The merger between Red Maids’ School and Redland High School for Girls was formally completed earlier this week.
The two schools are now legally combined as one entity – Redmaids’ High School – although both schools will continue to operate under their existing names until the end of August 2017.
Today, Redland High’s Year 5 girls met up with their future classmates at the Red Maids’ Junior School. The girls were keen to get to know each other and even before morning break, arms were linked and new friendships had been forged.
The girls all took part in a variety of lessons including computer coding using a programme called Scratch, a magic hand science experiment and a literacy based comic creating activity. The Redland High pupils were keen to get involved and to familiarise themselves with the surroundings and their new buddies from Red Maids’ were equally as eager to welcome and include them into the school.
Even the rain couldn’t dampen the moods of this bubbly group. We look forward to more joint activities between the Redland and Westbury sites.
Mrs Tobias has written to The Times in response to an article published on Saturday 16 April.
I must refute the assertion in “Is this the end for private schools?” (The Times, 16 April 2016) that falling numbers drove the recent merger of two independent girls’ schools in Bristol. Anyone reading the article would think all independent schools are failing as numbers fall and state schools sweep up all before them.
This is not our experience. At Red Maids’ our numbers have never been stronger – 6% higher in 2015 than in 2007, despite the financial crash of 2008 and the following economic downturn.
The merger of The Red Maids’ School and Redland High School reflects ambition and confidence in the future. The decision to merge was the result of a rational and forward-thinking decision by the like-minded governors and staff of our two schools who wanted to ensure that Bristol continues to benefit from an exceptional day-only independent school for girls.
Economies of scale in both academic and financial areas will allow more investment in staff, curriculum and facilities. The new school, Redmaids’ High School, will be sustainable for the future; providing high quality teaching, a wide range of opportunities and significant scholarships and bursaries, so that all girls of academic ability can benefit from the top class education provided.
Getting weaker is not on our agenda. On the contrary, the oldest girls’ school in the country is joining forces with a girls’ High School of strong repute to form a beacon of educational excellence with a strong financial future.
Mrs Isabel Tobias
Headmistress, The Red Maid’s School, Headmistress Designate Redmaids’ High School
Tel : 0117 962 2641
In the April edition of the Voice Magazine series, an article refers to the merger beginning in September 2016 for Years 12 and 7 – this should have read Years 12 and 6. The error is being corrected on the Voice website.
Today the Head Girl Teams from Redland High School and the Red Maids’ School came together to discuss the ways in which they can lead in joint activities between the two schools, which are set to merge later this year.
Lucy Mercer who is the Head Girl at Redland High School, along with her Deputies Allie Jerrome and Alice Bird invited their counterparts from Red Maids’, Head Girl Lily Steven and Deputy Katie Cottle, to have a look around Redland High. The girls wanted to share the heritage of both schools, and talk about how each of their traditions could be incorporated into the new school.
Lucy said: “On the day that the news broke we got in touch with each other and it was like we’d known each other for ages. We get on so well, we all could have been from the same school. We have plans to arrange BBQs and discos so that all the girls can get to know each other as well as we have. We’ve discussed the traditions of both schools and would love to find ways to keep them all going!”
Lily and Katie brought over a picture they had designed depicting the boat logo of Red Maids’ surrounded by the Daisy Chain from Redland High School.
Lily said: “We wanted to make something to show how excited we are about the merger and to show Redland High girls that we understand how they are feeling. We left the background blank for Red Maids’ pupils to sign and show their support and everyone wanted to put their name on it, we nearly ran out of space!”
Allie added: “The picture was such a lovely gesture. It was so reassuring to find out straight away that both schools share the same caring ethos. It really means so much and shows that the future is exciting!”
The announcement about the merger was made two weeks ago, with the new school for girls, which will be located at the current Red Maids’ site in Westbury-on-Trym, being called Redmaids’ High School. The two leading single sex day schools have been close neighbours for over 130 years and share like-minded visions for girls’ education.
The merger creates an opportunity to embark on a multi-million pound investment programme to develop a new assembly hall, a modern and flexible performing arts centre, and new classrooms.
Together Aiming High
Redland High School to merge with The Red Maids’ School to become Redmaids’ High School
The two leading independent girls’ day schools in Bristol have announced that they will be merging to form Redmaids’ High School to operate from the current Red Maids’ site at Westbury-on-Trym.
For this year’s BBC News School Report the two Bristol girls schools joined together to report on the recent announcement that they are to merge to become Redmaids’ High School
I am guessing that many of our staff, students, alumnae and parents are still absorbing the news that Red Maids’ is to enter a new stage in its long and distinguished history, by merging with Redland High School to become Redmaids’ High School.
It is very exciting.
But it is also unexpected. And news like this can be unsettling because it requires new ways of thinking about things we hold dear. At the same time, as I often say to the girls, change is important, it is necessary in life and it is around us all the time; change is the engine of growth, new emphasis, positive development and great opportunity. It leads to new perspectives, allows us to acquire greater wisdom and experience, and ultimately can be incredibly beneficial.
Of course in our personal lives we all experience big, life-shaping changes. When I moved with my family to Bristol in 1995 it was reluctantly! My husband’s new job meant leaving London, giving up my much-loved role as second in the English department and searching for a new job in the south west. It was a difficult time. I was terribly apprehensive and even a little resentful as we packed up our home and the children and drove down the M4 for a new life. Yet as time has proved, the move to Bristol has given us a fantastic life and opportunities we never imagined.
This will be the second time I have experienced a school merger. In 1996, only weeks after being appointed Head of English at Bath High School I received notification that the school was to merge to become The Royal High School Bath and I was to be re-interviewed for my new job. How I wished we had stayed in London! However, the experience of change management, firstly as Head of Department and then as Deputy Head was deeply formative for me, and of course for the school. The Royal High School Bath, as many of you will know, is strong and successful.
The Red Maids’ School is what it is today because of the generations of students and staff who have embraced John Whitson’s unique vision of education for girls, and also because of the important decisions made by its governors over the last 381 years: shifting from practical, skills-based training to an academic education, changing the name, admitting day girls as well as boarders, moving from Denmark Street to Westbury-on-Trym, closing boarding, adopting the IB Diploma, and so on.
Red Maids’ is now embarking on another important development, carrying John Whitson’s radical 17th century legacy of education for girls at The Red Maids’ Hospital (our original name) into another era. To be a ‘High School’, is a badge of academic excellence in company with some of the finest schools in the country (just think of Oxford High School, Guildford High School and so on) created in the late 1870s, when the rest of society began catching up with John Whitson’s much earlier ambition to create equal opportunity for girls.
Today we have been presented with a significant opportunity. This gives us a choice: either to focus on what we may think we are losing or to be open to new possibilities. This calls for strength of character, courage and open-mindedness, but then these are the very qualities we know to be among the most important in life and which we seek to instil in our students.
At this momentous time, we are all part of Red Maids’ evolving story. We are making history. I hope all students, alumnae, staff and parents will embrace this change and step forward with me to uphold Red Maids’ values of respect, learning, open-mindedness and high aspirations, to welcome new students, parents and colleagues into our midst, to be brave and resilient in the face of new possibilities, and together to help fashion our future.