sixth Form girls attended a talk entitled ‘Women in Science’, a discussion about how we can encourage more women and girls to pursue careers in STEM areas. One of the speakers was OR, Liberal Democrat MP and spokesperson for Education, Layla Moran (No.4, 1995-2000). They also heard from a representative from WISE (Women Into Science and Engineering). Both speakers were truly inspirational, and a lively question and answer session followed, in which the girls took the opportunity to quiz the panelists about topics such as positive discrimination. Another particularly heartwarming aspect of the evening was hearing Layla speak about her fond memories of her time at Roedean and how excited she was to be reunited with her Chemistry teachers – Mr England and Ms Walker.

Dates for your Diary – 2018-2019 Thursday 22 November 2018 6.30 - 8.30 pm

ORA Informal Drinks and Canapes The Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin Street, London, SW1X 7DR Any ORs interested in joining the ORA Committee are welcome at this event. Those with journalistic and/or media experience would be especially helpful. Please RSVP to Lois Johnson, the ORA Membership Secretary

Friday 23 November 2018 7.30 - 9 pm

Literally Music Gala Concert Roedean Theatre Book online at:

Thursday 6 December 2018 6.30 pm

ORA Christmas Drinks Upstairs Room at The Antelope, 22 Eaton Terrace, London, SW1W 8EZ All ORs are welcome to this popular event. Please RSVP to Lois Johnson, the ORA Membership Secretary

Saturday 8 December 2018 10 - 1 pm

Christmas Fair Roedean School

Wednesday 12 December 2018 11 - 2 pm

Carol Service Roedean Chapel – followed by Lunch. Please RSVP to

Monday 28 January 2019 6 pm

ORA AGM The Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin Street, London, SW1X 7DR Followed by drinks and canapes hosted by the ORA. All ORA members are welcome. Further details nearer the time.

Monday 11 March 2019 6 pm

Governors’ Annual General Meeting The Caledonian Club, 9 Halkin Street, London, SW1X 7DR

Saturday 22 June 2019 10 am - 4 pm

Roedean Day Our annual reunion day

For more information and booking, please contact Grace: You can also call us on 01273 667398

Notices Notice from the school Art Department The school Art Department is currently having a big clear out. Please do get in touch if you have some work at the school and would like to have it back. They will have to dispose of all unclaimed work by the end of January 2019. We will also be in touch directly with anyone whose work has their name on it. The OR Magazine 2018 The Editor, Robyn Crabbe, is working hard on the next issue and would be delighted to hear from ORs with all their news and interesting stories to tell. Please contact her on

Interested in becoming a Trustee for the ORA Scholarship fund? The ORA are looking for an enthusiastic OR to become one of the three Trustees of the ORA Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship Fund was set up 90 years ago originally to help the further education of leavers from Roedean. Since 1981 it has helped to fund a Sixth Form student. We are very keen to increase the funds available to us so that the award can be increased in monetary terms and maybe in the future it could fund more than one student. Although it is not necessary to have a financial background, any experience of fundraising could be very helpful. If you are at all interested and/or would like any further information then please contact the Trustees at 5

OR News

OR Annual London Lunch On Thursday 6 September we held our annual OR London Lunch at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge. This is the second time that the lunch has been held at this venue, and its stunning views across Hyde Park, looking glorious in the autumn sunshine, were enjoyed by all 40 ORs who attended the event. The group represented 4 decades at the school, and there was much conversation and laughter about the differences between the decades at the school, as well as the things that have not changed at all. Roger Sanders, Chair of Council, gave a welcome speech, before introducing the Head of School, Talia Keller, who updated

everyone on the fantastic progress the School has made over the past year. ORA President Ginny Stephen (de Trense, No.3, 1954-60) followed with a few words of welcome and thanks. The speeches were followed by lunch, and the menu was again delicious – with oak smoked salmon or mozzarella salad, followed by either chicken supreme or pea and mint risotto and finished with an orange and passion fruit custard tart. The lunch is always a great opportunity to catch up with OR friends, or to make new ones, and we hope to see many more of you at next year’s lunch.

