Girls’ First XI Hockey v Embley Park

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday the girls’ first XI travelled to Embley Park School and played an adapted format game (four quarters as opposed to two halves), which provide a lovely opportunity to rotate a number of positions.

The first quarter involved both sides turning over possession on a regular basis but it was the Bedales side who held most of the attacking territory. A calm finish from Mathilda Douglas after a well worked team move and another goal from a short corner drag flick from Alisia Leach put the Bedales side 2-0 up going in to the first interval. The second quarter saw a ramp up in intensity and better retention of the ball from Bedales, with Mathilda Douglas adding to her tally. The third quarter was probably the stand out for Bedales in terms of attacking possession – the Bedales side attacked at speed and were efficient in front of goal. Kamaya Nelson Clayton picking up a hat-trick inside 15 minutes. The final quarter saw Embley rally and put together some powerful drives in to the circle, deservedly winning a number of penalty corners. However, Bedales captain Esther Stewart, Shanklin Mackillop-Hall and goalkeeper Matilda Gellatly were on hand to keep Embley at bay.
 
A special mention must go to Sammy Smith, who had arguably her strongest game of the season and deservedly picked up player of the match. An enjoyable game and good preparation as the side head to Abingdon next week for the South Central regional finals.

Block 3 Fireside Night

By Lucy McIlwraith, Teacher of English

At the turning of the light in autumn we have many ways to celebrate and to remind ourselves that light will return. From softly glowing candles to brightly coloured fireworks, people have always noted the change in the season with festivals that bring us together. At Bedales we have the Block 3 Fireside Night each year, which brings together students and staff around the fire in the beautiful dining room to tell tall tales, recite poetry and sing songs. We do it all from memory and the focus for all of us is entertainment rather than perfection; having a go is far more important than getting all the words right. This year, Block 3 student Elliot Cundy has written his thoughts about the night.

By Elliot Cundy, Block 3

Lit by the warm glow from the fire and the flicker of candles, the dining room began to fill with eager students, settling into a semi-circle around the hearth for the Block 3 Fireside Night. Crackling flames, an absence of electronics, and performances from memory of literature old and new, created an atmosphere akin to that of many centuries ago. Up until 1930, 50% of the global population was illiterate, so performances were learnt orally and spoken with no written assistance. Reciting a poem in front of many people with no prompts can be very hard, meaning that the priority becomes quality and entertainment over perfection.

As well as students performing a variety of poems, from cheerful ballads to dark quatrains, many teachers took part in the proceedings. Lucy McIlwraith opened by singing ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ with its original lyrics and closed the evening singing lyrics from ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ to ‘Humpty Dumpty’ to the same tune to show how almost any poem written in ballad form fits this tune. Another highlight was Will Goldsmith performing ‘Shall I compare thee to a summers day’ by Shakespeare which provided an unexpected turn to the evening but showed us all how it doesn’t matter if you don’t get all the words right!

Near the end of the night, I performed a poem called Barn Owl by Leslie Norris. It describes the life and death of a beautiful bird. Curiously, it ends with a thought, that the death of ‘Snowy’ the owl might carry a deeper meaning. I learned the poem by practising each verse one at a time, out loud and alternating between reading off the page and speaking from memory. In the English lessons leading up to Fireside Night, we were able to practise in front of just the class to get a feeling for what it would be like, which was something that really helped prepare us for the night ahead. When my time to perform arose, I instantly felt the nerves, but they were soothed by the comforting warmth of the fire behind me. Trying not to rush, I worked my way through the poem, dozens of pairs of eyes looking up at me. On reaching the final verse, the relief arrived, and I comfortably finished the poem.The greatest thing about performing is the small moment of silence between finishing and the audience clapping, when you realise that nothing went wrong, and your practice has paid off. Delicious hot chocolate and cookies were the final reward for our work and ended the evening on a high.   

Only 43 sleeps to go…!

By Andrew Martin, Head of Outdoor Work

Last week we had another memorable evening in the Bakehouse, making our famous Christmas puddings with our 6.1 Living with the Land students and their guests. It’s always a shock to hear Christmas music so early in the year, but the big day is only 43 days away!

There was stirring, singing, chatting, zesting and lots of Christmas cheer as we spent the evening making 115 puddings, kindly steamed the next day by the wonderful Matt Potts and his catering team.

Pardon the pun, but these puddings usually sell like hot cakes, so if you’d like to get one, make your way over to our farm shop beside the Bakehouse as soon as possible where they’re ready and ribboned up for Christmas.

As I’m sure most of you are aware, Outdoor Work is run as a cottage industry as well as a department within the school. This unique position allows us to offer you a selection of homemade goods, most of which have been made by students, whenever possible using produce grown here.

