Opportunities for teachers to refresh themselves personally and professionally

Sabbatical terms for teachers give us excellent opportunities to refresh ourselves personally and professionally; for me, just over three years ago, my sabbatical summer term was split between China and the Middle East, with the latter involving an eight week stay in Cairo (doing an Arabic course) and subsequent travel in Egypt, Jordan and Syria – a precious and wonderful time that affected what I brought back to the job and which still informs my work. The additional, usually good, consequence of sabbaticals is that they bring new teachers into the community for a term. Such people, with their fresh viewpoint and need to find their feet quickly, have their own distinct contribution. Such has been the case this term with Physics teacher Ransi Jayatissa’s sabbatical replacement, Chris Schembri. Not only has Chris thrown himself into every aspect of the community beyond his teaching, whether that is giving classes in Arabic on Boys’ Flat or attending every possible school event, but he has also got to know students and staff very well. Monday evening’s Assembly by Chris was a fitting reminder of what he has has brought to our community. Giving us a perspective from his native Malta and comparing some of the qualities that he has found within the Bedales community to those of the Knights of Malta, Chris gave an inspiring talk on how Badley’s vision of a community based on affection and mutual respect between students and teachers, symbolised in hand-shaking, creates a climate which should inspire students to emulate Badley’s desire to effect change. Refreshing to hear someone talk so powerfully and unashamedly about virtues like nobility – a really touching, affirming and inspiring occasion.

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.