Class of ’08 10 Year Reunion On Monday 8 October we were delighted to host a reunion for the Class of ’08. The event started with a glass of fizz in the Old Ref, followed by tours of the school from groups of Sixth Formers. There was much laughter, and excitement, in seeing all the changes that have been made to the school since they left, particularly the boarding houses, farm and Keswick. The girls very much enjoyed meeting the ORs and hearing stories about their time at Roedean, and to witness their joy at seeing it all again. Although there have been many changes over the past 10 years, the enthusiasm and excitement of the students remains the same. 6

After the tour, the group came back to the Old Ref to enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea and a catch up with former staff and old friends. Everyone enjoyed the afternoon immensely and we are hoping to make a 10 years on reunion an annual event at the school.

OR News Imogen Davies (No. 2, 2009-15) Imogen has recently started her own alterations and repairs business within Brighton and Hove, alongside studying for her final year of a Bespoke Tailoring degree at University of the Arts London. Pinned offers quick and easy alteration and repairs services (mainly for school uniforms) within the Brighton and Hove area, including a delivery and collection service. Imogen uses an industrial sewing machine, ensuring repairs are hard wearing.

tions orm Altera School Unif & Repairs Alterations

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764437 Call 07595 com pinnedsuss @pinnedsu

Roxana Vilk



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Diana Kay Book Launch (Johnson, No.3, 1945-51) Congratulations to Diana on the publication of her third book, Love, Lies and Lunch, a sparkling collection of witty and entertaining short stories about love, relationships, romance and friendships. Several ORs were delighted to attend the launch event on Sunday 30 September at Tottington Manor, Henfield. The guests enjoyed a light buffet, and had the opportunity to get their books signed by Diana. Love, Lies and Lunch is available to buy through Mereo Books and internet booksellers.

(Pope, No. 4, 1985-89) Congratulations Roxana on being selected as an artist in residence at the Trinity Centre Bristol on the IGNiTE Artists Programme. Roxana is a British-Iranian artist with a background in physical theatre, film and music. Working in post-war situations she explores themes of migration, movement of people and homeland. Through her work teaching English to refugee women at the Malcolm X Centre and attending a drop-in for international parents at her son’s school, she had the idea of using lullabies to bring together communities. During her residency Roxana will collect, record and share lullabies, from the many communities and cultures around Trinity, as a starting point for a new piece of collaborative performance that explores heritage, migration and identity.

You can read more about OR businesses and books on the Roedean Community Network Business Directory (https://community. and Virtual Bookshop (https://community.roedean. To add your own entry, please contact Harriet on

Get in touch If you would like to arrange a visit to Roedean, or would like help to arrange a reunion, please get in touch with Grace on or by calling 01273 667398. 7

Official All-Weather Pitch Opening On Friday 28 September we were delighted to welcome to Roedean the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Dee Simson, and Helen Richardson-Walsh, GB Olympic Champion Hockey player, as well as OR and parent donors, to the official opening of the all-weather pitch. Year 10 started the proceedings by playing a short match on the new pitch, showcasing to everyone present the fantastic new facility. The Headmaster then thanked all of the donors, without whom this project wouldn’t have been possible and talked about the transformation the pitch, Our donors with the Mayor of Brighton and and other developments, will make to the Hove, Chair of Council and the Headmaster girls. He then introduced the Mayor who spoke of her delight in returning to Roedean, where her basis will have a massive impact on their sport, but it will daughter (Charlotte, No. 3) studied from 1997-2002. She also help them approach other situations in school life with then formally unveiled the Pitch Perfect Donor Board, which determination and confidence.’ thanks our donors. The Headmaster then introduced Helen It has been wonderful to see so many girls of all ages loving Richardson-Walsh, who officially opened the pitch by cutting having the all-weather pitch at the heart of the school. the ribbon. We cannot wait to see the incredible impact Giving them the opportunity to learn from the experience having such a facility on site will have on the girls. and talents of Helen and Kate will be the icing on their We are also incredibly proud to announce that both Kate sporting cake! and Helen Richardson-Walsh will be the school’s Sports A formal thank you, and full donor list will be included in the Ambassadors for the next two years, over which time the winter issue due out in January. girls will benefit hugely from their regular visits. GB Hockey players, Kate and Helen won Olympic Gold in Rio 2016. Kate captained the team for 13 years and represented her country 375 times, and Helen has played in the England and Great Britain teams since 1999. As Olympic champions in 2016, they became the first same-sex married couple to win Olympic Gold. They are not only sporting icons, but also exceptional role-models to young women. Director of Sport, Alastair Carter, is delighted with the news: ‘This is huge for Roedean sport. Having such incredible sporting role models working with the girls on a regular


