Transforming Education: How Roedean School Headmaster Oliver Blond Is Making a Difference

Based on a coastal clifftop near bustling Brighton, Roedean School educates girls aged 11 to 18 and dedicates itself to making a difference.

Many independent boarding schools, especially all-girls’ schools, have struggled in the current educational market. In contrast, Roedean is not only surviving: The School is thriving, especially thanks to headmaster Oliver Blond.

Here, we’ll look at the milestones Blond has helped Roedean achieve so far, the School’s impressive academic results and future plans, and the headmaster’s holistic approach to education and student well-being.

Headmaster Oliver Blond: “Roedean Has Come a Long Way”

Blond has helped bring Roedean “a long way” in recent years. During a decade under the headmaster’s guidance, the School has seen:

  • An increase in student numbers, with the School now serving 700 students.
  • Improved public exam results, with some of the most successful grades in the School’s history achieved in summer 2022.
  • Substantial investment into developing the School’s facilities.

The School’s upward trajectory may be due to Roedean’s overall approach to a modern, holistic school experience that is about “much more than just work.” Blond describes the School as offering an “all-embracing” education that equally values each girl and her achievements.

Roedean School’s Excellent ISI Report

The Covid-19 pandemic made the last couple of years particularly challenging for the education system, yet Roedean and the School’s students have flourished. In November 2021, the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) found Roedean to be “excellent” in academic achievement and the students’ personal development.

Roedean’s fifth inspection in five years, the success of the 2021 report is remarkable given the School experienced two years of disrupted or remote education due to the pandemic.

Blond notes that the report recognises the extent of the School’s “educational opportunities” and the quality of the provision Roedean offered students throughout “extraordinary times.” He thanks Roedean’s staff and the wider School community for their “outstanding dedication.”

Stellar Exam Results Despite COVID-19 Setbacks

In summer 2022, Roedean’s Year 11 girls achieved top marks in their GCSEs. Of around 1,260 GCSEs taken by over 130 Roedeanians, 85.3% of all grades were grades 7 to 9. 40 girls achieved 7 or more grade 9s, and 10 girls achieved 10 or more 9s.

Blond praised the girls for their exam successes and “remarkable determination, dedication, and resilience” in the face of lockdowns and the switch to virtual learning.

In keeping with the School’s focus on holistic education, Oliver Blond emphasised the students’ co-curricular achievements. He highlighted two Year 11s who completed a cross-Channel relay swim for charity in the middle of their exams as an example of Roedean students’ diverse contributions and well-roundedness.

Ambitious Future Plans for Roedean School’s Facilities

The School already boasts a recently refurbished theatre that seats 350, an all-weather pitch and several floodlit courts, a music technology suite with iMacs, and a farm set within Roedean’s rolling 118 acres.

Roedean has plans to enhance facilities over the coming years, with further investment focused on the creative arts, sports, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths).

The School’s plans include three ambitious projects:

  1. Converting Roedean’s library into a Learning Commons, which the School expects to complete in 2023. The new hub of literature and technology resources will provide extra study spaces for students.
  2. Constructing a new STEM Centre within the current science facility.
  3. Building a new £7 million Performing Arts Centre that will include three spacious studios and classrooms and teaching spaces of varying sizes. Once complete, the Centre will become a hub of drama, music, and dance with close links to the School’s theatre and chapel.

Encouraging Friendships Offline

While mobile phones and social media platforms have become a huge aspect of young people’s lives, Blond is a keen advocate for a more traditional approach to socialising. In 2019, he supported a student-led initiative for a digital detox retreat, where Year 12 and 13 students travelled to the countryside for a week without their mobile phones.

Blond questions young people’s increasing dependence on mobile phones as a way of communicating with friends. He notes that although children can seem connected, they are often isolated.

At Roedean, strong connections with family and friends are paramount for good mental health. Blond highlights the importance of providing an environment that supports students’ mental well-being and suggests that interactions conducted in person allow girls to hone their interpersonal skills and lay the bedrock for strong friendships.

Meet Roedean School Headmaster Oliver Blond.