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My Time at The Mount: Vanessa

Vanessa (College II) joined The Mount in College and embarks on her new journey to study Early Childhood Education at the legendary Norland College, in Bath. We caught up with her to ask about her time at The Mount.

It was easy to settle in here. I felt like I became a Mount girl quite quickly and settled in easily. I’m so glad that I was able to come here and benefit from the lovely environment. When I came here, I was like “Omg it’s so perfect. And lovely! And nice!” I had the opportunity to come here, to be in this environment, to be part of this environment and now that I’m going, I’m a much happier person than I was when I came. That’s so nice. I’m so lucky!


There’s been loads of support for academics. My teachers are always there. I can always go to them. They are willing to change their support around me. If I want to just ask a list of questions I can do that, or if I want to go through practice questions, I can do that. There is so much support. They want me to be able to do as much as possible. They set up groups specifically because I asked for them to be set up, and populated them. I’ve been able to do so much here because I’ve had so much support from my teachers, the Music department, even from the Drama department! I didn’t really do much with the Drama department because I didn’t physically have time to do much more than I did here, but I was in plays in both years. I’ve been given next steps to continue doing drama into the future, and in all areas there have been things I could do thanks to the ways I’ve been supported in each department even if they aren’t my main thing. I don’t really do sports, and I’m not really a sporty person, but I get to go swimming all the time and have fun with it. There is an acceptance that not everyone is great at every thing. Even if you’re not great at certain things, you get to do them anyway. Everyone is accepted and supported, regardless.

Vanessa stretches as the sleepy Dormouse in last year’s production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Boarding Life

Boarding is so much fun. For me personally it’s been helpful having a routine. At home it isn’t as structured with you wake up at this time, have breakfast at this time, have to be in the house at this time, do homework at this time. Having those structures has helped me enormously to be a bit more productive and settled as a person, and happy. It’s even been helpful having people around me all of the time. I just love it so much. All of my friends are almost like sisters. They come and bother me before bedtime and borrow my nail varnish and then ask me for nail varnish remover to remove the nail varnish they just borrowed. It’s so nice to have that relationship with people and have them around all the time. If they’re around and studying, it encourages me to study. And I can help them with their homework and that’s quite nice to be around that all the time. The boarding staff are great. I know that in some boarding schools the staff are very strict. This one is not strict in that, if I need to go back into boarding early one night because I simply need to have a bath and go to bed early. I’m allowed to do that. I am trusted to be responsible for my own decisions and I deeply appreciate that.

All-Girl Environment

I was actually so worried about coming to an all-girl school. In my previous school practically all of my friend group were boys. I was like, “How am I going to cope in an all-girls school?” But because everyone was so kind, I kind of felt more at ease. When I came here, I didn’t even notice that there weren’t any boys. I thought that it would be difficult for me, socially, but it absolutely wasn’t. We’ve had loads of fun, people are genuinely really funny and kind and it’s just so lovely that you don’t need to worry about it. But also I feel like you’re able to get your head down in lessons more.  Obviously because it’s small class-sizes anyway you are getting your head down a bit more, what your teacher is doing and saying is a bit more personalised to you. Because it’s small, not just because it’s all-girls but because it’s all-girls they’re not having to account for boys learning differently and being slightly more disruptive, potentially.

Particularly with sports it allows you to thrive, because there are no boys to focus on. In my co-ed school, no one cared about girls’ sports. I don’t even know who was on the sports teams for girls, I’m not even sure if we had sports teams for girls because all the focus was on the boys and what they could do. But because there are no boys here, there is nothing taking away the focus of the teachers, particularly in sports. So I think that’s really good.


College is really great. Having our own studies is so useful. It’s like you don’t need a locker because you have all of your stuff in one space and it’s your study space and you can get into the zone there and keep all of your stuff there. I think it helps me be much more organised that I’ve got my study and it’s so good to have a study space that is mine. At my sister’s school they have forty people in one study room, they have to be silent with one teacher supervising them. It’s not a great environment. What if you study by talking to yourself? Our studies give us personal space for study. It’s so helpful.

The support in College is so good. Mrs Goudriaan and Mr Waddington are such a great team. They are so helpful. UCAS was just bam bam bam (she strikes her palm with the back of her other hand) straight through interview processes and mock interviews, it was so helpful. So incredible.

If you think you want to leave here at the end of Year 11 because The Mount is a small school and you want to be in a big school, you might be right, but in a big school you also might not get the support you need. I wouldn’t personally choose to go into a bigger environment where you get less support, because it’s not going to help you do well. And I think you still have independence at this school where you are respected enough to make your own decisions. At the core of that respect is the Quaker ethos, which is really important to be maintained. I think that it attracts lovely, kind, respectful people and helps make The Mount such a lovely, special place.

Vanessa is awarded the College II Citizenship Award at Foundation Meeting today. We look forward to hearing more of her adventures in future.

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