Frisky is the word, even for the ancient (well, 12.6) Westie Ailsa as she does her characteristic three-legged hop down Emma’s Walk this morning, trying to keep up with her roaming, clumsy young labrador friend and no doubt inspired by an interesting smelly medley of Jacob’s sheep, Hector the Percheron horse and even the occasional crisp-dropping Bedalian who has been sitting on the lovely bench there and admiring the daffodils, which are at their best now. Frisking my early-morning-befuddled mind for reasons (in the words of the song) to be cheerful, which I am, I find myself thinking back randomly to Head of Outdoor Work, Peter Coates’ exhortation to us all at Notices last week to go out to Emma’s Walk and admire the daffodils – an invitation as unusual for a school as it is typical of this place; then (frisking again) my waking brain thinks on to the series of fascinating rambles for the mind that we have enjoyed at Bedales of late – even over the past week.
Rupert Sheldrake, challenging scientific orthodoxies at the Eckersley Lecture with his radical scepticism and theories about morphic fields and radical externalism. Stephen Daldry, film and theatre director, talking so engagingly at Civics about his six current obsessions – i.e. his work and forthcoming projectgs; and last night’s Jaw – philosopher-in-residence Nigel Warburton challenging the audience as to whether they would sign up to a guaranteed life of synthetic but authentic-feeling happiness (as supplied by the special Google happiness suit) if they had a choice. (No they wouldn’t.) So here, with all these stimulations to thought – are plenty reasons to be cheerful; and that is without even going into the many intriguing conversations I have had with prospective and current students – about their ideas, choices and aspirations.
Friskier yet? Well, final word: it seems to me that a primary responsibilty of any school is to demonstrate on a daily basis the importance of discovering what you really love doing and then giving you the gumption to follow those passions/obsessions – your bliss, as it is sometimes called.
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 school. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.