To mark the end of mocks, we organised a somewhat alternative sensory event on Tuesday night on 6.2 Flat. For about 45 minutes the welcome area was teeming with students choosing face masks, applying tea-tree nose strips and placing cucumbers on their eyes. Downstairs in the mixed kitchen we served hot chocolate and multicoloured donuts. Jazz music played, fairy lights twinkled and there was an impressive take up from boys!
A huge thank you to Rio, Jamila, Nesta and Arlo who helped apply face masks and gave advice and encouragement. Also to Jayne Rundell who ordered all the products we needed in advance and had the foresight to buy ribbon so people could tie their hair back. Next time we will make sure we have worked out how to use the diffuser so we can enrich the sense of smell as well as touch, taste and sound.
On Monday 12 December, the Bedales community will once again go to the polls to have their say in the latest Block 3 Projects referendum. This term, the issue on the (digital) ballot paper is climate change, with voters being asked the question: Should the UK government make a legally-binding commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions to net-zero by 2032?
Representatives from both campaigns will be pitching to the voters at whole school assembly in the Quad at 5.30pm on Monday. Voting will open immediately afterwards, from 6pm on Monday and will remain open until 2pm on Tuesday 13 December.
Taking place exactly three years to the day since the last UK General Election, the vote comes at a particularly important and relevant time – both domestically and globally – in the context of this debate. Just this week, the UK government approved plans for the UK’s first new coal mine for 30 years. Internationally, last month saw the much-hyped COP27 summit take place in Egypt, with governments from across the world keen to show they are making progress on tackling Climate Change; however, COP27 convened against the backdrop of a new global poll that found that concern about climate change is actually shrinking, with fewer than half of those questioned believing it poses a ‘very serious threat’. Here in the UK, however, voters seem to want more action on the environment from their government, with 63% of those surveyed in November saying that the government is not doing enough to tackle climate change.
Our two campaign teams have been working hard – allocating campaign jobs, researching their arguments, and planning their strategy to win over the voters. We challenged representatives from each campaign to put forward their argument to the Saturday Bulletin readers in less than 300 words!
The ‘No to 32’ campaign By Flora Meyrick, Block 3
The ‘No to 32’ campaign believes that the date specified in the referendum question itself is too restrictive.
Given that much of our economy relies heavily on non-electric vehicles and carbon exports, if we truly wish to become net-zero we should set a more realistic date that is actually achievable, such as 2050, rather than setting – and missing – yet another deadline that we cannot possibly hope to reach.
The UK government has already made a legal commitment to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Our priority should be ensuring that this existing target is actually met, rather than setting a new one that will not be.
If we wish to succeed in finding a way to reach net-zero, we also need to find better alternatives to provide energy for our nation. For many, the answer is nuclear; however, nuclear radiation can cause lung cancer as people may inhale radiation particles. We believe that the future lies in hydropower.
Hydropower is the cheapest form of renewable energy, and the most obvious choice for an island nation. The government should invest heavily in making progress in this area in order to reach its 2050 target.
Clearly, 2032 – now just a decade away – is too soon to get our country to net-zero in any kind of practical or affordable way. However, finding a renewable source to slowly make the switch from carbon to hydropower by 2050 is the sensible, affordable and achievable route to making the UK net-zero.
Vote ‘No to 32’ to help our country.
The ‘Zero Now’ campaign By Emily Cullen and Lily Maughan, Block 3
The ‘Zero-Now’ campaign believes that unless we start reducing greenhouse emissions immediately, then climate change – with all its damaging effects – will be irreversible. The UK government should make a legally-binding commitment to become a net-zero nation by 2032. The earlier we start, the more time we have left.
10 years may seem too soon, but the UK needs to set an example. It was the first country in the world to create a legally-binding national commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions via the Climate Change Act of 2008. This gives us a powerful voice and influence with the rest of the world. A reduction in greenhouse gases simply must happen very soon, and a legally-binding agreement commits both government and businesses to this aim, which makes progress much more likely.
Some key policies to reach this target include:
Funding more electric vehicle charging stations, and converting them to be sustainably powered (e.g. solar panelled)
Identifying, prioritising and adapting government investments in infrastructure and innovating technology to address climate change risks effectively
Assist businesses and large emitters in transitioning to being carbon neutral
Financial incentives for improved water and wastewater management
Construction of new sustainable power stations around the UK, made by carbon neutral companies
These are some of the many ways we can reach net-zero by 2032. Achieving net-zero urgently is vital, as it’s the best way we can tackle climate change and reduce global warming. What we do in the next decade to limit emissions will be critical to our future, and currently our target of 2050 is too far off. If we want future generations to thrive then we must act now.
