Talk candidly to most people in my line of work – teachers and heads – and they will say that the thing they look forward to most as the summer holiday goes into its final phase is the return of the students. Induction of new staff is genial; the smell of fresh paint is cheering; INSET is fine – especially with great stuff from our Harvard researchers; and post exam analysis sessions with heads of department are important and instructive; but it is only when the students return that it all really starts to make sense and the place is fully energised again. The buzz is back. My first assembly on the Sunday evening has the stunning Edward Thomas short piece The End of Summer at its centre – no sign of that yet, but Dominic Oliver‘s exhortation to the Bedales students on the first morning back is perhaps more timely: it is Hwaet! – mainly as an exhortation to the troops but also as a tribute to Seamus Heaney: the first word in the great Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf, which Heaney made into his own poetic version, Hwaet can be rendered as Listen, Hark, Lo; Heaney, employs the word so and captures the sense that things are under way the moment it is said: likewise with the pace of a new term as drama auditions, sporting trials, first lessons and the other myriad happenings get under way: Hwaet!
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.