Wednesday was the first competitive hockey fixture of the season with the Block 3 side (pictured above) taking on Block 4. Both sides had started to show some good improvement during their training sessions, so this game arrived at a perfect time and the girls did not disappoint.
A competitive game in the best sense of the word saw both teams play with attacking intent and impressive levels of intensity, but ultimately it was the Block 4s’ ability to retain more possession and a better understanding of their team structure that saw them home as deserved winners. However, a re-match is in the pipeline, and with more exposure to the 11-a-side version of the game, it is likely that the Block 3s will pose an increasing level of challenge.
As the nights draw in and we all remember the reason for the winter festivals that feature lots of fire and warmth, it’s time for the English department to spread some cheer, as we did at the Block 3 Fireside Night last Friday. This is an evening event, at which students and staff are invited to perform memorised poetry, stories and songs in the great hall of the Bedales Dining Room, lit only by fire from the enormous fireplace and a few candles. As it is difficult to photograph an event held in near total darkness, it must retain its mystery, but here is what it’s all about…
The students had been asked to think about life without phones, TVs and electricity, and what homegrown entertainment would look like without those things. Before the Fireside Night, Bedales English teachers had shared their own feelings about performance and how nerve-wracking it generally is. I had also been to the Block 3 assembly to reassure students that no one would be looking for perfection in this kind of performance, and remind them that we all need to forget what we see on our screens everyday, as it is not a fair representation of a live performance.
So, with the fire crackling and candles twinkling, students arrived at a dark hall last Friday to recreate the kind of entertainment enjoyed by our ancestors. Julia started the evening with a haunting rendition of Where the Boats Go by Robert Lewis Stevenson and then introduced her students: Ivan reciting a Robert Frost poem called Nothing Gold Can Stay and Grace with Babysitting by Gillian Clarke.
The bravery of these first performances was a wonderful catalyst for the others. Later on – having decided they were brave enough – others from Julia’s class also performed: Freya, with Anne Hathaway by Carol Ann Duffy and Lotty, who chose a powerful poem about Greta Thumberg. Our special guest, Clive, spoke the words of an ’80s rock ballad, making them far more profound in the process, and was, of course, cheered to the rafters.
Mary-Liz’s stand-out performances were from Caspar with Do Not Go Gentle by Dylan Thomas, which was impressive in its sophistication, and Seb, who confidently gave us two contrasting poems – one about death and a comic piece written by himself. As head of department, David might be expected to give the most impressive performance of all but, with terrible irony, his carefully rehearsed speech from Hamlet (in which the title character muses on the excellence of human-kind) flew out of his head. Thankfully, his students made up for his memory loss with faultless performances including raucous group singing from Bay, Leo and Kit.
Louise’s rendition of The Raven was followed by some keen performances from her class. Eliza performed Leisure by WH Davis, fully exploring the poignancy of the poem through her interpretation; Sienna gave a powerful version of one of her favourite poems, A Day by Emily Dickenson with confidence and poise; Hendrix lifted our spirits with his confident performance of the amusing poem, The Little Turtle by Vachel Lindsay and Alex approached the task with his signature confidence and performed his poem to great applause.
My own class was represented by Shoshana and Xander, both performing classics of the nonsense genre, The Jabberwocky and The Jumblies which provided welcome relief, I’m sure, after my own version of Jolene, a song I might not have performed quite as well as Dolly Parton herself, though not for want of practice. Jen’s classes were last with honourable mention going in particular to Oscar and his hilarious performance of My New Pet and Roan’s stirring and dramatic version of Dulce et Decorum est.
The evening was rounded off with a soulful Let it Be from Zeb, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar which gave us all a wonderful atmosphere to go out on.
Please do take the opportunity to ask students about their experience of the Fireside Night – they were an amazing and appreciative audience and deserve praise for this as well as their bravery in performing.
With the necessary precautions in place, the first tentative steps were taken to get some competitive sport up and running this week, starting with a hugely enjoyable Block 5 v Block 4 football match. Cheered on by a small number of good humoured spectators, the more direct style of play of Block 4 looked like it might create an early breakthrough, but they were denied by some fine goalkeeping and dogged defending. As the match progressed, the more posession based style of Block 5 became more dominant, and with some fine team play and a few longer range efforts, they gained a deserved lead. The best moments of the matches both involved Danilo supplying two pinpoint crosses to Connor to finish confidently from close range. Huge credit to Block 4 for their determination throughout the match.
The Block 4 v Block 3 football match also proved to be quite a showstopper. A large crowd including cheerleaders were witness to a number of high quality goals and some very slick and accurate passing, particularly from the Block 3s. The older students ultimately ran out comfortable winners but I think they would be the first to agree that Block 3 have some exciting talent and the potential to be a very potent force.
Block 5 v Sixth Form basketball was up next. The key question was how big a factor was the small bench of the Sixth Form was going to affect their ability to compete through all four quarters against the considerable depth of talent available to Block 5. The answer was pretty well, but Block 5 proved to be a defensively more organised unit and far more able to execute an effective fast break. The Sixth Form countered this by dominating the boards and winning the ‘inside game’. Ultimately, the Block 5 style and larger bench was victorious but the Sixth Form will feel confident in the rematch when they are bolstered by the return of some key absentees.
In the five weeks before half term, Block 3 students were engaged in a project for Biology, researching an ecosystem. They chose their own ecosystems, which ranged from rainforests to cold deserts, coral reefs to wetlands. They were asked to identify three habitats within their ecosystem, to look at the biotic and abiotic factors affecting each habitat, and then finally to look at the adaptations of three organisms within each habitat.
The project enabled students to be independent in their learning and to be creative. They learnt research skills and the need to reference the websites that they used. Those who looked at the marking criteria carefully performed really well. The projects were presented as PowerPoints, word documents, posters and even a website (which can be accessed here).
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.
Every year around 200,000 students from the UK take part in the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge and the top-scoring 40% of participants are awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates in the ratio 3:2:1. This year, 72 Bedalians were among the participants. Congratulations to the students who were awarded certificates, listed below:
Block 3: 7 bronze and 3 silver certificates
Bronze: Candice Kamal, Joe Cullen, Rafael Legorburu, John Hall, Katharine Cecil, Meiya Feng, Reuben Stannah
Silver: Archie Holmes, Dylan Hui, Izzy Land
Block 4: 13 bronze and 5 silver certificates
Bronze: Daisy Taylor, Mike Wei, Ben Greening, Connor O’Donoghue, Nate Shuster, Beatrice Lingham, Pim Rippinger, Anna Anikieva, Arlo Martin, Jac Wheeler, John Wentworth-Stanley, Teo Sydow-Elias, Rowena le Poer Trench
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.
On 11 October, Block 3 students were invited to attend and participate in a poetry event in the Dining Hall. Welcomed by members of the English department dressed in sheepskins and cloaks, and surrounded by candles, students and staff stood up to perform a poem they had learnt by heart in front of the roaring fire. Some took on Shakespeare and others invited the audience to join them in a rendition of a nursery rhyme.
Lilibet Viner gave a dramatic performance of Helena’s speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Sam Coleman told us what it was like to be a cupcake cooking in the oven; Clara Gardiner-Cox gave a moving rendition of Mary Elizabeth Frye’s Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep; and Miranda Robertson sang a luxurious yet spine-tingling version of Bohemian Rhapsody.