The beginning of summer

It’s Tuesday afternoon and summer feels as if it is trying to appear: some brave students are sitting in a circle on a rather damp Orchard and the sun is slanting into Reception giving it that indoor piazza feel. Summer terms, which begin here with the clunk of 6.2 mock exams and the sure knowledge that public exams face 60% of our students, have a far from leisurely feel to their start. But there is plenty to look back on with satisfaction, with six educational school trips taking in Turkey (Classics), Iceland (BAC Geography), Spain (Block 3 & 4 tennis), Nice (French), Russia (6th form History) and Scarborough (6th form Drama Festival) occurring happily and productively over the holidays. Teaching a poem about summer is one way to try to think your way into the season and my first outing to the classroom is at Dunhurst with a wonderfully responsive Block 1 English group who make good hay with Larkin‘s great lyrical poem Cut Grass, with its stunning first line (Cut grass lies frail…) and its celebration of summer’s arrival. Tuesday evening’s sunlight is inviting enough for a first early evening walk to the Poet’s Stone, pondering on the debating activity’s topical subject matter – This House regrets the passing of Margaret Thatcher – which I have just attended and which provoked some pungent views and rather lurid images of what life was like in the northern England in the 70s when and where, as it happens, I was trying to grow up. Domestically, there is much interesting to reflect on too: in the holidays we revisited California – somewhere I spent a happy year on teaching exchange nearly 25 years ago and where our daughter is now at university for the year – more on this and in particular visits to UCLA and UC San Diego.

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.