This year, you’ll find preserves and honey, as well as sheepskins from our own Jacob flock, each one boasting its own unique, distinctive pattern. We also have a new range of shawls, scarves and blankets from our Jacob fleece, all woven for us at Melin Teifi in Wales. These make brilliant Christmas gifts; allowing the recipient to take a bit of Bedales with them, wherever they go.

All profits are ploughed back into Outdoor Work, so please take a good look; staff, students and animals greatly appreciate your support. A very merry, very premature Christmas from all of us in Outdoor Work!

Reflections on the Sixth Form Show

By Hayley Cole, Head of Drama

Recently I overheard some students giving a guided tour explaining, in student terms, the way our school works – how first name terms creates mutual respect, and performing in the theatre, where professional companies also perform, means they feel almost professional. To me, that summarises exactly what the Sixth Form Show is all about and why we employ external directors to create a company for the students, giving them a taste of the time frames and high expectations of the professional world.

Old Bedalian Evangeline Cullingworth was the ideal choice for this year’s Sixth Form Show. She was so excited to work with and direct our students once again, and having read her choice of play over the holidays – Image of an Unknown Young Woman by Elinor Cook – we were incredibly excited to see how she would realise it. Her professionalism and directorial skillset made this such an enriching opportunity for the students, and her personality and the experience she has of teaching and delivering workshops at Bedales meant she nurtured individuals and the cast flourished under her.

Personally, I loved coming to see the play as an audience member, having not been part of the auditions or rehearsals, and seeing the spectacular end result whilst also appreciating the journey the students had been on and how much they had developed over the course of the rehearsals. The staging was original and the yellow dresses and accessories heightened the relevance of images and the power of social media in politics. The contextless plot made us all draw comparisons in our own minds and wonder how influenced we are or how much we actually know about causes we support and say we believe in. The chorus cleverly involved us and judged us as an audience and the characterisation was both truthful and shocking at points.

Students involved in the production reflect on their experience below:

Jessica Asamoa, 6.2 Drama Scholar: “It was a wonderful experience to work with Evangeline and my fellow sixth form students. The play was one that really made us all think and reflect on current political movements.”

Rowena le Poer Trench, 6.1 Drama Scholar: “I found the experience of working with Evangeline so interesting, as she really helped me personally develop my understanding of characterisation through thorough techniques of breaking down my scenes. In this way, the rehearsals for the play were like mini workshops each week where I learnt so much that I can use in future projects.”

Cerys Jones, 6.1 Drama Scholar: “The Sixth Form Show was a great experience for any student, be those whom acted in it, assisted backstage or front of house or even those watching. The opportunity to learn new skills and develop, not just as a performer, but also as a person was abundant. A professional and safe, creative working environment was nurtured, helping the cast bond, and allowing for effective character and plot development in rehearsals. The production had the feel of a professional company, with collaboration heartedly encouraged, cultured by the amazing Evangeline, whose personal Bedales experiences combined with her wealth of theatre knowledge made her the ideal director. I’m very glad to have taken part in the show, making new friends, learning new skills and producing a fantastic play.”

Stella Miller, 6.1 Drama Scholar: “I was grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with OB Evangeline Cullingworth for the Sixth Form Show. A small and intimate group of 11 of us and a brilliant crew worked closely for just over a month to pull together our adaptation of Image of an Unknown Young Woman by Elinor Cook. It was a riveting and insightful experience, and one I shall never forget. From the costumes to the blocking, everything was systematically thought through and discussed, with each and every cast member having an input. It was particularly fun to compose a series of teaser images and posters to display around the school. The whole experience felt so professional, as though it were a West End piece of academic theatre; it was worth all the ‘all in’ weekends! A huge thank you to Evangeline and Joanne for orchestrating a show that was enjoyed by both the audience and the performers and really captured and projected the true essence of the arts at Bedales.”

Match report: Girls’ Second XI Hockey v Alton School

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

The late Wednesday afternoon fixture saw the girls’ second XI back in action. The opposition was a strong Alton side who had the majority of the attacking play in the first half. However, they were kept at bay for long periods due to the goalkeeping of Tilda Gellatly, who had shown incredible commitment to the Bedales hockey programme by playing for the first XI in the afternoon before travelling back to fill a slot in the second XI, which was wonderful to see.

Alton were deservedly 2-0 up at half-time but a positive team talk and approach in the second half saw the Bedales side come out fighting. Forward running from Sage Bidwell and Izzy Land always meant that the Bedales side had an attacking threat; they were ably supported by the impressive Ava Sender Logan alongside the hard-working and influential Katie Mansbridge and Lula Goldring. 

