Careers update – National Citizen Service and Meet the Medics

By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor

Last Friday, Harry Draycot from the National Citizen Service (NCS) joined the Block 5 assembly via Teams. He explained what the scheme entailed and how they could get involved. This year they are offering two or three week placements covering outdoor pursuits, life skills and in the third week helping to plan and bring to life a rewarding community project. Considering students have been locked away from their peers and have lacked the much needed socialising that they would normally do, this scheme seems more important than ever to get involved in. This will enable them to meet new people and gain some very valuable skills, as well of course, having lots of fun. More information about what is involved and how to apply can be found here.

On Monday, five Old Bedalians – Luke Austen, Adam Osborne, Claudia Anholt, Ollo Catton and Molly Graham – joined a group of students from both Bedales and Bohunt to describe their experiences of applying for, studying and practising medicine. It was fascinating to hear how they had found the application process; three had got in first time round, one had to take a gap year and reapply, and one was unlucky enough to fall short of the grades required, but despite this they showed huge perseverance, first studying Biomedical Science and reapplying as a post-grad. After what will have been eight years of study, they are very keen to start their career.

Students were provided with advice about the importance of volunteering, for example in a care home, rather than just observing doctors at work, although the latter is useful for students to gauge whether they feel the job would be right for them. The different course styles of the five universities (Bristol, Exeter, Manchester, Oxford, and UEA) were described and, although there are some differences, most follow a similar structure with lots of hands on experience. Oxford was the exception, with three years pre-clinical, leading to a Medical Sciences BSc, followed by three years clinical. Research into what suits your own style of learning was strongly recommended. The pros and cons of intercalating (taking a year out to study for a BSc/BA) were also discussed.

It was refreshing to hear that the two qualified doctors are loving their jobs, and their ability to study alongside working, particularly during and after the second foundation year after graduating, when study time is given. This has led one to take on a Master’s in Global Health and Expedition Medicine and the other to be appointed as Clinical Fellow in Acute Medicine. It was interesting and reassuring to learn that there were plenty of opportunities for qualified doctors prior to deciding on a specialism and embarking on up to eight years of further training.

All the OBs said that they are happy to be contacted by students thinking of a career in medicine and I would like to thank them for this and for giving up their time to attend the event. Their bios will be available to students on the Professional Guidance area of Firefly and their contact details are available from Cheryl Osborne on request.

Global Awareness social entrepreneurs continue to make a change

By Abi Wharton, Head of Global Awareness

Block 5 Global Awareness students have continued to practice the art of social innovation whilst learning remotely, utilising even more their skills in campaigning, particularly through social media and internet resources.

Ava Sender Logan has been motivated by the very current topic of food poverty. Ava said: “This lockdown, we have been working on campaigning in Global Awareness. During this project I was interested in the topic of food poverty. For my project, I self-published a book to Amazon; 30 Bites on a Budget. In this book you will find my illustrations, a QR code to a video I have made about food poverty, a poem I have written and 30 meals to make on a budget. The idea behind this is was linked to the new school meals policy where school lunches are no longer free in the UK. I have made 30 lunch ideas which will feed a family of four. These meals cost between £1-2 per person. The book contains a month’s worth of cheap lunches. All profits from this book go to my local food bank. So far, we have raised £80. Please check my book out here.”

Kam Nelson-Clayton and Fifi Phillips began their research investigating period poverty in the UK, a very real issue at the moment, developing their understanding of sustainable period products and the importance of these being more widely available in schools. This led to a business relationship developing with a social enterprise providing sustainable products around the world, with a focus on supporting schools to provide free sanitary products to their students. Kam and Fifi have written a developed business plan and presented this at Bedales, proposing a partnership with Bohunt. This has gained traction and we are hoping that these products will be available in bathrooms around the school and the boarding houses before too long.

Millie Kennedy has been researching far right radicalisation – what causes it, how it happens, how to prevent it, and how to help those affected. Recently, and particularly after the capitol riots in Washington, we have all been on alert to the rise in far-right movements. Milly says: “I wanted to understand why this has come about and how to prevent it from happening in the future. After my research, I came to conclusions about what I could do.  I will be working with the well-being department to add to the curriculum – e.g. how to spot dangerous material online. I have also been in contact with Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, asking what the government is doing about the growing threat, and I will be working with Block 2 pupils at Dunhurst, teaching a lesson on what to look out for on social media and online, to hopefully spread awareness amongst the most vulnerable age group.”

