Marshmallows, tea and leadership

Eventually and not at all influenced by the promise of a marshmallow, I manage to attend one of the History Department’s Kings and Queens of England mini-lectures; they are taking the full regal line-up, chronologically of course – now it’s Henry III so you regal chronologeeks can work out how many, silly me, I’ve missed, but at least I am there now, marshmallow in hand, at 1.45 on Thursday, along with another 30 (half teachers, half students) listening to Chris Bott‘s spirited and informative account of Henry III, the Pious Builder. Poor chap (Henry not Chris), formally king from aged five, so dominated by regents (nasty people, my Ladybird books told me) for the first chunk of his reign and senile for the last decade or so, he had a mere 20 years (of his 58 years’ official rule) doing anything resembling ruling – and he made a hash of dealing with barons and goofed the diplomatic dance of trying to marry his son into the Sicilian monarchy. At least he built Westminster Abbey and was sufficiently notable to feature in the Divine Comedy (written about 50 years after his death), albeit amongst the third class of late repentants – “the preoccupied”; which is what my tutees (the two head boys and head girls) are as we sit on the 50 Church Road terrace, bathed in late afternoon sun and wafted by a wisteria-perfumed breeze, as we mull over the fruits of the newly-reformed student elections for the most likely lads and lasses to become their successors when the top student group is announced next Wednesday. At this stage, the top five boys and the top five girls, all nominated by their tutors as potential candidates, have emerged as a result of the whole school ballot. The people having spoken, now it’s the turn of the housestaff, the other teachers, Dominic, the head students and myself to discuss the best line-up. Formally, it is my decision, but generally some sort of consensus emerges as each individual’s strengths are gauged alongside the need for the head student team to work well as a unit. Next Wednesday the new head student team will shush at assembly and all will be revealed. In the meantime, here is a shot of the five of us beneath the wisteria, so you know that the rather overwritten (mauve prose?) piece of this blog was not entirely poetic license.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools

Keith and Head Student team


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.