Girls’ U15 Hockey v Alton School

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

Wednesday evening’s hockey fixture saw the girls’ U15 side host Alton School. With a number of enforced changes, this was a new look side and presented a good opportunity for some U14 players to play up an age group. It was therefore encouraging to see the Bedales side make the early attacking advances and play forward with confidence. After a sustained period of attacking play, Bedales forced a penalty corner which was neatly converted from the top of the circle by Iris Biles. 1-0 Bedales at half time.
 
As the game progressed it was clear to see that the new look Bedales side were becoming increasingly settled, working as a more cohesive unit – much of this being driven by the inside forward pairing of Tilly Wall and Clara Stannah. Having said this, Alton were not without threat going forward and on a number of occasions Bedales were thankful for the presence of Tilly Baty, who calmly dealt with any danger and regularly converted defence into attack, and from one of these she released the impressive Rosy Riley down the right hand side who accelerated around two or three Alton defenders before calmly passing to Clara to slot home.
 
The game was put beyond down inside the final seven or eight minutes as Annabel Peskett neatly finished at the back post to put Bedales 3-0 up. An excellent performance and a special mention must go to Ella Von Bodecker who performed incredibly well in an unfamiliar position, giving the Bedales a stable structure to work from.

Girls’ Second XI Hockey v Westgate

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday afternoon, the girls’ second XI hockey hosted Westgate School. This turned out to be a wonderfully close and competitive game that went down to the final two minutes.
 
The first half was well-balanced with both sides creating a number of chances but failing to convert: the central defensive trio of Greta Stillwell, Maya Cressman and Issy Robinson proving to be particularly influential for the Bedales side. Greta, proving to be the provider for the breakthrough as she won a tackle just outside her defensive circle and released a 50m pass to release Rebekah Leach who burst through the defence to calmly slot home against the talented Westgate goalkeeper. However, it was the away side that finished the half the strongest of the two sides, and had it not been for an excellent reaction save from goalkeeper Rosie Voyantzis, they would have drawn level. 1-0 Bedales at half-time.
 
Westgate continued where they had left off and made the majority of the forward running at the start of the second half and deservedly pulled back level with a finish from close range. This sparked new life in to the Bedales side, with Sage Bidwell and Izzy Land proving to be particularly threatening on the attack. This combined with the ever impressive ball carrying of Ava Sender Logan meant that Bedales had the majority of the attacking possession but struggled to convert chances or penalty corners until the final two minutes when a goal bound shot was partially stopped and then hit a foot on the line: penalty stroke. Up stepped Rebekah Leach to finish in the corner with pretty much the last play of the game. A really exciting and enjoyable game which was a credit to both sides.

Girls’ First XI Hockey v Tormead

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday, the first XI hosted an incredibly talented and strong Tormead side. The Bedales side were soon on the back foot, conceding two goals in quick succession. However, this seemed to spur them in to life and they adapted to the pace of the game, competing for the ball better and recognising the value of work off the ball. As has been a constant this season, Mathilda Douglas was relentless in her work rate up front and never allowed the Tormead defence to fully settle, but despite this work-rate and the occasional break forward from Rosy Riley, the Bedales side were having to do most of the work in their own half.
 
The second half saw another step up in performance with Alisia Leach becoming increasingly influential, ably supported by the ever improving Sammy Smith and the creation of a few more ‘half-chances’. But with an abundance of talent in the Tormead side there was never a moment to rest and Captain Esther Stewart was exemplary at the back – tough tackling, timely interceptions and a number of good outlets. Despite this and a never ending determination from all the Bedales players it was Tormead who, deservedly, took home the victory. The first XI will go in to their final game of the season next week with a focus on retaining possession and finishing an already excellent season on a high.

Girls’ First XI in the South Central Regional Hockey Tournament

By Esther Stewart, 6.2 and Girls’ First XI Captain

Last Wednesday the girls’ first XI had an early 7am meet to travel to Abingdon for the South Central Regional Hockey Tournament.

With one sub, new short corner tactics and a star addition to the team, we warmed up for our first game against Tudor Hall. We dominated most of the play but found ourselves two nil down at half time. However, a positive half-time team talk and a real focus for the second half we bounced back well. Sammy Smith providing the first moment of inspiration as inside forward carrying the ball into the D and winning a short corner, which followed an exceptional short corner drag flick from Alisia Leach followed by a deflection by Mathilda Douglas, put us back in the game. The opposition managed to get past the halfway line on a few occasions but being 2-1 down we stayed strong and energy levels were high. We finished the game with an exceptional team goal from Rosy Riley. Final score: 2-2.
 
