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.
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.
To fend off the global warming crisis, we need to appeal to the hottest place on earth. The sun’s core is 10 million degrees, but in the Joint European Torus (JET) at Culham, the doughnut-shaped plasma in the reactor consistently reaches temperatures of over 100 million degrees to initiate nuclear fusion between hydrogen isotopes and release enormous quantities of energy. The hydrogen is sourced from seawater, and there are no harmful waste products. What is not to like? Unfortunately, it’s fiendishly difficult to achieve.
The Sixth Form physicists visited JET last week, for an inspiring tour and lectures. The scientists and engineers explained the current developments of this futuristic technology, which has come a long way since its inception in 1983, and has inspired the next generation of fusion reactors, driving the plasma science and fusion research. Ground-breaking and innovative engineering solutions are necessary for the magnetic containment, keeping the super-heated plasma just metres from the surrounding vacuum at almost zero, to harness this potentially limitless resource.
Biologists in 6.1 travelled to the Apollo Theatre in London to hear a series of lectures by some of the country’s leading scientists as part of A Level Biology Live.
First was 2009 Nobel Prize winner and President of the Royal Society, Professor Sir Venki Ramakrishnan (pictured above), whose many scientific contributions include his work on the atomic structure of ribosomes. Ribosomes exist in their millions in every cell, and are the site where genetic information is read to synthesise proteins from amino acids. He began work on ribosomes in the late 1970s and eventually discovered their complex three-dimensional structure in 2000, with the aid of X-ray crystallography.
Next, Professor Robert Winston – who was the Bedales Eckersley Lecture speaker in 2013 – spoke about manipulating human reproduction, from his work in vitro fertilisation, through to regenerative medicine such as stem cell research and epigenetics, which may turn out to be the most important biological development in the years to come. However, he warned that manipulating the human will always be dangerous, uncertain and unpredictable.
Sport BTEC Level 3 Diploma is set to be introduced in September 2020, extending the Sport department’s offer to Bedales’ Sixth Form students.
The course will provide an introduction to the sport and active leisure sector by developing a broad range of knowledge and skills in a variety of sport related areas. BTECs are made up of a number of units that have a practical focus with supporting knowledge and understanding that is assessed through ongoing coursework. This allows students to build their qualification in stages and take responsibility for their own learning by planning their work, completing research and reviewing their progress under the supervision of departmental staff.
There, we were blown away by the richness of the art and the stories behind the famous paintings that defined the Pre-Raphaelite era of 1850-1900. Seeing the women of the Pre-Raphaelite movement’s stories being focused on was both a moving and fascinating experience. The realisation of how much poetry, art and inspiration these women contributed to the movement was incredible.
By Alex Beckmann, Alumni Liaison Manager
Photos by Abby Hilton, 6.1
The inaugural Beyond Bedales careers event took place on 11 October, when Old Bedalians Peter Grimsdale, William Miller, Claire Whalley and Kirstie Allsopp returned to impart a wealth of knowledge about careers in television to 36 students across Block 5 (Year 11), 6.1 (Year 12) and 6.2 (Year 13).
Students were delighted to hear from OBs with varying paths to success and the visiting OBs were equally pleased to spend time encouraging so many interested young Bedalians.
Block 5 student Milo Whittle said: “I thought it gave really useful insight into the industry and I would recommend to students to come along to one of these events in the future – even an industry they don’t have any interest in, because they will still get something out of it.”