I started my time at Bradfield in Faulkner’s. I did not know anyone when I joined as I was the only person from my Prep School to have come to Bradfield and I had never boarded before. To say I was nervous would be a huge understatement. I found boarding really difficult at first, I think because I had come from such a tiny school to what felt like an enormous place. It is quite funny now for me to think of Bradfield as such a huge place because as I have grown up, it seems to have shrunk to fit me.

The College may have shrunk to fit me, but the opportunities it is giving me continue to expand.

My first year was spent running around the College to different activities and the busy schedule that Faulkner’s creates for you was one of the things that helped me to find my feet. I got involved in school productions, musical concerts, art shows, shooting teams, mixed touch rugby, hockey and cricket among other things and it was this barrage of activities that took my mind off homesickness and allowed me to start to love school. Despite forging strong friendships in Faulkner’s, and being in a little bubble which helped us to adjust to senior school life, I have to say it was when I joined my senior House that I think my Bradfield experience really took off.

 

I HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY CHALLENGED AND PUSHED TO ACHIEVE THE BEST OF MY ABILITIES.

 

Stevens House has really become a home away from home for me. It feels so familiar and comfortable and that environment has been created by both my Housemistress and Matron and, perhaps most importantly, by the girls in the House too. This is applicable for all of the Houses across the College; each has its own personality created by its inhabitants, each has the same supportive atmosphere with the same dedicated team of Housemasters/mistresses and tutors and the same highly competitive approach to inter-house events. We are all encouraged to do our best in whatever we do from the academic to the co-curricular.

I joined Bradfield as a Stevens Academic Scholar and have never been allowed to rest on any academic laurels. I have been consistently challenged and pushed to achieve to the best of my abilities without exception and the amazing events and trips that the school provides as part of the academic enrichment programme have been fantastic.

 

YOU REALLY CAN FOLLOW YOUR INTERESTS WHEREVER THEY TAKE YOU.

 

The range of enhanced curriculum activities that one can get involved in here is astonishing. My interests have taken me towards Arts and Humanities and by way of example I have been able to be the Design Editor of the Scholars’ Magazine, Pupil, which we have produced two professionally printed editions of so far. To showcase the variety, my sister, who is also a pupil here and is determined to be an aeronautical engineer, has been able to track and report on the wildlife around Bradfield using night vision cameras and visited a company making artificial diamonds. You really can follow your interests wherever they take you.

One of the first classroom experiences I can remember at Bradfield I think will stick with me for life because, while it was exciting, it was also one of the most scary experiences the College has provided me with. I’ll set the scene. A class of young Faulkner’s pupils are beginning a new topic of conformity in the context of Nazi Germany. We were enjoying what was by all accounts a normal Divisions lesson, confident that each one of us would have spoken up against Hitler. Then without warning, Dr Stevens the Headmaster strode into the classroom and proceeded to hurl abuse at our History teacher for being late for lessons, not teaching properly and being disrespectful. We sat in absolute silence and disbelief. It was only once the Headmaster had left and then come back in to explain that the whole experience was a social experiment that we had all failed spectacularly that we exhaled. Instead of standing up for our History teacher and explaining that he had not been skipping lessons, we had allowed the whole hing to unfold. We had not spoken truth to power. The experience could not have explained the topic better and shows just how far the College is prepared to go to help its pupils.

 

THE POWER OF PUPIL VOICE HERE IS SO PREVALENT.

 

Looking onwards to the Sixth Form, this encouragement and support has only increased. The power of pupil voice here is so prevalent, not only in terms of demanding equality in applying the rules of the school, but also in pupil-led initiatives. I am lucky to be a part of a team of pupils who participate in the EdClub Movement, an initiative that strives to educate and provide opportunities to the children of the Huruma Slum in Nairobi. We spend an hour each week with the children face to face over Skype and we teach them Maths, English, Geography and Literacy. Off the back of this initiative, a group of my friends and I decided we wanted to build a library for the children and we were fully backed and supported by the College to complete the project successfully.

If you are looking to attend Bradfield, or have recently started pupil life here, really consider what this place has to offer to you. I only have half a year left here but I am trying to make the most of every bit of it. The College may have shrunk to fit me, but the opportunities it is giving me continue to expand. Without sounding cheesy, I really do love it here.

Co-educational Independent School of the Year

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