Our second match against St Mary’s Ascot brought out our competitive side with some short corner battles. This was a tough game, with both sides evenly matched but thanks to our halves, Sasha Arney, Rebekah Leach and Gala Pearson, keeping the pace up and quick turn arounds we stayed strong and ranked up the intensity. St Mary’s managed to get six shorts in a row but the strong defence of Shanklin-Mackillop Hall, Esther Stewart and great saves from Mathilda Gellatly kept the opposition from scoring. The second half saw us fight back, winning multiple shorts but the whistle blew leaving another close draw of 0-0. Nevertheless, we were through to the semi-finals!
 
In the semi-final, Oxford High gave us a good run for our money, scoring a goal off a short. However, with strong forwards, we stayed positive and Alisia Leach’s famous drag flick secured us a goal in the first half. A few goal attempts – including Leela Walton’s powerful strike in the second half – kept emotions running high. Unfortunately, Oxford High just managed to get their second goal, sending them to the final, but we kept our spirits up and had no regrets, knowing we had played the better than ever.  
 
Congratulations to everyone for being part of the only Bedales team in history to make it to the regional semi-finals!

A positive approach to transforming lives – inspiration from Head of Gladesmore School

By Rob Reynolds, Director of External Relations

Bedales was lucky enough to hear this week from Tony Hartney CBE, Headteacher of Gladesmore Community School, Tottenham, who gave a Civics talk in the Lupton Hall to students, staff, parents and local people.

Gladesmore serves a community with high levels of economic disadvantage. Families face numerous challenges in their daily lives and the children typically display low self-esteem and start school with reading levels well below their chronological age. The school is a ten-form entry, mixed secondary community school, with a rich diversity of cultures and languages.

Tony explained how his own up-bringing has shaped his career and educational approach. His mother died when he was 10 after he had been caring for her; because of this, he was denied the opportunity to apply for grammar school. Instead, he attended the secondary modern where he was frequently caned and denied any opportunities to better himself. This, he says, made him “cry inside, but I never showed it”.

Tony’s education proved to be a defining period for him, deciding that he wanted to offer disadvantaged children better experiences of education than his own. He not only wanted to teach, but he set out to be a headteacher where he thought he would be able to exert sufficient influence to change people’s lives.

He threw himself wholeheartedly at his chosen career, volunteering for everything and working his way up through the teaching ranks.

When Tony took over as Head of Gladesmore in 1999, the school struggled to keep staff, only 4% of students passed GCSE English and Maths, and in the first week his deputy was assaulted by students. Tony looked beyond this and the deprivation of the many sink estates to see wonderful people. He felt they just needed some hope and confidence to be successful. This attitude has informed his approach ever since – relentless positivity and striving to build a community spirit.
Fast forward 22 years and there has been a complete transformation in culture and much positive recognition: an outstanding school, a strong school community, many role models in the student and staff body, excellent relations with the Police, and strong external partnerships such as their selection as a football Premier League flagship school.

Tony talked of the benefit of offering his students opportunities to attend boarding schools for Sixth Form. He now places around 20 students per year in a range of independent schools, including Bedales. He is a strong advocate of this approach which he sees as successfully instilling confidence and belief in young people. He described Bedales as “a total life-changing opportunity.”

Having now established the scheme, Tony invites students back – a virtuous circle of role models, inspiring younger students to believe they can also be part of such a scheme.

Hearing about the challenges facing Gladesmore students, and the transformational impact provided by boarding school bursaries, has given us at Bedales additional impetus to expand Bedales’ provision. The John Badley Foundation (JBF) was established by the school 10 years ago to be more ambitious with bursaries, and provide life-enhancing opportunities for young people who would not be able to consider such an education without full support. To date it has funded 20 pupils who have joined Dunhurst or Bedales. With the support of members of the school community, the JBF has ambitions to grow to help more students, so that by 2024 there will be two fully funded pupils in every year group from Block 1 upwards.

We are very grateful to Tony for visiting Bedales and talking so passionately about social mobility and his work to ease education inequality. We are looking forward to strengthening our relationship with Gladesmore so that we can continue to learn from each other as institutions, and assist Tony in his mission to provide life-changing opportunities for the young people of Tottenham. 

Lîla Dance workshop – perspectives

On 11 and 12 November, Abi Mortimer, co-founder of the Lîla Dance company, visited Bedales to deliver a two-day workshop for Dance students. Here, the students who took part – Mathilda Douglas, Anna Tasker, Phoebe Kane-Moss and Lucy Albuquerque – share their experiences.