Despite the best efforts of full back Maya Cressman, the Alton side ran in three late goals to finish 5-0 winners, a score not fully reflective of just how close the game had been. A really valuable game in terms of development for the team and plenty to take into next week’s game.

Match report: Girls’ First XI Hockey v Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS)

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

The girls’ first XI were back in action on Wednesday. Although the team were high in confidence after their success at the Hampshire Trophy Tournament, they knew they were facing a tough opposition in PGS.

The Bedales side were quick to adapt to the bouncy, water-based pitch at HMS Temeraire and made a lot of the early attacking advances, forcing a number of attacking short corners and it was from one of these that the incredibly influential Alisia Leach put the side 1-0 up. However, an unfortunate head injury to Rebekah Leach threw a spanner in the works, and despite some reshuffling, Bedales found themselves 2-1 down at half-time.

Further reshuffling involving the adaptable and impressive Leela Walton gave the Bedales team more footing in the game and it was incredibly evenly matched until a controversial PGS goal once again threw the Bedales side out of kilter, before two quick PGS goals put the game out of reach.

However, huge credit to the Bedales girls who bounced back once again, finishing the half as the strongest team and ending with a thoroughly deserved goal for Kamaya Nelson-Clayton. A special mention must also go to Anna Tasker, who came into the side late in the day and proved that she is more than capable of playing at this level.

Girls’ First XI Hockey in the Hampshire Hockey U18 Trophy Tournament

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday, the incredibly committed girls’ first XI hockey team travelled to Southampton Sports Centre to take part in the Hampshire Hockey U18 Trophy Tournament. After a sporadic two years of hockey, this was always going to be a tough ask, both physically and mentally. Things got off to a tough start as the Bedales side faced a direct and powerful KES Southampton side and were unfortunate to lose the influential Alisia Leach when a rogue lifted ball struck her ankle. The first game ended in a 2-0 loss for Bedales.

It is, however, a huge testament to this side that they regrouped. Alisia returned to play through injury and the team were determined to bounce back, Ruby Cole sparking some inspiration with her tough tackling, timely interceptions and accuracy when building an attack. The next two games followed very similar patterns: a lot of attacking possession but not enough finesse in the final third and opposition always a threat on the counter attack. However, this was consistently dealt with by full backs Shanklin Mackillop-Hall (fresh from completing her Gold DofE) and captain Esther Stewart striking the right balance of being calm in possession and combative when looking to win tackles and make interceptions and an emergence of Gala Pearson winning a lot of ball high up the pitch. This resulted in two 1-0 victories and put the Bedales side back in chance of coming in the top two places.

The fourth game was a 1-1- draw in a competitive and enthralling game vs Lord Wandsworth College B. Confidence was now flowing through the Bedales side, with Rebekah Leach pulling the strings from centre half and Leela Walton dominating in possession.

The final game vs Peter Symonds’ second XI was by far the best performance. The deadlock was broken from a deflected short corner strike that was brought down neatly by Rebekah and calmly slotted home and this was followed up with a thoroughly deserved hat-trick for the ever threatening Mathilda Douglas, who was assisted greatly by the driving forward runs of Sasha Arney and unbelievable work rate jumping back and winning the ball from Kamaya Nelson Clayton.

The side have now qualified to go through to the regional rounds in November. This is only the second time ever that a Bedales side has reached this level and the team should be incredibly proud of themselves.

Adventure @ Bedales

Rob Reynolds, Director of External Relations and DofE Manager

I write this from Dartmoor on a sixth form Gold Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) award expedition. Thirteen students are enjoying good weather and the beautiful surroundings of this national park which is the largest and wildest area of open country in the south of England. Working in teams, students are walking, navigating, carrying their kit, cooking, wild camping, and supporting each other, under the expert eye of Ridgeline Adventures who provide the specialist training and assessment.

Bedales is proud to offer DofE which is delivered through the Activities programme for Blocks 3-5 where students can progress through Bronze and Silver, and the Enrichment programme for sixth formers to pursue Gold. Virtual information sessions are offered by the DofE for parents where you can find out more about the award and how to support a young person through DofE. Click here for more information.

The DofE award was founded by its namesake in 1956, and has become an internationally recognised mark of achievement. For many participants, the DofE can be a life-changing experience and a lot of fun. Students discover new interests and talents, and the tools to develop essential skills for life and work. Participants describe how they have developed character traits like confidence and resilience, which have boosted their mental health and wellbeing and helped them face and overcome personal challenges.  

The programme has three progressive levels with four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver, and five at Gold. They involve helping the community/environment, becoming fitter, developing new skills, planning, training for and completing an expedition and, for Gold only, working with a team on a residential activity.

