Thanks to the generosity of the Bedales Parents’ Association (BPA), this year the Design department has brought the Greenpower Competition – a significant and highly competitive design and engineering competition for secondary schools – to Bedales.
The Greenpower Education Trust is a UK based charity which gets young people enthusiastic about science and engineering by challenging them to design, build and race an electric car. Established in 1999, Greenpower now work with 300 schools, with around 500 teams participating in the competition’s classes: Formula Goblin (for children aged 9-11); Formula 24 (for children aged 11-16); and Formula 24+ (for young people aged 16-25).
As a number of Bedales students from Block 3 to 6.2 have a keen interest, aptitude and sympathy for design, technology and engineering, many of whom have previously expressed a desire to take part in the competition, we saw an opportunity to launch a Greenpower team – initially in the Formula 24 category – for a group of students to work throughout the year to build and improve a vehicle to race at nationally organised events, which are hosted at top race circuits such as Goodwood, Dunsfold, Castle Combe and Rockingham.
Our Greenpower team is open to anyone in school who wishes to participate – students and staff alike. As well as offering a practical outlet for students who have either not chosen or been able to choose to study Design, it gives students who are going on to study an engineering discipline at university a fantastic way to bolster their UCAS application and CV. The project also promotes cross-curricular collaboration, with the Physics department contributing time and expertise.
To get the team up and running, the BPA kindly funded cost of a complete kit to build a functioning vehicle, bodywork and battery charger for the vehicle, specialist tools and safety clothing for drivers and pit crew. This year we are learning many valuable lessons by rebuilding and improving a second hand kit car. Our long-term plan is to build a car from scratch to compete annually, continually improve our vehicles to make them more efficient and highly competitive.
We currently have a team of 12 eager and motivated students from every year group who meet each week to build and develop our car for the 2022 season. The first race is in April which we are on course to compete in.
The Greenpower Competition is fundamentally about producing an energy efficient electric car. It is ideally placed to promote and practically demonstrate the increasingly important and prominent issues of sustainability and the vital role of technology within this field.
Over the last three years, I have been working with a committee of local residents in Buriton to create a war memorial bench. The community in Buriton has marked the centenary of the First World War in a number of ways since 2014, which is particularly important because per capita the Parish of Buriton sent more men to the Great War than any other district in the Petersfield area. Sadly, research revealed that there were a number of casualties who died during or shortly after World War I who are not named on the village’s War Memorial; the bench project aims to commemorate all those who suffered and were affected by war in the past, present and future.
Public engagement, including a design competition for local schoolchildren and households and a ballot, resulted in an approved design for a permanent feature by way of a curved Portland stone bench positioned into sloping ground behind the existing War Memorial. The back of the bench will depict scenes of wartime activity at home and abroad, and I have designed these. An important milestone in the project has been reached as we have just received the laser-cut brass copies of my design, which you can see below. I am still working on a poppy mosaic to be positioned in front of the bench.
This has been a great community project, funded by local people, and the bench – which looks over to the Buriton pond – will be a fine place for people to sit and reflect on World War I and its impact on the community of Buriton.
6.1 Product Design students have been continuing with the first full project of their A Level studies: designing a learning space to be placed somewhere on the school grounds. This project was to be inspired by a notable designer and feature the use of two particular materials; each student was allocated a different designer and combination of materials. We were then asked to come up with conceptual ideas to be expanded upon at a later date. These would be represented by research and design work in our sketchbooks, a scale model and a CAD model using SolidWorks. Final presentation boards were presented to Old Bedalian Patrick Lewis, a practising architect based in London who is running the project alongside Bedales Head of Product Design Alex McNaughton.
Unfortunately, as we re-entered lockdown in January, most students have been unable to continue their model-making at home, so this has been delayed until later in the year. However, it was possible for us to continue our projects using Adobe InDesign and Photoshop along with SolidWorks from home on their own computers. In-house video tutorials aided us in progressing independently alongside our online classes and one-to-one instruction.