I’m delighted to be able to open up this competition to anyone in the Bedales community. I’ve already launched it with students but I’m sure there are parents, teachers and Old Bedalians who would love to try writing on this subject. The winning poem or poems will be used as readings in the school carol service this year.
During our carol service we use a mixture of Biblical and secular readings to help reflect on the ideas raised by the Christmas story. As we are a non-denominational school, welcoming students of all faiths and none, we try to have inclusive readings which address the themes in a way that is accessible to all. We have used poetry by poets such as Levertov, Yeats, Rossetti, Bridges and Betjeman in the past, as well as poems written by Bedales English teachers.
It would be wonderful to include work by others in the Bedales community and so we invite you to send your own poetry or short-form prose to me, Lucy McIlwraith, at email@example.com.
Some ideas to help inspire you:
You can read the Biblical readings here and write something with parallel themes or a modern version.
You might like to write a meditation about the themes of Christmas in general.
You might like to focus on one of the following themes: The prophecies: You might like to write about a future we would like to look forward to. You might like to write about a vision of utopia or something our world community should work towards. Hope for the future.
The annunciation: Many parents find this a fruitful subject to write about – the hope, joy, expectancy and uncertainty of a new child. You can read my version of this here. You might like to write from a different point of view.
The birth of Jesus: You might like to re-tell the Bible story or write about the birth of a child of less divine origins. You might like to write about the birth of an idea or new way of seeing the world.
The shepherds and the kings hearing the good news: A more modern version of this might be based on the idea of publicising a great idea or sharing a wonderful piece of news with people from all backgrounds.
I hope to have the readings for this year’s service finalised at the end of November, so please send any entries for the competition before 30 November. However, if you find that you are still crafting an exquisite piece of poetry after that point, do send it once it’s ready and I can consider using it for next year’s service!
If you’d like some poetic inspiration, do book to see Old Bedalian Esme Allman on 25 November in the Olivier Theatre in Bedales – tickets are available here.
You might also like to book tickets for the Carol Service on 13 December as the church is small and tickets sell out fast! Book tickets here.
By Richard Lushington, Bursar & Clerk to the Governors
We are delighted to have completed the long-awaited refurbishment of the Covered Way. This was a difficult project owing to it being Grade I listed and it has had to be completed in phases, but the aim was to renovate and where possible restore to original form. See photos from the construction below:
Sadly, it proved impossible to repair the roof as the tiles were bonded from underneath so they all had to be replaced and it was this last stage that took so long. It has looked in a sorry state for too long and especially after it was driven into by a delivery lorry a few years ago. After a great deal of research by the architects, the roof tiles and lime mortar were chosen and these will weather as lichens find a new home and the roof beds in naturally. The underside of the roof has been restored using original techniques and the result of the care and attention paid to it is plain to see.
Every piece of the structure has been refurbished and been give some much-needed TLC. As we did with the Lupton Hall, we looked back at archive pictures to see how it was when first built, hence the removal of the brick in-fills on the north side of the steps up to the Lupton Hall, which were not there originally. We have also replaced the unusual and special oak gutters which have not been seen for a very long time since the originals rotted away. Keeping with the Arts and Crafts heritage of the Covered Way, the replacement gutters and their brackets were carefully constructed by the skilled team involved.
We are lucky to have such historic and special buildings in the Library, Lupton Hall and Covered Way. Ensuring they are fit for use by today’s students and restoring them to their original form may have seemed impossible to achieve, but we would like to think that we have struck the right balance and they will all continue to be amazing spaces for our students to learn and spend time within.
By Jake Heslop, Sophie Spencer, Bryn Griffiths and Jack Bowdery, Block 5
From 21-26 September, Block 5 Geography students visited Norway with Matt Meyer, Hannah Dennis and Henry Stoot to explore glaciated landscapes and hydropower as part of the Geography BAC. This once in a lifetime trip was definitely one to remember, with a multitude of challenging activities including fjord kayaking, hiking, lake swimming and, for the more intrepid, rock climbing and scrambling up sheer cliff faces of fierce waterfalls.
Nature constantly surrounded us, with magisterial mountains and ice blue mineral rich waters enveloping the small town of Odda, where we were based in Hotel Trolltunga. This was a varied trip which included visits to places of tranquil beauty as well as the hustle and bustle of the UNESCO World Heritage site marina of Bergen. The incredibly friendly people – and the overpriced airport food! – left an impression on us that will remain for a long time. We loved Norway and, now back in the UK, we’re missing the adventure and beautiful landscapes.