By Mathilda Douglas, 6.2
Abi helped us to choreograph for our 6.2 A Level quartet, going towards the A Level Dance exam. On the first day, Abi took us through two warm-ups that we thoroughly enjoyed. One was all about warming up the back and legs, and the other was to do with floorwork and getting a close connection to the floor by moving freely. Next, she taught us three motifs, which were small sections of movement which are included throughout our three-minute dance. These were quite technically demanding for all of us, using different parts of our bodies in different ways. On the second day, we used all the motifs in a variety of creative tasks. Abi choreographed a whole group piece, also with the use of different choreographic devices, bringing the piece together using some very fast-paced music.

By Anna Tasker, 6.1
During the two-day workshop, we had to quickly learn difficult and original choreography, perform creative tasks on our own, build our stamina and step outside of our comfort zones. I had never done anything like this before, and I had no idea how challenging it would be! I gained insight into what it is like to be a serious Dance student, as well as the accomplishments and hurdles that come with it, which is especially useful as a student who is new to the world of Dance.

By Phoebe Kane-Moss, Block 5
Working with Lîla Dance took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to experience new choreography techniques. The piece we created gradually got easier as we rehearsed it and by the end, I felt confident performing the new movement. Particularly, it broadened my ideas in the creative process. Going forward I have now developed new ways in which I can choreograph movements using alternative and interesting body movements.

By Lucy Albuquerque, 6.2
Throughout the workshop we learnt new techniques in an hour-long technique class in the mornings. This allowed me to imrpove my stamina, as well as learn new movement that I can include in my choreography or use to develop my dancing as a whole. Throughout choreographing the group piece, I have learnt that it isn’t so challenging to choreograph and piece. This includes the fact that I discovered a piece can be built from a foundation of three motifs quite simply. The warm-up routines and group piece allowed me to widen my dance vocabulary as it gave me a different view of dance and a new and interesting perspective on how dance can be performed, taught and choreographed.

Dance companies are so important to dance students as they can expand a dancer’s knowledge and understanding of dance in general, as we experience with the Lîla Dance company last week. The workshop also gave us a preview into what dance is like full-time, as we were dancing from 9am untl 5pm. This pushed us as students because we aren’t used to doing that on a daily basis, however it was extremely rewarding. The two days of dancing was such an amazing experience and there was a lot that we learnt and were able to take away and apply in our dancing and choreography.

‘Impressive’ annual Cecilia Concert

By Doug McIlwraith, Director of Music

Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to all the students who performed so brilliantly at the St Cecilia Concert this week and who entertained a large audience of enthusiastic parents and guests who were clearly thrilled by what they heard. Highlights of the evening included a well-polished performance by the full orchestra of 45 musicians playing music by Vaughan-Williams and Shostakovich and some of our advanced performers gave solo performances: Shoshana Yugin-Power (flute) and Elliot Cundy (double bass) both gave impressive virtuosic performances of music by modern English composers expertly accompanied by Hiroko Banks. Joel Edgeworth (piano) then gave us his take on the jazz standard Polka Dots and Moonbeams accompanied by Monty Bland on the double bass, both performers working together to recreate this wonderful song in their own style.   

The orchestral sections then gave performances which included a highly enjoyable rendition of Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen Mary by spacing the brass and percussion throughout the theatre and used the side galleries to create antiphonal effects which the audience thoroughly enjoyed. The percussion ensemble introduced us to the world of minimalism in a complicated piece Short on Time written for the occasion by our percussion teacher Simon Whittaker which required deep concentration from all! The string quartet which comprised Lila Levingston, Samantha Dale, Saya Pulverer and Tiger Braun-White gave one of the most impressive performances at Bedales in recent years in their rendition of O Frederik, O Frederik, a folk tune arranged by the Danish String Quartet. This piece is hugely energetic and complicated but utterly captivating and they delivered it with poise and precision; a real treat!  

The evening was then rounded off with some precise and vibrant playing from the jazz band with the brilliant Mabel Watson singing Gershwin’s S’Wonderful and the choir of 48 singers finished the evening with several pieces including an up-tempo version of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies and a gospel version of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water. A particular thanks to Joanne Greenwood, Amanda Brewer and the ushers for helping the event run smoothly and to Neil Hornsby and Will Lithgow for masterminding the complicated stage changes. 

