The arithmetic of Bedales lambing

Kneading bread early this morning and discussing the arithmetic of Bedales lambing: 19 Jacob’s ewes have produced 38 lambs – 22 boys and 16 girls (only 2 barren ewes, by the way). Head of outdoor work and maths teacher, Peter Coates, faced the school with its annual bit of agri-maths on Tuesday: if the notional probability of each birth being of either gender is 50:50, what is the probability of a gender split as above?  So as not to spoil your fun in working it out, the answer and the winner will be here on Saturday. The simple good news is that this year sheep fecundity has been good, in stark contrast to the previous year when, in common with many rams in Hampshire (I am told), our Jacob’s regenerative faculties were somewhat stymied by the extreme February cold.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.