Rosa is in the Lower Fifth and a Day Pupil in Charleston House. She is an Art and Drama Scholar studying a variety of arts, performing arts and academic subjects at GCSE.

My school day starts with a one-hour drive from home – the travel is quite a commitment (especially with some Drama productions finishing in the evening), but it’s worth it. When I get to Bede’s, I head to House for a quick catch up with friends and my tutor, Dr Lewis, before heading to my first lesson. It’s great having a tutor; Dr Lewis is always there when I need her, and we have one hour of tutor time once a week for a more in-depth chat. You stay with the same tutor throughout your time at Bede’s, so you build a good connection and feel comfortable talking about all sorts of things, academic or otherwise. The jump in workload from First Year to Fifth Form is quite a big one, as the run up to GCSEs requires an exam mindset right from the beginning of Lower Fifth; however, there is so much support here that it’s not overwhelming.

My schedule is very balanced, with a 50/50 ratio of art and academic subjects. My first lesson is in the Art Rooms with Mr Turner. We are working on our final GCSE pieces – mine is a mixed-media piece – and I am practicing painting techniques today. Art is a fantastic subject; the teachers here give you a lot of room to be creative and express yourself in your work. My mum is an artist, so I was introduced to the subject from an early age, and the art provision at Bede’s is one of the main reasons I chose to come here after leaving Dulwich Prep. I remember trying my hand at Ceramics and processing black-and-white film in the dark room during my Art Introduction Day in Year 8 and being blown away by the options and facilities here. The quality of artwork produced is outstanding.

After Art, I head to the Science labs for Biology with Mr Corbishley, where we revise cell functions and diseases for Paper 1. Then, after a catch up with some friends at Break, I have an English lesson with Mr Vaux. We are currently working on our Higher Project Qualification, a research project worth half a GCSE, and I also get some helpful feedback on my ‘An Inspector Calls’ essay. I’m dyslexic, so coming to Bede’s and having additional support has been really helped me to grow and learn the best way for me to learn (for example, I use green paper to be able to read text and see images more clearly). I used to struggle with reading and writing, so am delighted to be working at Level 9 in English and Triple Science and very grateful to the teachers for their support.

The last lesson of the day is Performing Arts with Mrs Murphy, which covers Drama and Dance.

I got into Drama at my previous school, and have been in every production since I started at Bede’s. My favourite play so far has been this year’s Junior Production, Noughts and Crosses. I played a main character (Meggie) for the first time; it was a big step, but I was so excited and loved every moment of rehearsals and performing. Productions require a lot of rehearsal time, including weekends, but I can honestly say that it is a joy, not a chore.

Another favourite was Oliver, which we performed at the Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne last year, and with all of the staging, lighting, props and costumes, it looked so professional and beyond anything that a school usually produces. The next production is Cabaret in December, which will be a lot of fun.

It’s Thursday today, so after a delicious lunch we have Activities. I do Art Scholars activity on Monday, and when there are productions on we tend to have rehearsals during activity time, but today I have Downland Walking across the South Downs. This is a great way to get some exercise in the fresh air and take a break from schoolwork. I also have a very interesting chat with some friends and teachers along the way!

Alongside studies, activities and drama productions, I am also on the Environmental Committee. I became aware of environmental issues by watching David Attenborough documentaries and studying the impact of microplastics being passed through the food chain in Biology. In only 10 years’ time the damage impacted on the environment will be irreversible, and it is our job to change it – which is why it’s so important to raise awareness of the issue in schools. Change starts with us, and together we can take positive steps for the future.

In the Environmental Committee we are focusing on making a lot of proactive changes, such as taking part in beach and park cleans, promoting the use of water bottles over single-use plastic, and organising talks and workshops. It’s fantastic that Bede’s allows pupils to have a voice; we are listened to and can make genuine change happen, which is unique in a school setting.

After an exciting day, I get picked up by my parents at 5pm and head home to complete some prep, before enjoying some rest and relaxation with my family ready for another busy and creative day tomorrow.

Interviewed in the Summer 2019