Music Exhibitioners’ Concerts, 1 & 2 December: Next week, our music exhibitioners will show off their progress in two concerts of solo and duet items in the Lupton Hall. We have put on a extra evening as we have so many performers who want to perform (a good problem to have!) and you can book tickets for the 1 December performance here and the 2 December performance here.

Celebrating 25 years of the Olivier Theatre

By Esther Biddle, Old Bedalian

I can remember such anticipation at the opening of the Olivier Theatre at Bedales, not least because we had all seen it rise up slowly over the months and years, but also because we could see how the building would change the scope of dramatic performances and drama lessons in school life.

I joined Bedales in Block 3 in 1994 and performing – both as a musician and an actress – was part of the everyday fabric of my time at the school. I was in Block 5 when I was cast in a production of My Mother Said I Never Should, which was directed by two sixth formers and was the first public performance in the newly finished Theatre.

Prior to this, all Drama lessons had been in the Drama Studio, Lupton Hall and the Quad – long before the big glass doors were installed – so the change for all of us was absolutely ginormous! I can remember the thrill of starting rehearsals inside the Theatre and going onto the stage. The auditorium felt so big, and we certainly felt very special and important. Suddenly the work we were producing felt like proper theatre. The beautiful carpentry and framework makes it such a gorgeous building to be in as an audience member, and as young performers we were so excited to have our own proper backstage area with mirrors, lights and a shower!

Everything about that first production was suddenly on such a large scale. Not only the lights and backstage, but the addition of Joanne Greenwood and her amazing sets and costumes took this production – and all those afterwards – to a professional level. In fact, I don’t think anyone can talk about the Theatre without mentioning Joanne. She revolutionised the standard of all the productions at Bedales, which matched the standard of the amazing Theatre itself. I remember high painted pink banners at the back of the stage going all the way up to the top of the doors and being so impressed with the scope of the stage and the theatre space. It gave us as performers a huge playground, and so many entrances and exits through all of the blue doors.

I don’t recall any of us being particularly nervous – most of us were so used to performing at school. Looking back now though, we probably should have been, as it was so well attended because it was the first show in the Theatre and many parents, especially those who had bought seats, wanted to see the new addition to the school.

The play itself looked at four different generations of strong women across the 20th century. As an adult and a mother now, I understand the themes and beats of this play so much more. I hope that we managed to capture some of them in our production. 

It was a privilege to appear in this first show at the Olivier Theatre, where I performed many more times throughout my remaining years at Bedales and beyond. Having your Drama lessons in a 350-seat Theatre is an amazing educational environment, and hands down shaped my career as an actress and musician. I feel so lucky to have been at Bedales when it opened.

Girls’ U16 Hockey at the Hampshire Trophy Tournament

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Thursday, the U16 girls’ hockey side travelled to Southampton Sports Centre to take part in the Hampshire Trophy Tournament. The format was a mini league with games 15 minutes one way. Things got off to a good start for Bedales, beating Ballard 4-0 with goals from Lola Mackay (who scored two), Rosy Riley and Sienna Marcos Bancroft Cooke. The second game was played out in similar fashion, with Bedales pressing high and posing a constant attacking threat. The strings in the middle of the pitch were pulled by the incredibly impressive Rebekah Leach and Bedales finished 3-0 to St John’s, with Lola Mackay on the score sheet again, alongside Ottilie Douglas and Sage Bidwell/Rebekah Leach.
 
Ditcham Park were up next and despite a positive start from Bedales, the Ditcham side forced their way back in to the game with a clinical finish on the counter. However, Ottilie was on hand again to put in two goals, even more impressive considering she was now battling through an injury from the previous game. Rosy Riley finished off the game with a superb strike in to the top corner – 4-1. Island Free School were the fourth game on the schedule and a much tighter game ensued, the deadlock being deservedly broken by Rebekah.
 
The results from all the other games meant that Bedales final game, and third on the bounce would be against Embley Park, the winners of which would progress through to the regional rounds. The game was played at a good speed with both teams looking to attack at every opportunity. It was Embley who took the lead and despite some late high pressing, attacking short corners and chances in the circle, Bedales couldn’t convert and finished runners up in the tournament.
 
A fantastic day out and the team were an absolute credit to the school, both on and off the pitch. The effort and commitment shown was exemplary. For various reasons the side could only field 11 players and this 11 fought through tiredness, injury and some illness to finish runners up – really impressive. A special mention must also go to Block 4 students Rosy Riley, Siena Marcos Bancroft Cooke and Esmae Gordon who all played up a year and more than held their own.

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.