By Phil Tattersall-King, Deputy Head (Co-curricular)
I am pleased to announce changes to the key dates for the 2020-21 academic year. The changes have come from listening to feedback and from years of working with students and recognising the times their energy starts to dip – particularly around the first half term and long leave weekends.
For many years, Bedalians have had to show stamina in this long first term but fatigue has always been a factor, even for the many who have excelled this year. Therefore, the introduction of a two-week half term is to allow for a meaningful break and a chance to return refreshed. This will provide better support for those students going out on trips to Eswatini or the carousel of Global Awareness destinations, allowing for both exploration and recuperation. As a result, we will be teaching later into December (just as we will in Easter) but with a later return in the New Year.
For those of you who remember the 13+ assessments on 2 January, a sharp return from festivities almost as bracing as the inclement weather outside, these will now be on the more family-friendly 11 January for new students looking to join Bedales in 2021.
In making sure students get proper rest at long leaves, we have also been able to address parents’ meetings. The timings of parents’ meetings are not ideal for many. These often finish at rush hour on busy Fridays, an inopportune time for people to embark on long drives to spend precious time with families. These will now take place on Thursday evenings and our own staff inset sessions will run on the following day, with the helpful corollary they won’t be held at irregular times throughout the year.
Worthy of note are the addition of Powell and Garrett community days in the spring and summer terms. Badley Day is such a celebrated part of the calendar, we are creating new opportunities to be more community-minded both on our gorgeous estate and in the Steep and Petersfield community. Oswald B. Powell and Amy Garrett Badley, both so influential in the school’s founding and the creation of the school’s ethos, are recognised here in the names of these important additional days in our calendar. For those to wish to find out more about our history, Ann Donnelly, granddaughter of Oswald B. Powell, will be speaking to us about her grandfather’s life on 16 January. This is the first event in our new season brochure which will be sent to you during the holidays. As with all the events here at Bedales, you are very welcome to attend.