Skylar Cazac has been looking at how to encourage the roll-out of microgrids for rural electrification in South Asia and Africa. Skylar says: “Approximately 13 percent of the world’s population currently live without reliable electricity supplies, and are mainly situated in rural areas of South Asia and Africa. Often, these people have to make do with old diesel generators that are expensive, highly polluting and at times very dangerous. With the rapid decrease in the cost solar and wind power plants and the roll-out of energy storage solutions, renewable energy powered microgrids can provide an excellent climate friendly leapfrog alternative, to enable mass rural electrification. This said, these systems can still be expensive to set up due to technology being used. I have been researching hybrid financing solutions to enable a mass introduction of these systems into areas in need as an important tool in the energy transition. The type of systems that I envisage would combine three strategies to raise equity in order to sponsor and foster the rapid development of microgrids: 1) charitable crowdfunding schemes; 2) a “carbon trading” platform, to raise capital from Western companies that wish to offset their CO2 emissions by financing renewable energy production in developing countries; 3) microgrid finance schemes for the villagers who would benefit from green electricity provided by the highly subsidised microgrids. I would like to collaborate with impact focused financial investors to achieve scale in this project.”

Filmmaking, comic strip designing, podcast recording and lecturing – English students embrace online learning

By Lucy McIlwraith, Teacher of English

As teachers, we’re very aware of the problems associated with screen-time and have been looking for ways to have students present their ideas that don’t involve toiling in the blue light of their laptops. So, over the last few weeks of online learning, Bedales students have had lots of opportunities to present their work in all sorts of ways. Here are a few of the things students have been doing with the English department.

In Block 3, students have been producing their book reviews as short films, some of which you can see here.

The Block 4 English Language students have been studying a variety of 19th century fiction genres and learning about what has made novels so successful. As part of this, many of them have been asked to make comic strips or Gothic films as a way to understand just why isolated castles, terrible weather and mysterious strangers have become such integral parts of Gothic literature. You may remember this is something we did with last year’s Block 4s in the summer term so maybe we have the makings of a yearly film festival at Bedales! See some great examples from Julia’s class here.

6.1 English Literature students are currently studying A Streetcar Named Desire and have been given a choice of performance tasks. We have some students writing re-creative scenes, re-imagining Blanche, Stanley and Stella in different times and places; some aim to learn and perform a key speech of one of the main characters with costume and full dramatic effects; others are working on mini-lectures about themes and ideas in the play such as how music is integral to an audience’s experience of the play in the theatre. 

Block 5 and 6.2 students have been preparing for internal assessments but they have still been able to get away from their screens to produce useful revision materials for each other. Block 5 have produced informative documentaries about something they know well such as climate change or chicken-keeping in order to practise the skills they need for paper 2 of their GCSE English Language exam.

Meanwhile, 6.2 English Literature students have been busiest of all, making lectures about ‘Othello’ either as audio files or filming themselves (in Jago’s case, filming his hands making meticulous notes!) 

The pièce de résistance, though, will doubtless be the now traditional Eve of St Agnes Experience which this year has had to undergo some changes. Unfortunately, we can’t recreate the midnight feast enjoyed by the poem’s characters Madeline and Porphyro in the same way as in previous years, but can still wish ourselves into their world with photos re-creating key scenes and poetry workshops writing verses we think Keats would have included if he could! Look out for more on this from Julia in next week’s Bulletin.

Building resilience: practical strategies in wellbeing

By Kirsten McLintock, Head of Wellbeing & PSHE

In Wellbeing, we are taking the opportunity during online learning to delve into the practical strategies that we should all have in order to cultivate a resilient spirit. Resilience is at the heart of wellbeing. Over the coming weeks, Blocks 3-5 will be focusing on practising the five pillars of resilience; fostering healthy emotional and mental health strategies for life; learning to manage the uncomfortable and struggles in life; mindfulness practice; and connection and support.

All five pillars of resilience are crucial, but in the coming weeks we will focus on developing self-awareness, self-care and mindfulness practice in our Wellbeing sessions. This week, Bedalians have produced a ‘Wellness Jar’ detailing the activities they are going to do on a daily and weekly basis (plus emergencies and treats) in order to be resilient, thus developing healthy emotional and mental health for life. Have a look at my Wellness Jar below. Students have been asked to share the contents of the Wellness Jar with their loved ones.

Additional strategies for fostering resilience discussed in our Wellbeing lessons have included the importance of keeping routines going – including 9-10 hours of sleep, meal times, exercise, play, cognitively stimulating activities, work and relaxation – so that days have rhythm and structure and are not spent inactive. Endless time without structure, meaning and purpose is unhealthy for the body and mind.

