Catching the best of a glorious autumn morning, out early today with duo of dogs around the school estate, past the newly harvested hay field – reflecting on Wednesday spent mainly getting further trained up on safer recruiting – 19 of us across the schools, all involved in recruiting teaching and support staff, in an all day course here – on all the ways in which we can ensure that recruitment and the processes that follow are better and better – integral to this is the need to ensure we are doing everything humanly possible to safeguard the children in our care. Along with the necessary formality of procedures and checks (targeted interview questions, reference cross-checking, CRBs etc) we are helped here by an open and informal culture that invites feedback from children about the adults that look after them. Children’s instincts about the adults looking after them are usually right.
Nevertheless, finding myself amongst the current of the school in the evening is a relief. Our first Jaw is Harvest Festival – led by the head boy and girl quartet who have put together an engaging melange of words, music and film. The Jaw begins with poetry, Whitman’s A Carol of Harvest and ends with a harvest anthem sung by the chamber choir. With the hay just in, one of his early lines catches the sense of an autumnal Bedales hay harvest of Badley’s era: the “smell of sun-dried hay, where the nimble pitchers handle the pitch-fork”.