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Round Square


Roedean is a Member of the Global Round Square Network

Roedean is a proud member of the Global Round Square worldwide network that consist of innovative schools in 40 countries across five continents.

Kurt Hahn believed that it was crucial for young people to prepare for life by having them face it directly and experience it in ways that would demand courage, generosity, imagination, principle and resolution. So he established the pillars of Round Square – the IDEALS:

  • An International understanding and tolerance of others
  • Democratic governance and justice
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Self-discovery through Adventure
  • Leadership
  • Service to others

Round Square continues to grow and we are proud of the progress that we are making. Roedean’s Exchange Programme was particularly successful in 2015 with a number of incoming and outgoing exchanges. The success of these has resulted in an increased subscription to the 2016 Exchange Programme, with new schools and new adventures just waiting to happen!

In addition, in 2014 Roedean launched Round Square talks and Barazas. Round Square talks are linked to the IDEALS and Roedean’s values, as well as current issues within our community (local and/or global). This is followed by a Baraza, a discussion forum based along vertical lines, in which the girls each have equal voice. They are encouraged to form opinions about the information related in the talk, and to share those opinions in a “safe” not judgmental environment.

At the Round Square International Conference hosted by the King’s Academy, the Round Square Board confirmed Roedean School (SA)’s application for global membership. This followed unanimous support for our nomination as a global member school at the Africa Regional AGM. Global membership will extend our opportunities within the Round Square Family, including, but not limited to, Round Square International Conferences and Round Square International Service Projects.

If you’d like to know more about Round Square, or Round Square activities, at Roedean School (SA), please feel free to get hold of the Round Square Representative, Mrs Sandy Murray, or the Assistant Round Square Representative, Ms Tamara Nel.

What is Round Square ?

Round Square is a world-wide association of more than 80 schools on five continents sharing unique and ambitious goals. Students attending Round Square schools make a strong commitment, beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility. This is achieved by participating in community service, work projects, exchange programmes and adventuring, which can, and often does, take students half way around the world.

Round Square is based on the theories of experiential educational philosopher Kurt Hahn. Dr. Hahn, one of the twentieth century’s foremost revolutionaries in education, believed that schools should have a greater purpose beyond preparing students for college and university.

He believed that it was crucial for young people to prepare for life by having them face it directly and experience it in ways that would demand courage, generosity, imagination, principle and resolution. Round Square is an organization embodying this educational revolution.

Dr. Hahn has led to the creation of many outstanding schools, as well as Outward Bound, the United World Colleges and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award., (and its follow-up the “International Award”). As the number of Round Square schools continues to grow and the co-operation among these organizations increases, Hahn’s philosophy is making a solid and creative impact on the lives of thousands of students.

All member schools share a strong underlying belief: this is the view of learning by doing. It is an ongoing process of self-confrontation and formation, involving a fundamental objective of the full and individual development of every student into a whole person…academically, physically, culturally and spiritually, within the supportive environment of a school community.

This underlying belief also embraces the importance of service to others, adventure and leadership training, responsibility and international understanding. All these are essential in preparing young people to meet the challenges of the future with confidence and compassion.

Round Square is a Registered Charity in the United Kingdom

Registered Charity Number : 327117

Service Projects

Rachel Germond, Aimee Shelver and Motla Ramasia were our first ambassadors to attend a Round Square International Service Project.

Rachel reflects:

The 2016 Peru RSIS (Round Square International Service) project was based in a small Peruvian village in the Andes called Kannachimpa. We were a group of international students and our task was to assist in building the kindergarten. While we were in the village, we were split into groups and assigned host families. None of the families spoke English: only Spanish or Quechua. This for me was one of the greatest challenges owing to the fact that I could speak neither one of these languages. I was fascinated by the villagers’ way of life. They had such amazing stories to share and I couldn’t communicate with them to the extent that I would have liked. This, however, did not stop me from forming a unique bond with my host family, who taught me and my group so much about their culture and way of life, showing us how to sow corn, plough, and cook traditional food (which was delicious).

We were also able to help with feeding the guinea pigs in the mornings. These animals are a sign of wealth, a source of income, are used in traditional healing and also happen to be a delicacy in Andean culture. It was challenging being served what we would consider a house hold pet for supper but despite that it really enriched our experience. The time spent on the project site was physically demanding and occasionally very challenging. As a group we had to work together and support each other in building activities we were unaccustomed to such as passing mud bricks and carrying rafters. As a result, we learnt to trust each other and became incredibly close very quickly.

