Productive and refreshing though it might be, spending several days in the company of 250 or so heads (virtually all headmasters), it is a singular annual experience that is by definition extraordinary. It is therefore very good to return to reassuring normalcy in sunny Steep – to reacclimate to a school’s reassuring rhythms, different company and in particular to enjoy the first bit of JFP (Jazz Folk and Poetry performances) last night. Like many venerable Bedales fixtures, JFP has evolved into an occasion which works well for us, becoming an important element in the creative life of the school: an opportunity, primarily for our folk and rock performers and song writers to showcase their work in a less scary setting than the annual Rock Concert; a good, sweaty melee for dancers; and an opportunity for all to see the young emerging musical talent, such as Peter W and Luca C – guitar and keyboards respectively, performing alongside the venerable and established, such as Jasper F. There is an inkling of jazz even – Evie C and her sax. Above all is the quietly spoken but much admired tall figure of guitar teacher and JFP co-ordinator, Neil Hornsby, who is the driving force, presiding and ensuring that the high spirits of the audience enable JFP to continue its positive evolution.
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.