After competing in their first race at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in May, the Bedales Greenpower team took to the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold on 18 September for their second outing. Here, students Elliot Cundy and Lolo Gaio reflect on the experience, which has earned the team a wild card entry to the International Finals at Goodwood on Sunday 9 October. The team are now furiously tweaking and improving the car ready for the season finale and we are looking forward to another full and enjoyable day at Goodwood.
Elliot Cundy, Block 4
The Bedales Greenpower team attended their second race of the year at the iconic Top Gear test track at Dunsfold. Since the last race, the team had upgraded the car with a brand new cooling system and reworked steering. Due to a recent wave of illness as well as a clash of commitments, we only had two people available to drive – me and Lolo – between whom we divided three hours of racing time.
After our car had passed the all-important scrutineering, we were allowed out on the track for the first time to practice. Unfortunately, shortly into the session, another team’s car had rolled at the first corner, causing the deployment of an ambulance and halting the practice session for 20 minutes. Once all was clear, we started to learn the line of the track, putting down consistent, gradually improving lap times whilst learning the limits of our car. The first race was fast approaching, so after a swift battery change, we lined up on the grid for the first real test of our skill and car.
With 57 cars on the track, it was certainly a fight for space. I was driving the first stint, and was quickly learning that dealing with other people intruding onto my line would be a problem. Proceeding around the final corner, I was pushed into a cone by another car on my outside, forcing me to pit early to check for damage before letting Lolo hop in and take over. By the end of the first race, our battery was beginning to drain, leading us to place 23rd overall and achieving a top speed of 25mph.
Lolo Gaio, Block 4
Before the second race, my Dad realised that the nuts holding the wheel to the car were loose on both sides, which was causing the wheels to scrape against the car and make an unpleasant sound when turning. After fixing that, we changed the back wheels for the front wheels; the front wheels were larger than the back, which meant when swapped, the front wheels wouldn’t scrape against the car. Having a larger wheel on the motor also resulted in a longer gear ratio and therefore a slightly higher top speed of 26mph.
We started the race in 24th place, and finished in 11th, having overtaken 13 cars in the first lap! Our car was running well, and it felt super fast. At the end of my first stint, we were in 8th position and after the pit stop, we were in 11th. Elliot had a longer, 40-minute stint to save on a pit stop against the rest, which got us up to fifth position!
Nothing eventful happened during the race until the lap that Elliot was due to come into the pits, when there was a red flag. Two cars crashed one corner behind him and the race stopped, with Elliot right behind the person holding the red flag. One car managed to get into the pits just before the red flag, so he got a free pit stop. As we were speaking to the race director Vaughan Clarke, he told us an impressive fact – there had only been one broken bone in all 22 years of racing. With the ambulance out, we were relieved to hear that neither driver was injured and the race could resume after 30 minutes. Elliot immediately drove into the pits, and then I was out… with a dying battery. The car was going much slower than when I started and we lost the lead we had gained.
In the end, we finished 17th (10th in our class), which was not too bad overall. The race was an incredible experience, and I’m so glad we did it. Next time, we’ll add wheel covers and make the car more aerodynamic, and hopefully we’ll be able to make it a full race without the battery dying on us.
Discarded silk has been given a new lease of life by pupils at Bedales and Bedales Prep, Dunhurst this year. Off-cuts of silk from premium homeware designer Porta Romana have been recycled and used in pupils’ fashion creations, including garments created by A Level Fashion & Textiles students at Bedales Senior (like this bomber jacket by Gala Pearson) and Block 2 (Year 8) pupils at Dunhurst. The silk, which would otherwise be thrown away, is rescued from Porta Romana by my wife Sian, who has worked for the Farnham-based company for four years.
See photos of the garments created with the silk below.
On Thursday, students and staff came together for Garrett Day, our Summer term community day named after Amy Garrett Badley, one of the key figures in the founding of the school. Amy was a suffragist and the cousin of Millicent Garrett Fawcett and was, we believe, instrumental in ensuring the school was co-educational when almost no other public schools were. United by the theme of a freedom to learn, we created a day of learning away from conventional classroom structures, giving everyone the opportunity to discover and create something new and to enjoy the freedom and liberty we all have to learn in our school.