We spent an afternoon at the Appulaya Music Centre, where we learnt about Andean music, art, and how to play the pan flute. We climbed the Sacred Valley Via Ferrata which was composed of staples in a cliff face and 7 zip lines, which, while incredibly nerve racking, was unbelievably fun. We also had the privilege of visiting Machu Picchu, which was extraordinary in terms of its rich history, insight into Incan traditions, architecture and gorgeous surrounds.

I was inspired to go on this trip because it speaks to who I am. I love adventure, working with people and learning about different cultures. I wasn’t pushed out of my out of my comfort zone in terms of the conditions we were staying in but because of the international travel across time zones, being so far away from home on my own in a country where I am unable to speak the language. I relished the opportunity of taking on new challenges and I was not disappointed.

This trip taught me so much, boosting my confidence and changing how I view the world and who I want to be in it. It allowed me to form International friendships and experience a different existence. It was a truly life changing experience and one that I hope many Roedeanians will enjoy in the future.

International Conference: Singapore 2-8 Oct 2016

(L – R) Mrs M Williams, Rachel Swart, Nadine Netshidzivhani, Jemma Williams, Yashna Bhutt, Zahra Abba Omar, Mrs S Murray and Khaya Mxenge accepted our Global Round Square membership from King Constantine of Greece, patron of Round Square.

Zahra reflects on the conference:

The Round Square International Conference of 2015 was hosted by United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA) in Singapore. The College, which was founded on the principles of Kurt Hahn, is a vibrant environment with a diverse student body – more than 70 nationalities are represented at the school!

The Roedean delegation met at O.R. Tambo on September 28th brimming with excitement. Months of anticipation and conference preparation workshops and the frantic arrangement of the necessary documents for our passage culminated in a ten-hour flight. We spent our first three days in Singapore exploring the city-state and acclimatizing to the agonizing time difference. We journeyed to the world-famous Singapore Zoo, the home of two Giant Pandas; a species on the brink of extinction. We surveyed the exhibitions at the ArtScience Museum and explored the magnificent architectural feat of Gardens by the Bay.

The conference began on October 2nd , and it proved to be a whirlwind six days around the conference’s theme of “Act today, change tomorrow” of engaging discussion, fascinating speakers, and bonding with people from all over the world. The conference approached sustainability in an unexpected, multi-faceted way. Sustainability does not merely relate to the preservation of the environment, but it must balance that focus with the economic and social spheres; a notion reiterated throughout the conference.

We were privileged to attend the addresses of several phenomenal speakers during the conference. Our first keynote address was by Tim Jarvis, the celebrated explorer who retraced Ernest Shackleton’s journey across Antarctica. Tim Jarvis used the same rudimentary equipment. Jarvis’ work highlights the necessity of formidable leadership within environmentalism. Our second keynote address was from Kavita Ramdas, current representative for the Ford Foundation and former President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women. She spoke passionately about how impossible dreams start in small places within the world of activism. The final keynote address was delivered Nidhi Kapur, who has worked for a number of international organizations in conflict and post-conflict zones. She discussed the bridging of our beliefs and our actions, a notion that perfectly tied the conference to a close.

The theme of sustainability was also explored in our Baraza groups, which were more like workshops on this conference. Our Baraza leaders taught us about systems thinking and how it can be used to create and implement sustainable solutions. We learnt fascinating thinking tools that are used in scenario planning and public policy, and we hope to share what we’ve learnt with Roedean. The idea of sustainability within service was also investigated on our service day of conference when we worked with UWCSEA’s myriad of social responsibility partners to learn about the work they did. A very hands-on exploration of sustainability in practice took place on our Discover Singapore Day, when we toured Singapore using only public transport.

I believe that attending this conference prompted personal growth in each one of the six of us. For me it certainly expanded the scope with which I view sustainability and learning about systems thinking transformed my approach to solving problems. It shook up some deeply-rooted personal beliefs of mine and fortified others. This conference also showed me the importance of idealism when tackling our global challenges. We all loved meeting students from around the world and forged meaningful bonds with many of them. Furthermore, I was blessed to be a part of a dynamic Roedean delegation and I am thankful for the chance to bond with them on this trip. I encourage all Roedean girls who are looking to have their lives changed to apply for regional and international conferences in the coming years.

On behalf of my delegation I would like to extend gratitude to Ms. Nel for facilitating conference workshops, to our parents for their support and patience, and to Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Murray for accompanying us on our unforgettable journey.

2016 Exchange Programme

Returning exchange students.

Andrea Jury reflects on her exchange to Australia.

