Meet Grace – 2023 BOLD Award Recipient

Posted: 23rd February 2024

Now in its third year the BOLD Award is a fully funded place in our Sixth Form for a student joining us from state school. The successful recipient demonstrates that they have been bold in their own life, that they are forward-thinking, experimental and can reach far beyond what might be expected of them.

We especially encourage applicants from individuals who are:

  • From families with no history of university attendance
  • Eligible for school meals
  • From families who have faced considerable hardships
  • Looked-after children or currently in care
  • The children of key workers

This year’s recipient is Grace. As she is over halfway through her first year we thought it would be a good time to catch-up with her about her experience of Burgess Hill Girls so far.

How did you hear about the BOLD Award?

I had already applied to BHASVIC and Collyers but then I found out about the BOLD Award at a Sixth Form event at my school. It was an opportunity I felt I couldn’t miss. Although I didn’t originally consider Burgess Hill Girls as a Sixth Form option, I am so glad that I did and am extremely grateful to have received the award.

Where were you at school before Burgess Hill Girls?

I was at Warden Park School, in Cuckfield. The school was great at helping me apply for the scholarship at Burgess Hill Girls. I loved my time at the school studying French, Spanish, History and Food Preparation and Nutrition. I made some amazing friends that I am still in contact with now despite being in different colleges.

How is your first year at Burgess Hill Girls going?

My first year at Burgess Hill Girls is going better than I could have ever imagined. I think I have settled in really quickly to the school environment and easily made new friends as the girls are all so lovely. The annual performing arts competition was a highlight for me. Not just because Austen, my house, won, but also the fact that the whole run up to the performances was so exciting. Events like the Networking Dinner are an example of an opportunity I don’t think I would have got anywhere else. As a result of the dinner, there is the chance for me to receive potential work experience in fields that I’m interested in and it was really insightful to hear what jobs like being a translator or an interpreter are really like. My subjects; French, Spanish, and Politics, are going so well. I absolutely love the Politics course and really enjoy learning to communicate in other languages and improving my speaking skills. Overall, my first year at Burgess Hill Girls is going amazingly.

Grace - Sixth Form - Burgess Hill Girls

Is it different from what you expected?

It is completely different from what I expected. I have to admit, coming into an all girls private school, I had the fear that it would be cliquey and somewhat unfriendly. Coming from another school, I figured that everyone would have already established their friendships, so it would be hard for me to fit in. Yet, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The school by no means fits the ‘private school’ stereotype and feels more like a community as opposed to a Sixth Form.

The class sizes are a considerable difference to my previous school as my biggest class here at Burgess Hill is just eight and my smallest is two. This means that I can easily ask my teachers if I am struggling with something and they can give me so much support because there are very few students. I think every student can really get to know the teachers and feel as though we can always go to them if needed.

What have you learnt since joining?

There is always help and people to support you at Burgess Hill Girls, so if you need it, just ask! I have learnt the importance of time management with balancing 3 A Levels, extra curricular activities and an EPQ. With the Extended Project Qualification, I have had to be independent in choosing my title and researching helpful resources that will aid my project. After much deliberation, my chosen EPQ title is ‘Is the gender pay gap in football justified?’ The freedom of being able to write your project about absolutely anything that you are interested in is amazing.

Grace - Sixth Form Common Room - Burgess Hill Girls

Would you encourage girls to apply for the BOLD Award?

It sounds like a cliche but in applying for the BOLD Award, you really have nothing to lose. Apart from potentially not getting the scholarship, you can only gain experience from the application process. I am a strong believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’ so the outcome of your application will be the right one. Even if the outcome isn’t the one you wanted, you will find a college that suits you. I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to apply for the BOLD Award and can only encourage other girls to do the same.

What do you want to do in the future?

At university, I am thinking about studying a language as well as Politics. My all time ambition is to be either: a professional footballer, a sports journalist, a spy or all three! After speaking to someone that works in the foreign office at the networking dinner, I found out that there are post graduate spy schemes which look fascinating.

You like football then?

I love it! I started playing football at the age of 6 for my local team, Cuckfield Cosmos, initially in the boys teams and then the girls team. At 14 I was invited to join the Crystal Palace Girls U16 Squad. I played there for two seasons and developed tons as a player and person. Now I play for Haywards Heath Women and U18’s. Playing for the women’s first team side has been a great learning experience for me and I have gained many new skills from playing with older, more experienced, players. My dream to become a professional football player still remains but I know that I also have other interesting career aspirations that I would like to explore.

Grace Football Burgess Hill Girls

At Burgess Hill Girls, I help to coach the younger girls in a weekly Thursday after school club. It’s great to see so many of the players improving week by week but also to see them grow in confidence. No matter what ability, the aim is to get girls loving the sport and having fun. I think that it’s really important for young girls to have female coaches and models that they can look up to as football is usually very male dominated, so I’m happy to help when I can!

How can Burgess Hill Girls can help you achieve your ambitions?

Burgess Hill Girls has given me the opportunity to speak to a sports journalist so I could find out a bit more about the type of work it involves and ask my many questions! I also now write for the school magazine in order to develop my writing skills. I know that whatever university degree I decide to do I will get full support from the teaching staff at Burgess Hill Girls. I plan to read over different courses in Politics and Modern Foreign Languages so I can ask my teachers for book recommendations on that bit of the course to see if the subject would really interest me. I am interested in applying for Oxbridge to study French and Spanish and I know that throughout the application process I will get full guidance and support from my teachers.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

I have absolutely loved my time at Burgess Hill Girls so far and would only encourage other girls to apply for the BOLD Award like I did. In addition, if you are interested in the school, I recommend visiting it as you lose nothing from this and can get a real feel for the school environment.