As a Round Square school, Bedales has made a commitment to character education and experiential learning built around the six themes of International Understanding, Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Adventure, Leadership and Service. The DofE award has a lot of synergy with Round Square, both having been heavily influenced by the thinking of educationalist Kurt Hahn.

At Bedales each level is overseen by a DofE ‘leader’. To find out more, interested students and parents can contact one of the Bedales DofE team: Paul Beauchamp (pbeauchamp@bedales.org.uk) for Block 3; Allen Shone (ashone@bedales.org.uk)/David Mann (dmann@bedales.org.uk) for Blocks 4-5; Julia Bevan (jbevan@bedales.org.uk) for Sixth Form. I oversee the award programme, organise the expeditions in conjunction with Ridgeline Adventures and liaise with the DofE staff (contact: (rreynolds@bedales.org.uk).

Brain Day with Dr Guy Sutton

By Lily Brough, 6.2

On Thursday, A Level Psychology and Biology students were joined by Dr Guy Sutton for ‘Brain Day’. It was an inspiring day full of talks, ranging from the effects of drugs on the brain, criminality, brain trauma and the future of the brain. We even got to witness a live dissection of a sheep brain, exploring the different areas of the brain. The day showcased the far-reaching impacts of psychology and neuroscience and its relevance to many unsuspecting aspects of life.

The morning saw a detailed introduction to the structure of the brain, as well as the concepts of neuroplasticity and imaging techniques. This included contemporary studies on the effects of COVID-19 and the Abracadabra project, which studied the long term effects of cognitive stimulation in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. This was followed up by an informative look at the effects of drugs such as cannabis and ketamine on the brain. It was especially interesting to learn of the vastly different effects various forms of cannabis can have – THC causes cognitive impairment, while CBD can be used as a treatment for epilepsy, for example. Just before lunch, we had a look at various neuroimaging techniques. Students particularly enjoyed the vivid images produced by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), as well as the extremely complex connectomes being created.

After lunch, Dr Sutton explored possible explanations of schizophrenia before giving a powerful talk on the ‘criminal brain’. Looking at different case studies, we were able to explore the complexity of the causes behind crime and the debate of free will. This revealed the philosophical questions that underpin both psychological and neuroscientific research. After this, we had the exciting brain dissection, which gave us a chance to see the structures discussed during the day. Everyone was intrigued by the strange texture of the brain and enjoyed inspecting the hippocampus and cerebellum.

To end the day, there was a talk on the future of the brain, with the discussion of neuro-bionics and the impending fusion of the brain and technology. This sparked much debate about the ethics and morals of advancing research and left us thinking about the future of neuroscience.

By Pip Stamp, Teacher of Psychology

I was extremely proud of our students on Brain Day. To quote Dr Guy Sutton: “I always enjoy visiting Bedales. I was particularly impressed this year, given what has happened over the past 18 months, of how attentive and receptive the students were. They engaged fully, asked some great questions and equally, answered my questions with intelligent and thoughtful responses. Generally, a really delightful, attentive and polite audience and I very much look forward to visiting again.”

The Chemical History of Nicotine – Science Lunchtime Lecture Series

By Mary Shotter, Biology Technician

As part of the Science Lunchtime Lecture Series, A Level science students and members of 3i were joined by Dr Harry Pearson, former Bedales Housemaster and Head of Science/Chemistry, in the Simon Lecture Theatre to explore ‘The Chemical History of Nicotine’.

The intellectually stimulating talk began with the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492, where European explorers were offered a ‘fuming material’ called zikari, made from the leaves of the plant Nicotiana tabacum by indigenous people. Harry’s talk then led us to 1560s Paris, when diplomat and scholar Jean Nicot de Villemain brought in seeds from the Americas and introduced the plant to France. Paris Society was polarised by this new ‘magic’ substance, now named ‘nicotine’ after Jean Nicot.

From France, Harry took us to 1800s Germany, where nicotine was first isolated in Heidelberg University – its chemical structure being determined in 1891. After an in depth look at nicotine’s chemical properties and the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to determine the molecular structure, the talk concluded with a look at nicotine’s effects on the body, the work of Sir Richard Doll – the first scientist to discover the link between smoking and lung diseases in 1954 – and brought us to the present day with the introduction of nicotine patches and vaping.

Harry’s talk focused not only on the science of nicotine, but also encompassed many other topics, including stories of Bedales past, the difficulty of learning German and the witty quotes of Mark Twain.

The next Lunchtime Lecture take place on 12 November, when Dr Tim Mason of Portsmouth University will speak on ‘Edward Jenner and the Story of Vaccines’.