Brighton girls’ school welcomes boys for the first time in 135 years

Roedean School will open its doors to male students for the first time since it opened in the 19th Century.

Pupils from schools across the city are taking part in the Roedean Academy programme
Pupils from schools across the city are taking part in the Roedean Academy programme

The pupils will attend the school on Wednesday evenings to take part in the Roedean Academy programme which invites Year 10 students from across the city to participate in extra-curricular lessons; from genetic engineering, to cryptology, and the psychology of crime.

Every week, 14 boys and 39 girls from local secondary schools will study a range of interesting social and STEM subjects.

Headteacher Oliver Blond said: “We have been running the Roedean Academy for quite a few years now and we just saw no reason why boys from the city couldn’t start enjoying the classes too.

“They are tackling subjects that stretch and challenge them and go beyond what’s on the curriculum and what they need to know to pass GCSEs.

“It’s learning just for the love of it – something Roedean has done throughout its history – and we have seen children absolutely loving it.”

The school was founded in 1885 to prepare girls for the newly-opened women’s colleges at Cambridge, Girton and Newnham.

However, a small issue dawned on the headteacher following an innocent question from one of the visiting students.

“When I was giving a welcome talk, one boy raised his hand to ask where the toilets were and it only then occurred to us that there were no boys’ toilets in the school at all.” he said.

Thankfully, visiting male students have been allowed to use the staff toilets during their time at the school.

Stanley Bradley-Scott, from Dorothy Stringer School, said: “I think that Roedean’s academy is incredible – there is a massive range of modules, so you can be super-sciency or you can be the complete opposite.

“My friends are curious to see what it’s actually like – we drive past here a lot and see this incredible building, but we never knew much about what was going on.”

Roedean pupil Lola Clarke loves the co-ed classes, she said: “It’s great to participate in discussions with people who are bringing in new ideas and new perspectives.

“I think that Old Roedeanians would be really proud that we are able to have this experience of working with boys sometimes.”

Kumi Kemp from Longhill School said: “I thought Roedean would be a bit uptight with everyone following the rules exactly, but it’s completely different – everyone’s really friendly.

“It’s got opportunities for everyone, no matter what you want to do.”