I wanted to go on exchange because I have been at Roedean for my entire school career and was curious to experience a different learning environment. I also hoped to learn more about another country from a local perspective and make lots of friends. My time at Ballarat Grammar School in Victoria, Australia, gave me the opportunity to do all of these things. I was lucky enough to be a boarder during my stay and felt at home almost immediately. There is a great sense of community within the house and the girls are given a lot of freedom and independence. Most afternoons were spent playing sport, going for runs around Lake Wendouree down the road or browsing the nearby shops.

I was also able to try new subjects such as Printmaking and Sport Science, represent the Senior girls’ hockey team and participate in the Inter house chorals event. All of these activities were extremely worthwhile and gave me the chance to experience many things that form part of life at Grammar. As a member of Round Square, the school hosts more than 30 exchange students every year and I was fortunate enough to make friends from France, USA, Canada, Jordan and Japan.

For the last week of my exchange, I did work experience at Yarrawonga College in my exchange sister’s hometown. I spent most of my time with the Grade 0 classes and enjoyed teaching them more about South Africa and helping them with various class activities. It was also interesting to see how another school operates in contrast to both Roedean and Ballarat Grammar.

My host family, the Henwoods were extremely welcoming and kindly went out of their way to make sure I experienced as much of their beautiful country and its culture as possible. From admiring the Sydney Opera House, and going to footy matches in Melbourne, to visiting a replica mining town in Ballarat, and exploring the small town of Yarrawonga alongside the breathtaking Lake Mulwala, I don’t think I could possibly have got a more all-rounded perspective of Australia as a whole. I would like to thank my parents, Mrs Williams, and Mrs Murray for giving me the opportunity to go on exchange- it was the experience of a lifetime and I will cherish the memories forever!

Ella Dougherty and Cate Mitchel reflect on their exchange in India.

Our exchange to India was an incredible eye-opening experience. Before leaving South Africa, we were both over the moon about going to one of the most exotic countries in the world – and India did not let us down. There was never a dull moment: it was a sensory feast of sights and sounds, as we visited some of the most beautiful places and monuments on Earth. We saw the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Amber Fort Jaipur, Qutr Minar in Dehli and the Victoria memorial in Kolkata, to name a few.

While we sometimes found India overwhelming, we were lucky enough to experience a completely different culture which has greatly widened and changed our perspectives. For both of us, the world is suddenly a larger and more exciting place then we ever could have imagined.

Going to the Vidya Devi Jindal School in Hissar was an unforgettable experience. We attended interesting new classes such as psychology and political science. We also enjoyed the strong emphasis on arts and culture – the Indian singing and dancing was different from anything we had seen at home. We ate hundreds of delicious mangoes and wonderful Indian dishes. We both enjoyed boarding immensely, although we both found it a challenge not having the time alone that we are used to in South Africa. We participated in the Jindal Art Festival, an annual high light at VDJS, and surprised ourselves by trying new art skills and learning from all the very talented delegates.

We went through both difficult and very rewarding experiences that we have grown from and that we will remember and cherish for the rest of our lives. We are very grateful to Mrs Murray, Mrs Williams and our parents for making this unforgettable adventure possible.

Thank you also to our partners, Bhawana and Aanchal and their very generous families as well as to Mrs Malik who took such great care of us at VDJS.

Incoming exchange students.

Ella Dougherty (left) and Cate Mitchel (far right) host Bhawana Dahiya (centre left) and Aanchal Jain (centre right) from Vidya Devi Jindal School, India.

Round Square exchanges: Exchange news.

Danielle Henwood from Ballarat, Australia, reflects on a most successful exchange with her host sister, Andrea Jury:
I wanted to come on exchange because I had never been overseas before and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to immerse myself in a completely different culture from that which I am normally accustomed to, and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
At Roedean I’ve enjoyed so many things, from being a part of the tennis team, the UV camp to Babanango, participating in Community Service, to taking subjects I normally wouldn’t take. Also listening to all the Aussie-accent impersonations was quite interesting, but there are quite a few people I reckon have got the hang of it now!
What I’ve learned from being at Roedean is to be grateful for the time my school back in Australia starts at. I thought starting school at 9 was early, little did I know, I would be expecting a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call every morning when I came here. I also remember, on my first day, sitting in on a period of Afrikaans for the first time. Now that was an interesting experience! I’m sure it would have been good if I could have just understood one word of what Mrs Le Roux was saying! Since then, though I’ve come far in my knowledge of the Afrikaans vocabulary, I can safely say that my time here has been pretty lekker.
South Africa overall has been absolutely amazing, and I’m so lucky to have gone to all the places I’ve been to. From Cape Town, to Durban, to a game reserve, I really have seen it all, and am grateful to my host family for giving me all the wonderful opportunities to explore this country. So, thank you so much to the Jury Family: Nicola, Brett and Michael, you have been so accommodating and I really have started to feel as if I’m at home. Thanks, Andrea, for being a great host sister, and I can’t wait for you to come to Australia soon!
Of course I have to thank the UV’s a well. Every single one of you has contributed to making my time here an experience to remember. Your friendliness is something I will cherish and I will miss you all so much when I leave! I’d also like to thank Sarah Martinson, because you were a familiar face around the school. When I first arrived, you answered any questions I had, so thank you for that!
I would also like to thank Mr Hanlon, the Ex-change coordinator at Ballarat Grammar, and everyone else who assisted me back home, such as my parents and my trusty travel-agent. I would also like to thank all the teachers at Roedean, as you have all helped so much, and I’m entirely grateful for that. Special thanks to Mrs Murray for all your help with getting me here. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you to Mrs Williams for giving me the opportunity to come to Roedean. Thank you, Roedean as a whole, for making my experience such a memorable one.