These sessions allowed us to create a wide range of impressive presentation boards, which were presented to Patrick. We each had a window of time to talk Patrick and Alex through our final design at the online group critique presentation session on 28 January, before we received feedback from Patrick about how we could continue and improve our projects.
My project was to combine the beautiful campus and the high-quality Music and Drama of Bedales into a missing element; an outdoor stage inspired by Charles and Ray Eames (my allocated designers), using concrete and plywood (my allocated materials). Other projects included quiet reading areas, sensory learning spaces for Dunannie, social areas and a library/café.
Patrick seemed to be impressed by a scope of designs produced by 6.1 students and we hope to be able to present our evolved and developed ideas, a scale model, and revised and improved presentation boards to Patrick in person later in the year.
In this week’s Art update, I’m sharing some work from our Sixth Form students. These pieces are part of the work set over the Christmas holiday – some are prep and others are the students’ responses to mock exam papers. While online learning comes with its challenges, Art lessons have been very positive so far. See more of the students’ artwork below.
Block 3 started their online Art lessons last week with a continuous line drawing exercise entitled ‘Messy Desk’. For this task, I asked students to draw a messy desk or kichen table, ensuring their pencil never left the paper. The students really enjoyed trying out this technique and produced some great drawings.
This week, we moved on to ‘exquisite corpse’, a method which was very popular in the early twentieth century with Surrealist poets and visual artists, who worked collectively to assemble words or images into a collage. I asked students to use this method themselves to make a three-part montage. They had a lot of fun putting these together and the results are really striking.
By David Anson, Head of English Photos by Andy Cheese, Teacher of Art
Last weekend, Greg Clarke and I ran a weekend activity for boarders making decorative Christmas crackers. Students have been participating in lots of Christmas craft activities at school recently – Greg worked with the same group of students pictured here before long leave to make decorative boxes for Christmas presents – and in many of the activities, students have been working to support the Winter Wonderland event that Katie McBride has planned for the last week of term. Last weekend, we made lino cuts with various Christmas designs and every member of the group printed a sheet of wrapping paper, with some making Christmas cards as well.
In this week’s Art update, I thought I would share the projects from my 6.1 group. Since the start of term, they have been working on 2D and 3D projects under the theme of ‘Dystopian Worlds’.
All of the projects are individually led, and students have been using a range of techniques such as using clear casting resin to make a stained glass effect relief and making mosaic panels, pyrographic panels (burning or drawing into wood), cardboard constructions and clay modelling.
The work will go towards their folio of work for college applications and their final exam grades and a display of their work will be in an informal show from 9 December.
This piece of sculpture was produced by Block 4 student Clemmie Pike. The theme of the project was ‘Portraiture’ and I tried to keep the ideas for the project as varied as possible. Clemmie spent a lot of time constructing a wire frame for the head and body. We then modelled a heat hardened clay into the forms. Once baked in the oven, Clemmie added the paint finish. The early end to the Spring term due to COVID-19 did mean that the sculpture has only now been finally completed ready for her folio presentation at Easter time next year. I was so impressed by Clemmie’s dedication to the project all those months ago, and it’s great to see it completed.
During the first week of remote learning, I wanted to extend students’ drawing skills using a basic theme of ‘looking out the window’.
I supported this task with a sheet on what to focus on when drawing – for example, concentrate on the foreground detail, or make the background more interesting. I also added more support sheets on perspective – one and two-point – if some of the students wanted to complete some exercises while we are working from home.
You can see some of the finished pieces of work below.
Going to Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire, Wales, has always been on my mind as somewhere I wanted to film, as it is jam packed full of puffins. I was fortunate enough to borrow a really great telephoto lens and a good, sturdy tripod from Old Bedalian Andrew Graham Brown, who went to school with my father. This made filming at Skomer Island challenging but enjoyable; trying out professional gear is always really exciting.