Norwich High Bursary Recipient Case Study: Meet Antonia

Posted on 6th September 2023

Current Year 13 student Antonia Rogers was awarded a bursary to attend Norwich High School for Girls Sixth Form. Here she tells her story.

When did you join Norwich High School?

I joined Norwich High School in 2021 for the Sixth Form after previously being state and home educated.

How did it feel to be awarded a bursary to attend Norwich High?

Having visited a number of schools, I remember getting to the car after touring Norwich High and feeling like I’d found the one. On the day that the letter arrived saying that I had been awarded a space in the Sixth Form with a scholarship and bursary, I felt immensely grateful and excited that going to Norwich High was now a possibility rather than just a hope.

What subjects did you go on to take at A Level? What interests did you develop through your time at school?

I took English Literature, History, and Classical Civilisation for A Level. I chose Classics as my third option because I was obsessed with History and enjoyed analysing texts in English, so I thought that Classics would be a combination of the two. I did not realise then that I would completely fall in love with the subject and decide to explore it further at university. Without taking Classics at Norwich High, I would have never realised it was my passion, and thus the trajectory of my future would be different.

What was it like attending a girls-only school?

I have had experience of every type of education – private, state, home education, and I have even lived in a boarding school (my parents were teachers). This meant that I started Norwich High feeling prepared for anything. However, I was surprised when the girls were immediately welcoming, and it very quickly felt that I had always been there. One of the things I most appreciated was that the girls were supportive rather than competitive. We weren’t pitted against each other in order to motivate, but rather all encouraged to achieve our own personal goals. This fostered a friendly atmosphere and working environment  – Norwich High really did feel like one big family. I also immediately noticed the difference from my last school, as even though it is non-uniform at Sixth Form, the girls were more interested in showing who they were as individuals than dressing to impress. I especially loved that I could wear whatever I wanted, regardless of ‘trends’, and I would be met with compliments rather than criticism. Whilst there were ups and downs, as expected with any friendship groups, I will be forever grateful for the friendships formed and the fun we all had together.

What opportunities stand out as being transformative for you?

Apart from having the opportunity to take Classical Civilisation A Level, a subject usually not available in state schools, Norwich High and the wider GDST network opened up a plethora of new opportunities for me. Through gaining funding through the GDST Pearson and Silver Prize I was able to attend the JACT Greek Summer School where I tried beginner Ancient Greek and met many like minded classists, motivating me to apply for the subject at university. I was also able to attend the GDST Oxbridge Conference free of charge, where I stayed at a college in Oxford and received invaluable guidance and support on my application. Opportunities such as these would not have been available to me without Norwich High and the wider GDST community.

What has your education with us taught you?

Having taught myself my GCSE’s, with help from tutors in certain subjects, I arrived already self motivated and aware of my learning style. However, at Norwich High I found that inspirational and passionate teachers can make all the difference, even in subject areas I wouldn’t have naturally been drawn to. I was encouraged to see beyond just the exams into the wider world, which made my educational experience so much richer and more exciting.

What are you taking away with you?

Norwich High made me realise the importance of a welcoming and positive learning environment, where each individual is valued. As a naturally competitive person, I’ve realised that it’s important to not compare myself to others, but rather set my own goals and encourage others with theirs. As this is the first time that I’m sad to be leaving a school, I will continue to carry with me all the fond memories of my time here.

What are your next steps and what are your long term ambitions?

Depending on my A Level results, I will either be attending Oxford University to study Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, or St Andrew’s for Classical Studies, in September/October 2023. After completing my degree, I would love to continue researching the classical world with a Masters and PhD, or take my enthusiasm for classics and writing into journalism and radio broadcasting.

Why do you think bursary awards are important?

Bursary awards are so important because it gives people like me, who would struggle to have the means to attend Norwich High, the opportunity to be in an environment where I’m supported by other like minded students who are equally passionate and keen to take advantage of what’s on offer – which makes all the difference. The smaller classes, care for each student, and personalised support is largely unique to private schools, which means that you have the best chance for getting you where you’re hoping to go. 

Would you encourage others to apply for bursary places at Norwich High?

There is no question that receiving a bursary place at Norwich High changed the course of my life in such a positive and exciting way. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about applying for a bursary to go for it, as you’ll never know unless you try. I did not realise that attending a private school on a bursary was something that was a possibility for me until financial aid allowed a friend’s sister to move from the state school I attended to a boarding school for Sixth Form. It was only through taking a chance and giving it a go that I was able to attend Norwich High, and so I will be forever grateful for being inspired in the first place.

What advice would you give to future bursary recipients?

Be proud of yourself, make the most of the opportunities available to you, and never take anything for granted. Your time at Norwich High will fly by, so enjoy every moment!