Longhill Students Shine in Roedean Academy Programme!

Posted in Homepage, News - March 23rd, 2018

Some of our most able students in Year 10 and 11 have been working with the brightest and best of Rodean’s girls to attend masterclasses, team building activities and enrichment sessions at Roedean School. Every Wednesday evening for six weeks, 20 of our girls completed a normal school day at Longhill, often also attending catch up or revision sessions afterschool, then travelled to Roedean for dinner and a further three hours of hard work, new experiences and good fun. The students chose subjects such as Latin, Russian, Literature and History as well as studying masterclasses is English, Maths and Science each week.

The teachers from Roedean were highly impressed by the calibre, commitment and determination of our students. As a result of the girls’ impressive work ethic and academic talents, Roedean will be offering a number of sixth form scholarships to girls who have taken part in the programme. If you are interested in hearing more about such projects or being part of the next cycle of Roedean Academy, please contact Assistant Headteacher, Catherine Bradley who leads on Higher Ability Pupils at Longhill.

Kaia Allen-Bevan was one of the Year 10s who helped develop the concept of the programme in a meeting with Roedean’s Headmaster Mr Blond and Senior Deputy Head, Miss Keller, in November. Here, Kaia gives a flavour of the programme and tells us what the experience of the last six weeks has meant for her as an individual:

“Back in December, I and a group of nine other students from Longhill were invited for a meeting with the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher of Roedean School. When I first heard about the meeting, I was extremely intrigued to what it could offer me and if myself and the other students could benefit from this programme.  In addition, considering the fact that I am now in year 10 and trying desperately to get the grades I desire for my GCSE, while balancing other aspects within my life, I was interested to see if this course would be worth taking on, on top of my already busy lifestyle.  It most certainly was!

The intention was to generate ideas for an upcoming program.  It was Roedean Academy and was aimed towards Longhill’s higher ability students, offering extra courses to help improve our understanding of subjects we are all studying as well as providing a quick insight of subjects that we might consider in our future studies.  We discussed many things within the meeting which could potentially be put forward to the programme: our interests and wishes, how much time we could dedicate to the programme. I found out the responses were very similar between the Year 11 and Year 10 students and myself. Our ideas were listened to and we helped shape and adapt an idea which was shared between many members. The programme felt like it evolved naturally from this meeting into a beautiful and new project. Meeting senior leaders from such a prestigious school personally helped me, because it showed that I can be confident within myself and allowed me to realise that the barriers that I might expect to stop me from achieving things can be broken down; my ideas counted. 

It was in the middle of January when we first arrived at Roedean Academy.  Some students had been there before for other events, but for me, this was my first time. My first thought was, “This is Hogwarts!” because the buildings stood so tall and seemed so ancient, but that created the beauty within it!  The intricate and varied shapes of the building contributed towards the Harry Potter feelings, along with the towers on the edges of the buildings.  The neat garden outside the school was surrounded by vibrant flowers and there was a gold and black clock that was located at the front of building.  It looked like it had been there since the Victorian era but remained beautiful.  Everything about the design of the school I loved; there was not one bit I disliked, in fact, the entire school was mesmerizing and was always pleasing to the eye.

 On the first day, the school kindly provided us with many delicious foods to dig into while we listened to the talks provided by the members of staff at the school.  After that, we went into small groups (A, B, C and D) and the year 11s went to explore mathematics, while myself and the other year 10s went to a science masterclass.  I was immediately surrounded by Bunsen burners, unidentified solutions and powders and other elaborate equipment.  Our jobs were to find the certain name awarded to the powders by conducting varied experiments and recording the characteristics of the powders from these experiments.  The session was fantastic.  After this, we went into our smaller groups and explored our elected subject specialism.  I had chosen English.  It was fun looking at English outside the expected curriculum.  We studied King Lear (an A level text!) alongside the most able pupils at Roedean.  It helped us see different opinions on the same subject area.  I was able to transfer these ideas to my study of Macbeth back at Longhill for GCSE English. 

On week 3, as well as being surprised by more delicious brownies, I witnessed one of the most jaw-dropping and sublime fireworks displays.  The colours were so vibrant and coordinated so well with each other, there was no point where I felt disappointed with the show.  The sparks of the fireworks seemed like the fusion of our ideas shared during the lessons on the programme. 

The beauty continued through to week 6 – our last week – when we were invited to spend the day at Roedean celebrating “International Woman’s Day”.  To me, days like these are important not only because they interest me at the time, but because they take everyone outside of the reality of the day-to-day world to show them the inspirational life works of individuals.  It was delightful to see how these inspirational women have impacted upon the world we live in today and how we can do the same too, no matter our age, gender, race or any other boundaries which might exist in our society.  It has definitely changed my attitude towards what I can accomplish if I am determined to put in the hard work to earn it.

 On that evening, all the schools sat together while we listened to some talks about sixth form scholarships which are offered at Roedean.  We also had a great session with the Headteacher exploring the notion of ‘scholarship’ and ‘study’ and some glorious psychology exercises that got us all debating.  Hearing a student from Longhill, Kyra Peacock, speaking in Latin in front of teachers and students from the academy in the beautiful setting of the Old Library was amazing.  Kyra has learnt Latin as an elected subject during the 6 week course and there she was performing it to students and staff from a school where all students study it.  It was super to come together for this finale and to hear from all the students that share how they had enjoyed the programme as much as I did and that they’d all consider doing the course again if it was offered – I’m sure I would!

 I’ve taken many things from the course.  First, that anything can be accomplished if you just try, which was represented radiantly by Kyra’s Latin recital after only learning Latin for 6 hours.  Secondly, that we as students, even if we may not know it, are important within our society and our local community.  We make a huge impact upon many decisions made within our school, but also we are the growing generation and that we are in control of what can happen within our future.  Thirdly, no matter who you are, you can be confident. Y ou need to block out the fears in your life which are preventing you from fulfilling your potential.  I feel this was reinforced within the “Woman’s International Day”, as all of these inspiring figures, knowing the discrimination they may face, still pursued their dreams and were proud of what they had accomplished. Personally, I feel I’ve grown to become more optimistic within myself thanks to the course, staff and students, which will help prepare me for future success. 

I have taken this new-found confidence back to Longhill.  Never has the new motto been more true: Aspiration, Determination, Success!

 Thank you to Ms Bradley, Ms Holland, Mrs Darwish and Ms Wilson for supporting the programme. We hope that we will be able to invite the Roedean Academy to join us at Longhill in the future.  I highly recommend the programme to students who want to stretch themselves beyond the day-to-day study of the school day and see where their efforts can take them!”

Kaia Allen-Bevan