Andrea Jury (l) with her exchange sister Danielle Henwood.

Nathalie Franke from Salem reflects on her exchange with her host sister Kirsten Boyce.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
After the choice had been made that my exchange was going to take place in South Africa, I began to occupy myself more intensivly with the country. The first search results such as: “What did South Africa use before Candles? -Electricity.” ,follwed by satirical news about politics and finacials could not exactly be called calming.
My initial motivation to go on exchange was to gain experiences, as much diversity as possible and to find myself as an idividual in the big picture. So where, if not in the Rainbow Nation, would the entire spectrum of cultures be provided?
My school in southern Germany is called Schule Schloss Salem, and what is remarkable about my school is the fact that we are one of the eight Round Square Foundation Schools. Therefore, we focus particularly on the Ideals. In one of our services, the sustainability service, I heard for the first time about Load Shedding. To be sure, these measure affected you as well because one needs electricity to get up at half past five in the mornig and study until eleven in the evening what leads me to my next point- the academic excellece at Roedean.
Your are already significant in your methods of mastering the daily challenges with plenty of engagement and ambition. And considering all the academic pressure, it is even more exceptional how warm and welcoming students and teachers always behaved towards me regardless of whether it was during Community Service, Interact or even during my quite complicated and eventually failed first and last hockey session. Everyone always had a few nice words: for instance “Howisit?”, even though it took me two days to understand what it was supposed to mean.
Next to the activities I will particularly remember a few special events such as the unifying Foundation Day and House Night as much as the humorous Houseplays that proved again how a strong community influences the quality of a school.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t only the Roedean-Family who made this experience special but also my host family, Inge, Peter and Kirsten Boyce, who afforded me so many various impressions of South Africa. Their general knowledge always provided relevant facts that supported my understanding of politics and culture enormously. In addition, their understanding and consideration helped me particularly over the tough times of homesickness and nostalgia.
Excuses to all Joburgers, but I must admit that my fantastic trip to Cape Town represents the outstanding highlight of my exchange. Standing on top of Table Mountain, climbing the 120 steps of Cape Point, watching the stunning sunset above the Atlantic Ocean and being surrounded by a scenery of winefarms in front of overwhelming mountains is simply unique. That experience strengthened once more the impression of the beauty of this coutry, but also the massive contrast between rich and poor.
Although not everybody mentioned can be present at the moment, I want to express my great thanks to Kirsten and her parents, as well as to my school for the financial support, the whole of my family and of course all Roedean members for my memorable time. Awe!

Kirsten Boyce with Nathalie Franke from Salem, Germany

Senior School experiences a Round Square Baraza

One of the many ways of engaging in the IDEALS of Round Square is through Baraza.

A Baraza is a discussion forum where each girls’ opinion is heard and valued.

Section 27 spoke to the school about their work in engaging with government about ensuring that the standards and services of education are honoured in schools.

The address was followed by girls dividing into their Baraza groups (Consisting of girls across all grades) and discussing the issues that the speaker raised.

A second Baraza was held in the third term which highlighted South Africa’s water resources. A discussion followed concerning water conservation – especially in the context of the current heatwaves and drought.

Ms Tamara Nel hosted Section 27


One of Roedean’s many social reponsibility partners isFlying Children.

All the Senior School girls are invovled in preparing rescources for the creches that foster early childhood development.

The boxes of teaching material that supports arly childhood development are created by the girls and delivered to the creches main in the West Rad of Johannesburg.

The boxes of teaching material that supports arly childhood development are created by the girls and delivered to the creches main in the West Rad of Johannesburg.

Girls give of their time to refurbish the Flying Children Creches.