New Pre-U in Global Perspectives & Research

By Abi Wharton, Head of Global Awareness

We are delighted to announce that we will commence teaching of the Cambridge Pre-U in Global Perspectives and Research from September 2019 in our vibrant Sixth Form Enrichment Programme.

It has long been a desire of parents, students and staff to introduce a sixth form offering to complement the BAC in Global Awareness which continues to develop in terms of popularity and success.

The Pre-U, which is suitable for all students, regardless of whether they have taken the BAC in Global Awareness, places academic specialisation in a practical, real-world context, being a seminar-based opportunity to research and explore a range of issues challenging people across the globe. Developing critical/analytical, research, and problem-solving skills essential to higher education, students will learn to place their personal perspectives in a global context, finding new inspiration and challenges for their studies.

During their study, students consider at least four topics taken from different themes. For example, genetic engineering, medical ethics and priorities, standard of living or quality of life, ethical foreign policies, or the religious-secular divide may be studied under the Ethics theme. Typically students develop the necessary skills to embark upon a realistic and meaningful research agenda.

Students will submit a presentation and an essay from their portfolio and sit an examination. The Independent Research Report gives candidates the chance to dig still deeper into a particular subject, or to cross boundaries by doing interdisciplinary work, or to make a new departure by investigating a subject not covered by traditional school syllabuses. Students submit a single piece of extended work on their chosen theme. Students can choose whether to take the Pre-U short course or to study for the two year Pre-U.

An increasing number of UK and international universities are providing statements of recognition for Cambridge Pre-U Global Perspectives and Research (GPR). In their view, Cambridge Pre-U GPR is an excellent preparation for undergraduate study since it gives real evidence of independent, critical thinking. This is applicable across all undergraduate subject areas due to the nature of the skills developed throughout the course.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

Global Perspectives Pre-U | Two year syllabus | Short course syallbus

Visiting Thomas Hardy’s Wessex

Last Saturday, a group of 6.2 English students visited Dorset to visit some of the key sites in Thomas Hardy’s life, to complement their study of Tess of the d’Urbervilles and some of his poetry. Here are two perspectives from the trip.

By Magnus Bashaarat, Head of Bedales

Thomas Hardy didn’t move far in his life; the distance from his birthplace in Lower Bockhampton to Max Gate, the house he built for himself on the outskirts of Dorchester once he had found success, is less than two miles.

First up was Hardy’s birthplace, a small cottage that has remained largely unchanged from when Hardy lived there with his parents and siblings. We were led there by National Trust volunteer Wendy, who led us through the woodland above the cottage and read to us some of the poems Hardy wrote inspired by the landscape.

The most ambitious part of the trip followed with our group walking through steady Dorset drizzle, following the River Frome across which Angel Clare had carried Tess in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, to Stinsford Church, where Hardy’s heart is buried in the family tomb.

Further walking across boggy flood meadow took us to Max Gate, and a meeting with Andrew Leah, Vice President of the Thomas Hardy Society, who lived at Max Gate for 17 years before the National Trust opened it as a visitor attraction.

Andrew gave us a tour of each room and described movingly the creeping melancholy that coloured most of Hardy’s married life at Max Gate, followed by the guilt that consumed him after his wife’s death. We sat in the study room in which Hardy wrote Tess, and then moved next door to the room he took over when he turned his back on writing prose and wrote only poetry until his death.

By Thea Sesti, 6.2

By walking from one of Hardy’s homes to the other, we explored the landscape and the place Hardy was so tied to and served as a backdrop for so many of his works.

We were at times accompanied by a National Trust guide who read out some of Hardy’s poetry in the Dorset woodland, which clearly evidenced the sensibility and attachment to nature he had from a young age and emerged so prominently in some of his later novels, like Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Having studied the text as part of A Level English, we were able to draw comparisons between the then appropriately damp and evocative scenery we came across walking and that in the book, making us understand all the more the area’s impact on Hardy’s life as an author.

We were thus able to retrace his life’s journey as he moved from his family cottage to Max Gate, the house he built for himself and moved into with the first of two wives, following the rise of his wealth and fame.