Roedean is committed to a number of strategic initiatives that place the school at the forefront of academic excellence. We are determined to create new horizons and exciting challenges for both pupils and staff members that will equip them to lead lives of significance.
Part of our strategic plan is to develop key partnerships with other communities to build the skills of future generations of young leaders and to link our curriculum with both national and international imperatives of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics). Robotics and coding are taught at critical points in the curriculum. While they prepare pupils for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, they also assist in developing problem-solving skills and provide the opportunity for having fun while learning.
Part of the Lower V and Middle V (Grades 8 and 9) Academic Curriculum has been re-designed into modules to reduce academic stress and an overwhelming number of subjects. It has also allowed for the introduction of our innovative new module on Ethical Thinking; a decision taken in the interests of protecting the mental and emotional well-being of our pupils.
In 2022, an exciting and innovative selection of elective modules will be introduced to allow for more flexible subject choice and for venturing into areas previously not explored at this level.
The high number of students enrolling voluntarily for Advanced Programme Mathematics indicates that Roedean students feel positive and confident about their ability to do, and to enjoy, Mathematics, a field often seen as being male-dominated.
The students are taught both optional modules: Statistics and Probability, and Financial Mathematics and Modelling, thus exposing them to a wide variety of Mathematical topics and equipping them with the necessary skills to cope with any first-year mathematical course at any university in the world. Our Matriculation results place Roedean amongst the top mathematically achieving schools in the country and our past pupils report that they cope well with Mathematics at universities both in South Africa and abroad.
In 2009, Roedean initiated a strategic programme that prepares its pupils to lead ‘lives of significance’ in a world of exponential change. The explicit teaching of thinking skills is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal to empower our pupils to act as free and responsible citizens in the increasingly uncertain, complex world into which they are heading.
Roedean implemented a Whole School (Grades 0-12) Cognitive Education Programme in 2011 and, in February 2020, Roedean School (SA) achieved whole school Advanced Accreditation as a Thinking School through the University of Exeter (UK); the first school in South Africa to have achieved this distinction. The whole school approach to build an effective learning community by using a common language of thinking was imperative. The journey continues. The staff, pupils and the Drive Teams worked well together to comply with all the criteria for Level 1 accreditation. The five key areas for accreditation for Level 2 as an Advanced Thinking School are: Dissemination of Practice; Evaluative Research; Professional Development; Differentiation; and Whole School Assessment practices.
Great emphasis is placed on developing a Growth Mindset which empowers pupils to embrace change and to tackle challenges, understanding that failure may need to be faced before finally reaching success. It encourages resilience and leads to increased adaptability quotient (AQ), preparing pupils for the world of exponential change that they are entering.
For more information on Roedean’s Thinking Skills programme please click here.
As part of the new modular structure, Roedean has introduced a course in Ethical Thinking for the Middle V (Grade 9) year. The course draws strongly on resources developed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common Project. Its stated goal is to contribute to “a world in which children learn to care about others and the common good, treat people well day to day, come to understand and seek fairness and justice, and do what is right, even at times at a cost to themselves … young people with these capacities will become community members and citizens who can strengthen our democracy, mend the fractures that divide us, and create a more caring, just world.”
The course is comprised of two modules. The first module is dedicated to understanding and engaging with the school values of Truth, Honour, Freedom and Courtesy, while the second module is devoted to engaging with applied ethical dilemmas.
Feedback from pupils has been extremely positive and we are proud to be offering this course to prepare our pupils for a world filled with moral dilemmas.
The Cognitive Education Programme, Social Responsibility, the Round Square ideals, Think Equal and the Diversity and Social Justice Curriculum, as outlined above, are firmly embedded in teaching and learning in the Junior School and complement the curriculum.
In addition, the Junior School curriculum is supported by a number of transformative local and global strategic initiatives and programmes. Click to view
Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar, used from Grade 0 – Form II (Grade 4), teaches children to read and write, starting with synthetic phonics, a multi-sensory approach to teaching literacy. Pupils gently, but quickly, acquire the literacy skills to break the code that will enable them to read fluently and produce independent pieces of work by the end of the Foundation Phase.
Reading Eggspress: This is an online reading programme used from Form II – Lower IV (Grades 4 – 6). It offers a vast range of interactive reading activities, online children’s books, and literacy games to encourage our pupils’ reading.
The Pearson Abacus Scheme promotes a clear, positive attitude towards mathematics and uses practical material to reinforce concepts.
Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE): This interdisciplinary field brings together the latest research from cognitive neuroscience, psychology and pedagogy, with a dedicated focus on evidence-informed teaching and learning practices. Pupils learn about the mechanics of the brain in order to better influence themselves emotionally and discover how to study and learn more effectively. MBE concepts and research will also filter into the teaching practice, backing the curriculum design with more researched-based implementation of a hybrid curriculum.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Mindfulness training helps our pupils to understand that difficult situations may be unavoidable and gives them strategies to work through their feelings, calmly and without judgement. Mindfulness has a positive impact on reducing stress, strengthening focus and attention span, and supporting social and emotional growth. It also helps with problem solving and assists the pupils in making better choices in the moment.
Conscious Discipline Philosophy: Designed by Dr Becky Bailey, this social-emotional development programme teaches self-control and regulation. It begins by teaching the educator before teaching the children to help them understand and manage emotional triggers. The programme is being piloted in Form III (Grade 5) and Lower IV (Grade 6) as part of the Junior School Pastoral Care curriculum.
Steerglobal AS Tracking Tool: This is a mental health tracking programme that is used extensively in other countries; it allows us to monitor the mental well-being of our pupils, to identify pupils who are at emotional risk, and to intervene and provide the necessary support as early as possible.
The CyberSharp Digital Citizenship Curriculum has been implemented in the Junior School, from Grade 0 to Upper IV (Grade 7). Our aim is to develop smart digital citizens who can thrive in an exciting new digital world and who are empowered to confront inappropriate online behaviour with regard to social media, cyber bullying, trolling and cyber-crime.