There are a number of resources available for parents and teenagers for mental/emotional health issues. Young Minds has a free helpline for parents (0808 802 5544, available 9.30am-4pm, Monday to Friday), as well as a useful website. Helpful information can also be found on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website. Young people can access support from helplines, text lines and online chat services at any time – Childline (0800 1111), Young Minds Crisis Messenger (text YM to 85258) and the Mix (0808 808 4994).

Professional Guidance at Bedales – Autumn update

By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor

This term has been a busy one for the Professional Guidance department. Firstly, students from Blocks 3 to 6.1 have signed up to the online Unifrog platform. Unifog describes itself as “a one-stop-shop where students can easily explore their interests, then find and successfully apply for their next best step after school”. Students in these year groups are receiving support from their tutors to access the platform and complete tasks, such as recording their activities and hobbies, during Tutor Time. As well as this, Block 4 receive half a term of careers sessions with me during Badley Time, during which they have used Unifrog to investigate their wider interests and personality traits, search careers that match their strengths, start recording their employability skills/competencies, look at CVs and learn about apprenticeships and how to find one.

At the beginning of term, Block 5 completed their MyFutureCareers assessments and interviews to aid them with their A Level choices. I followed up on this later in the term, offering students support sessions on Wednesday afternoons. Students in 6.1 have been shown how to use Unifrog to search for degree courses, alongside advice about what they need to be doing over the coming year to prepare themselves for life after Bedales.

Many 6.2 students have been completing university applications, working closely with both their students and Head of Professional Guidance Vikki Alderson-Smart. Students have already started receiving offers and a number have had online interviews for courses that require them. Sarah Oakley has been supporting overseas applicatons and the Art, Design, Music and Drama departments have been working hard helping students with conservatoire and foundation applications.

Work with each year group will continue next term. Vikki will start interviewing all 6.1 students to find out what their post-Bedales thoughts are. These discussions will be on-going with their tutors.

Whilst we would hope that 6.1s will be able to visit universities next year, we will also be advertising virtual events. Two such events are the UK University & Apprenticeship Search Virtual Fair on 27 January, featuring a vast array of exhibitors and ten vital webinars (students and parents can find out more and sign up here) and a Meet the Russell Group virtual event on 10 February. This event will feature all 24 universities and essential webinars for students considering applications to these institutions (students and parents can find out more and sign up here).

We wish you all a restful Christmas.

“Nuanced and detailed” take on Nick Payne’s ‘Constellations’

This week, Block 5 and 6.2 students took part in a four-night run of this year’s Autumn production, ‘Constellations’ by Nick Payne. Due to ongoing restrictions, two duplicate casts of eight performed alongside dancers in the Theatre, with two of the performances livestreamed for parents at home.

By Isobel de Gier, 6.1

Watching Block 5 and 6.2’s nuanced and detailed approach to Nick Payne’s Constellations – aided by Hayley Cole’s directorial work – was a joy. Between the many interpretations of protagonists Marianne and Roland, played by the electric Ella Peattie and captivating Nay Murphy, there were multiple humorous moments. The play then quickly juxtaposed those comical elements with tender and heart-breaking scenes of the characters’ future selves.

The play masterfully toyed with light and shade, enrapturing its audience. The experience was immersive and the audience laughed, cried and became enraged alongside the characters – with every smile, laugh, or frown of the many versions of Marianne and Roland, the audience was enveloped deeper. This is not only a testament to the subtle and refined acting style, but the beautiful LED lit set, the bewitching dancing by Lucy Albuquerque and Mathilda Douglas and masterful directing. If you did not see the many parallel universes of Marianne and Roland, you really did miss out. 

By Aria Taheri-Murphy, 6.1

On Tuesday, the second cast of Constellations performed an amazing representation of raw love, shown through the perspective of many versions of Marianne and Roland. The audience watched the variety of ways their love unfolded in the different scenarios, however as the play reached its conclusion all the main plotlines merged into one story.

Not only were the actors amazing, but the set was incredible, set on different levels with small light-up hexagons beneath each level. These related to the hexagon projections across the stage. Projections of drawings and maths equations were used throughout the performance and as the audience began to understand the characters the hexagons became very significant. 