Obituaries Jean Elizabeth Alison Napier (No.3, 1943-49)

Jean was born on the 18 April 1931 in Woolwich into a well-known and well-travelled military and mathematical family. Jean and her two brothers and their mother spent the early war years with relatives in Cumbria. After a spell at a Carlisle school she became a full boarder at Roedean, which by then had been evacuated to Keswick. The mountains of the Lake District were a delight for climbing on sunny days, which Jean enjoyed. On return to Brighton, Jean completed her schooling and went to qualify at St Thomas’ hospital as a physiotherapist. Jean’s natural sympathy for the disadvantaged in life was now manifested in a series of appointments in London, Exeter, Bristol and, most significantly, at the Wilfred Pickles School at Tixover Grange in Lincolnshire. She specialised in the Bobath treatment for

Diana Cooke

Head of Mathematics 1985-94 Diana was Head of Mathematics at Roedean from 1985 until her retirement in 1994. Her own mathematical career began when, at only 17, she went up to Newnham College, Cambridge as one of only 10 women in the entire university to read maths in 1948. A passionate believer in women’s contributions to both maths and science, she was particularly enthralled by the story of Philippa Fawcett, her predecessor at Newnham who, in 1890, was the first woman to achieve the highest score in the maths tripos. Diana inspired students with her own fascination for the subject, and coached many

cerebral palsy. She married at this time but early happiness at the birth of their son turned to anguish on his childhood death from leukaemia. Divorce followed but, with immense Christian faith and help from friends, she recovered to pursue a dedication for the needy, lonely and disabled. Jean moved to Coupar Angus near Blairgowrie, one of Scotland’s most prolific berry growing areas. She organised ceilidhs designed to bring together the town community and the temporary fruit-pickers, a tradition that looks like lasting. Jean passed away on 22 August 2018. Gerald Napier and Judith Rich (Willmore, No.3, 1945-49)

to achieve impressive results and some, such as OR Dr Eugenia Cheng (No.4, 1987-94), to go on to significant mathematical careers. Respected by staff and students alike, she was also an active member of the Brighton community, going on to work at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in retirement and to assist at the Grange Museum in Rottingdean. She is survived by four children and 8 grandchildren.

Celebrations 90th Birthday and Reunion On 10 August 2018, Joy Buhr (Gornall, No. 4, 1943-46) celebrated her 90th birthday on Prince Edward Island, Canada, with 14 members of her family. Amongst them were her cousins from the UK, and fellow Roedean alumnae, Stephanie Chapman (Watson, No. 4, 1952-57) and her sister Miranda Hall (Watson, No. 4, 1955-59). They are all granddaughters of the School, their mothers, Daynel Gornall (Wheatley, No. 4, 1920-24) and Grace Watson (Wheatley, No. 4, 1923-27) also attended Roedean. All three of them very much enjoyed their years at the School under the inspirational care of their House Mistress Mary Midddleton, receiving annual letters from her for the rest of her life. Joy has lived in Canada since 1951 and was delighted to receive from Roedean coloured illustrations of the School and both a key ring and warm letter of congratulations on her 90th birthday. These tributes were included in a magnificent album created to celebrate her birthday. 9

Drawing by Lady Joyce Barton (Wale, No.2, 1913 - 18) Roedean School, Roedean Way, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 5RQ Tel: +44(0)1273 667500 Registered Charity 307063

e-Roedeanian Autumn 2018  
e-Roedeanian Autumn 2018