Activities included writing and recording (suitably edgy) protest music (and accompanying music videos, which you can watch here), building a Blooklet, creating art with chemical indicators, exploring historical events in poetry, investigating and designing an individual fitness programme, animating Newton’s Three Laws, producing art inspired by the outdoors and even creating a new language.
Students in Kirsten McLintock’s group was joined by visiting author Winnie Mi Li, who came to discuss gender-based violence and feminist activism, in honour of Amy Garrett Badley herself. Students were fascinated by Winnie’s own story which can be viewed in her TED talk here, whilst learning how to create characters and write a collective poem. Winnie’s new book, Complicit, is published this week.
The day culminated in an exhibition in the Library, coordinated by Head of Design Alex McNaughton, which showcased everyone’s creative efforts. The exhibition will also be available to view on Parents’ Day to allow parents to share in the students’ achievements. Thank you to everyone who made the day a success.
On Tuesday evening, a group of pupils ranging from Block 3 to Sixth Form had the opportunity to discuss eco-critical approaches to reading literature with Will Goldsmith as part of the 3i programme. Will was kind enough to host the chat at his house, giving an intimate atmosphere similar to what we might expect later in life at university tutorials. Having shared a tasty variety of Domino’s pizzas and wedges, we made ourselves comfortable on the sofas in Will’s living room – the walls lined with an impressive array of books and the lit fireplace keeping us warm – and began our discussion, with The Lost Words: Spell Sounds adding to the eco-centric ambiance of the evening.
Taking us right through from the idyllic Garden of Eden described in the Bible to Wordsworth’s romantic view of London in Composed Upon Westminster Bridge to Ursula Le Guin’s post-apocalyptic wasteland explored in The World for World is Forest. I was particularly impressed by the diversity of the literary extracts Will had selected, as we were able to hold an eco-critical lens up to poetry and prose written throughout time from a wide range of different ethnic, gender and sexuality-based frames of reference. Moreover, looking at how ecosystems and the natural world are presented and conveyed in different pieces of literature, and how this has evolved throughout time, provided me with a fascinating insight into an aspect I had never properly considered while reading.
Most interesting to me, however, was the point of our discussion where Will spoke to us about ecofeminist criticism, a way of reading natural imagery where aspects of the wilderness are given stereotypically feminine traits and categorised into a traditional gender binary system, with Armitage’s Chainsaw Versus the Pampas Grass (one of the poems in our A Level anthology) immediately springing to mind when this topic arose.
Overall, it was a real pleasure to be able to converse in such close proximity post-COVID – especially with pupils from other year groups who I would not usually have the opportunity to exchange intellectual thoughts with – and I left Will’s house with a greater appreciation for the world around me and a desire to look back with an eco-critical eye at some of my favourite pieces of literature. A huge thank you to Will for hosting, my peers for attending and contributing to such a fascinating discussion, and to Jess Warren for organising the 3i events.
Last Saturday 23 singers from the chamber choir joined the choir of Somerville College Oxford to sing choral contemplation. Somerville College is a little different from other Oxbridge colleges as although they have a chapel, they are non-denominational, which means the services are not religious but are a bit like the Jaws we have at Bedales. In fact, there are many similarities between our two communities and we share many of the same values, which meant that we felt quite at home when we arrived.
The choirs sang a challenging programme of music depicting the passing of the hours throughout the day, from the darkness before the dawn to daybreak, noon and evening. Block 5 student Joel Edgeworth started the service with a piano solo based on the jazz standard Stella by Starlight, and then the combined choirs sang Sure on this Shining Night by the American composer Morten Lauridsen, O Radiant Dawn by the Scottish composer James MacMillan, Silent Noon (with a stunning solo by Florence Pohlschmidt) by Vaughan Williams, My Spirit Sang all Day by Old Bedalian parent Gerald Finzi, before finishing with Evening Hymn by the Victorian composer Henry Balfour-Gardiner.
The music was interspersed with poetry readings of works by Shakespeare, Gerard Manly Hopkins, Jenny Joseph, Eleanor Wilner and Emily Dickinson, and Joel and Block 4 student Siena Marcos Bancroft Cooke performed these with confidence. Will Goldsmith also gave a reading and sang with choirs alongside Natalie and Doug, and many thanks to Matilda McMorrow for accompanying us on the trip.
It was inspiring to sing with the Somerville undergraduates and we had a chance to talk to them over coffee and find out a bit more about college life. For all those thinking about choosing a university, it was good to reflect on how a community supports its students and the intimate confines of Somerville College reminded us of the supportive community we have here at Bedales.
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