Kai Maxted, Upper Fifth

I first heard about Bede’s through my friends on the Tennis circuit.

I started playing when I was four. I was on holiday and my parents had bought a set of plastic toy racquets. I remember holding them and… well, that was it. My mum and dad helped me join a local club and whenever I could play, I would.

Back then I went to a normal state school, but as the years went on I heard more about Bede’s and just wanted to come to here. I had never visited and was going off instinct!

When I actually came here I was pretty shocked. It was completely different to my old school with this incredible campus, great sports provision and fantastic teaching. I met my tutor, Mr Mpandawana, who still teaches me and is so nailed on. He understands his students, gives up his free time to help them and knows what you’re capable of. Just from meeting him and seeing the School, I knew.

I was a bit nervous about joining of course, but I needn’t have worried. I’m not saying there was no culture shock, but it was all good stuff. Between the smaller classes, the timetable enabling me to train during the day and the school giving me room to breathe, I could suddenly be myself.

The best thing about joining was that the teaching here is second to none. Mr Oliver in English, for example, is very precise. He gives you individual help and gets the best out of you. He will encourage you to read the text between the lines and gets you thinking.

I also really like being part of a House, and everyone in Dicker is friendly, lively and good fun. Our Housemaster, Mr Abrahams, is a straightforward person too, which I appreciate. He sets his expectations and enables you to rise to the occasion.

All of that aside, Bede’s Director of Tennis is a really nice person, knows a huge amount and makes everything fun.

Of course, when she needs to be serious she can be serious and her coaching approaches are cutting edge. With her help, I have become the 2nd-ranked adult male tennis player in Sussex, the number 1 at U16 and U18 level, and I still haven’t done my GCSEs.

It’s strange to think about it now, because I remember hearing about everything that Bede’s was doing when I wasn’t here.

Now I’m part of that and, although it might sound cheesy, it makes me feel really proud.


Kai achieved straight A*-A grades in his GCSE exams in the Summer of 2016 and is now in the Sixth Form. At present, he is the Number 2 ranked player in Sussex at adult level, despite still being an Under-18.

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