Roedean School

Roedean, the independent girls' school in Brighton, is often name-checked as the quintessential English boarding school.

Roedean, the independent girls’ school in Brighton, is often name-checked as the quintessential English boarding school.

 In fact, our location, facing straight on to the English Channel, has long influenced a culturally inclusive perspective. Our 375 girls speak 19 languages between them and our staff have worked in countries as diverse as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.

 ‘Prospective parents share our belief that cross-cultural awareness and the ability to work alongside those from different backgrounds will become an imperative,’ says Head of Languages Angela Fafalios.

‘We regularly run language audits to identify the linguistic profile of our students so we can match them to academic success’.

‘Our approach to Modern Foreign Languages is cross-curricular. We match our teaching and extension work as closely as possible to our girls’ various interests and backgrounds.’

‘For example, the Year 9s have just worked on an Art and French project focusing on the artist Séraphine and we have run schemes across Geography and French focusing on the theme of environment.’

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Roedean offers optional ab initio groups in Italian, French and Mandarin for the sixth form and a policy of early entry examination in French, German and Spanish for bilingual pupils. Girls with other mother tongues – Russian, Farsi, Arabic and Dutch, for example - are actively encouraged to sit exams in that language.

Meanwhile, the four native speaker Language Assistants on staff (from Paraguay, Québec, France and Germany) deliver a diverse and vibrant enrichment programme.

In the last few weeks, the girls have been to see Argentinean dance company Tango Fire in London, watched the award-winning Chilean film No and headed off on the French château trip to Normandy.

There is a regular French cafe open to the whole school, the German exchange (which recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary) is open to pupils not necessarily studying German and Chinese New Year and associated cultural and culinary activities includes everyone on site.

Meanwhile, our British students will find themselves competing against a bigger pool of talent to carve out a satisfying future in an ever more global workforce.

David Grabbol, author of English Next, says, ‘The competitive advantage of English is ebbing away as English becomes a near universal basic skill...monolingual English speakers face a bleak economic future.’

 Among our girls, as an example, we have a London sixth former learning Business Mandarin and one of last year’s leavers worked for the French Olympic team at London 2012.

Naturally, with our girls’ global career ambitions, university is a given. We are starting to see interest in highly competitive niche degrees such as French Law and English Law (two years at Kings College London followed by two at the Sorbonne) and Liberal Arts (UCL).

With our alumnae scattered around the world, the school has a high-calibre network of girls with cultural and linguistic expertise; the best advocates of Roedean’s international approach. 

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