Walking in the morning sunlight to find Dunannie’s Year 3 class’s Outdoor Work (ODW) lesson, which I am observing as part of a review of how ODW operates across the 3 schools, I need to do some orienteering in order to find them; yes, this is a proper, itinerant, mobile ODW lesson which involves walking from Dunannie round past the almost-finished Sam Banks Pavilion (interesting groundworks to note), across the back of Boys’ Flat and towards the A3 where I join them half way through their double lesson. It follows on very neatly from their trip to Minsted, when they were looking at where and how you might build new houses. It is all very well organised by Dunannie teacher i/c ODW Bridget Macmillan and Year 3 teacher Camilla Bell, with classroom assistant Gemma Grinter accompanying as well. The pupils are sensibly dressed for all eventualities, all carry clipboards (with plenty of questions on their sheet and with coloured Google maps of the area) and are organised in teams, with a camera, a compass and a Logbox (for measuring sound and light) each. They are patiently tracing their path on the map as they go, taking photos and measuring sound and light in different locations. We stand on the bridge over the A3, watch the traffic and they respond to questions about the impact of the road on the area, particularly on a rather sad looking barn we can see looking stranded and too close to this roaring road. Opportunities for project work on the A3 protests will no doubt be there – and I find my mind flitting back to Swampy, the eco-warrior, who became famous for his tree-top occupancy which held up the A34 outside Newbury in 1996. Where is Swampy now? I hear you ask. Well Daniel Hooper, 40 this year, is thought to be living in a yurt in a community in Llandeilo (Wales). Although I confess to appreciating not spending a couple of hours gridlocked in Newbury every time I drive up the A34, I rather admired him. Back to ODW and we are now returning to Dunannie (music beckons) and are looking quizzically at a ruined building we encounter on the way – was it an air raid shelter or an abandoned observatory? Some research to do here. The contented band of explorers place their clipboards neatly in the Potting Shed (the Dunannie ODW centre) and I look forward to hearing what their results and thoughts are after they have written up their expedition.
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.