The dancing added an exciting new element, this too was socially distanced, but this did not affect the quality of their work. Two A Level Dance students performed throughout the play, expressing the characters’ frustration, love, grief, and pain. The actors clearly showed these emotions, however there were times where the dance could truly show the raw feelings the characters were trying to hide. Overall, the acting, directing, staging and choreography was amazing and created a hard-hitting love story which didn’t need to be shown physically, much like the National Theatre socially distanced performance of Lungs.

Match report: 6.1 v Block 5 girls’ football

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday, the Mem Pitch played host to the inaugural 6.1 v Block 5 girls’ football match. Despite some tough playing conditions, both teams approached the game with tremendous enthusiasm and spirits certainly weren’t dampened by the weather!

The Block 5 team got off to a flying start, finding themselves 4-0 up inside 12 minutes. The fourth goal was particularly special, with a superb cross in from the right from Mary Whiteley that was met with an even better header from captain Romilly White, sending the ball into the top corner. The Block 5 side were a constant threat, with Kamaya Nelson-Clayton and Ava Sender Logan regularly making bursts forward, and Skylar Cazac a potent threat up-front.

Half-time was productive for the 6.1 side who regrouped and the second half saw the emergence of the influential Lila Levingston and more space opened down the right channel for the excellent Dora Wooldridge and Martha Clough. It was clear the relatively inexperienced 6.1 side were improving and starting to get used to playing as a team and creating more chances for the ever threatening Phoebe Esdaile.

However, as the final whistle blew, the Block 5 team had comfortably and deservedly picked up the victory.  A really enjoyable game with both teams eager to get back out on the pitch.

Match report: 6.1 v Block 5 girls’ hockey

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

Wednesday saw another round of internal hockey fixtures and the first game of the season ‘under the lights’. Both the Block 5 and 6.1 teams had been particularly impressive in training over the last week or so, but it was the 6.1 team who burst out of the blocks with centre forward Mathilda Douglas looking particularly threatening, putting her team 2-0 up within the opening 10 minutes. A high press from the 6.1s ensured constant attacking pressure and a cool finish from Fleur Donovan, followed by a completion of a first half hat trick from Mathilda, led the 6.1s into the break 4-0 to the good.

The game was in danger of running away from the Block 5s, but a re-group at half time saw a much improved performance and it was the Block 5s who opened the scoring, through the ever dangerous Kamaya Nelson-Clayton. Despite constant attacking pressure from the 6.1s the Block 5 side stood firm with some excellent tackling from Ava Sender Logan and always posing a threat on the counter attack from Zoe Lobbenberg and Kamaya. As the game developed we saw more and more of the increasingly impressive Lally Arengo-Jones and captain, Leela Walton.

Despite the improved performance from the Block 5s the 6.1 team deservedly scored again, once again a fantastically calm finish from Fleur.

The Block 5s are in action again next week versus the Block 4s. The 6.1s will have to wait a couple of weeks before they take on the ‘all-star’ team.

Block 5 vs. 6.2 Football

Jac Wheeler converts his penalty in the inaugural Block 5 vs 6.2 football match

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

Wednesday saw the inaugural Block 5 vs. 6.2 football match take place, with two contrasting match preparation techniques clearly in evidence. The Block 5s arrived early in a ‘fresh out of the packet’ kit and warmed up well as a team. The 6.2s took a different approach, choosing to conserve energy pre-game before being shepherded into position by player-manager Sam Wheeler.

This approach from the 6.2s paid dividends in the early part of the game as Guido Sforni slammed the ball home from a goal mouth melee. The game ebbed and flowed from this point but an over-enthusiastic challenge in the box from 6.2 Charlie Abbott left little choice for League 1 referee Greg Read to point to the spot. Jac Wheeler duly stepped up and calmly slotted the ball home.

Block 5 started to gain increasing control of the game and Jac Wheeler weaved out an opportunity to create a 1 vs. 1 against the keeper before coolly sliding a pass to Huw Wheeler to take the easy finish.

With the score 2-1 to the Block 5 team with 20 minutes left and with the threat of Ivan Ogilvie-Grant and Ed Marshall Smith up front, the 6.2s were never out of the game, but a sustained period of attack from the Block 5 team eventually created a rebound opportunity which fell to Josh Baty who drilled the ball home to leave the result in little doubt. Some fine keeping from 6.2 goalkeeper Theo Paul ensured the game stayed at 3-1.

Overall a competitive and enjoyable game. There are already calls for a re-match from the 6.2s so watch this space!

Competitive sport makes a comeback at Bedales

Block 5 v Block 4 football

By Spencer Leach, Director of Sport

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.