Bedales joins Round Square international network of like-minded schools

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By Al McConville, Director of Learning and Innovation

We received the very good news this week that Bedales has been accepted into the Round Square organisation. Round Square is an international network of schools inspired by the educational philosophy of Kurt Hahn, who was a correspondent of John Badley, and who himself founded schools based on experiential learning principles.

The Bedales ethos has a great deal of resonance with the six ‘IDEALS’ of Round Square, which are Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service, and we plan to use our membership of the network to learn from and teach other member schools about how to enact these ideals even more successfully than we (or they) currently do.

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Silver DofE practice walk – perspectives

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Last weekend, 56 Block 4 students took a walk in the countryside surrounding Bedales, initially guided by seven experienced members of the school’s Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) team. Here we share accounts of the trip from three students and one member of staff.

By Julia Bevan, Teacher of English

This was the first extended, practical opportunity for students to put into practice the basic navigation, pacing and map reading skills we’ve explored in our after-school sessions, and it also gave the students a chance to experience first-hand the importance of route cards, try out their kit and work as a team.

On Saturday morning, it looked as though we were going to get very wet in the afternoon, but in fact it was heavy wind and the onset of darkness that we had to contend with over Shoulder of Mutton in the nearby Ashford Hangers. The important business of putting participants into groups, and then reassembling the groups so that everyone was walking with at least one close friend, took some time. Once this was sorted, groups set off with a large rucksack containing emergency kit such as a high-vis jacket, head torch and tent, which they were instructed to take it in turns to carry.

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Sustainability Action Group update

By Jamie Thorogood, Block 3

You may remember the news that Bedales had joined the TerraCycle scheme back in October, when Head of Geography Paul Turner made an appeal for waste items that can’t be placed in traditional recycling bins. Since then, we have been collecting plastic pens, bread bags, crisp packets, toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes to send off to be ‘TerraCycled’.

This week, the Sustainability Action Group emptied the crisp packet bin, and we ‘guesstimate’ we have sent off over 1000 crisp packets for recycling. Thanks to everyone who has brought in their hard-to-recycle waste so far. We are continuing to collect these items, so please do bring them in; the collection bins can be found between ICT and Geography, near Bedales Reception.

The Sustainability Action Group has also been considering the impact of vehicles on the environment. Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) were the second largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions from 2010 to 2018. They consume almost a quarter more fuel and emit more CO2 due to being bigger, heavier and having poor aerodynamics. If SUVs were a country, they’d be the sixth largest emitter of CO2. Around 40,000 people die prematurely in the UK every year due to poor air quality.

Poetry and mud studies at Ashford Hangers Nature Reserve

By Lucy McIlwraith, Teacher of English
Photos by Matilda McMorrow, Librarian

In the English department at Bedales, we like to give students the opportunity to venture outside the classroom to gain a deeper understanding of literature. Over the last couple of years, we’ve visited Thomas Hardy’s cottage in Dorset while studying Tess of the D’Urbervilles; hosted a tea party as part of our work on The Importance of Being Earnest; enjoyed a midnight feast of exotic sensory delights to go with John Keats’ poem, The Eve of St Agnes; and held a fireside evening of poetry-by-heart for Block 3’s study of the oldest forms of English literature.

Our latest venture earlier this week gave a 6.1 English Literature class a first-hand experience of writing poetry in finest Hampshire mud. The set are studying Seamus Heaney’s first poetry collection, Death of a Naturalist, which includes lots of descriptions of water, slime and bogs. In order to get under the skin of poems that feature phrases such as ‘bubbles gargled delicately’ and ‘the squelch and slap of soggy peat’, it seemed like a good idea to don wellies (with thanks to Outdoor Work for lending some to white-trainered students) and wallow in the plentiful mud at Ashford Hangers Nature Reserve.

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Philosophy, Religious Studies & Ethics students visit Siena and Florence

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By Georgie du Boulay, Block 5
Photo by Jake Scott, Block 5

In early December, a group of Block 5 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) students ventured to Florence, Italy, along with Clare Jarmy, Al McConville, Alastair Harden and Nick Meigh.

On our first day, we took a coach to Siena, where we visited its cathedral and the Palazzo Pubblico, where we sat and discussed Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government – a series of three fresco panels which line three walls of the room in the palace where Siena’s chief magistrates, Sala dei Nove, held their meetings – with our upcoming utopia projects in mind.

For the rest of the trip we stayed in Florence, exploring the widely celebrated Le Gallerie Delgi Uffizi and other renowned Florentine cultural highlights, as well as visiting the Santa Croce Christmas market for some festive gift shopping!

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Changes to key dates for the 2020-21 academic year

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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.

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Senior Maths Challenge success

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By Martin Hanak, Head of Maths

At the beginning of November, 20 students from Block 5, 6.1 and 6.2 volunteered to sit the Senior Maths Challenge.

Around 80,000 from across the UK took part in the competition; 15 Bedalians were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates, with Aidan Hall, Maggie Luo and Annabelle Snell all winning Gold. They also qualified for the next round, the Senior Kangaroo, which places them amongst the top 10% of all the mathletes that took part in the competition.

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