The idea for my EPQ came to me in a Religious Studies class, when we were arguing about the line between a cult and religion. The arguments from all sides (all religions are cults, there is a line between cults and religions, and that they can flow back and forth, etc) appealed to me, and as someone who’s always been interested in social dynamics, I decided to do an EPQ on it, with my title as ‘To what extent is a cult different from a religion?’
Overall, doing an EPQ has been an incredible experience. Taking a title and a few vague ideas and spinning it into a 5000-word dissertation has been very rewarding. I’ve read books, watched documentaries, interviewed people and found research papers that I would have otherwise never read.
This week the Chemistry Department instructed Block 3 to construct models an atom and an ion as part of the Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table topic. What makes Chemistry such a challenging subject is that it involves studying a broad range of abstract concepts. Learning about atoms and ions is an example of this.
The building blocks of the universe are so small they are almost impossible to visualise. Therefore scientists use models to help conceptualise the mysterious quantum world. The model of the atom is ever evolving as scientists produce new experiments which question previously accepted theory. We believe model building is a necessary tool in science teaching as it gives students a more authentic experience of the scientific process while as teachers it gives a more detailed insight into what students have learned from this topic. In these challenging times of remote learning we also felt the task was useful as an exercise to get students off their screens and really let their creativity take over.
Joel Edgeworth has this to say about his model: “For my atomic model project I made a neutral neon atom and a positively charge Sodium ion. For my project I used pizza boxes and the stands which the pizzas are held on. I made two models for each particle, the nucleus and the electronic configuration, and I used a tea grain to show the relative size of a nucleus in proportion to the rest of the atom / ion.”
Block 3 have been prompted to reflect on ‘character’ from The Guardian article, The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months. For centuries western culture has been permeated by the idea that humans are selfish creatures. That cynical image of humanity has been proclaimed in films and novels, history books and scientific research. But in the last 20 years, something extraordinary has happened. Scientists from all over the world have switched to a more hopeful view of mankind. As we are living through this unprecedented lock down and as our theme in Wellbeing for Block 3 this year is ‘empathy’ I felt this cross-curricular article would resonate with Bedalians. The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty; one that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other, and that we should always look for what is good and positive in people. As a Block 3 student reflects: “I enjoyed reading this article a lot. I found it very interesting and I enjoyed the expectations vs reality of it all. Books make it appear as if people being trapped on an island together will lose all sanity. Good to know that isn’t necessarily true!”
For Block 4’s theme on identity this year we have been exploring self-awareness and acceptance. Dr Brene Brown’s research and teachings permeate the entire Wellbeing curriculum provision at Bedales, so it was opportune to task students with watching her two TED talks. Dr Brown is perhaps best known for TEDx talk, The Power of Vulnerability. Recorded at an event in Houston in 2010, the talk is one of the five most popular in TED history, with more than 60 million views. It summarises a decade of Brown’s research on shame, vulnerability and courage.
By Cheryl Osborne, Head of Careers Education and Guidance
Last Friday, we carried out our first virtual Beyond Bedales Careers event, covering the fashion and design industries. We are so lucky to have amazing alumni and parents who are willing to give up their time to talk to Bedalians about their career paths and offer advice to our students about how to maximise their chances of a successful career in their chosen field.
The students spent an hour and a half listening to and engaging with our guests; Zoe Berman (OB), who is a founding director of UK based design group Studio Berman; Juliette Bigley (OB), who had an interesting career path to her life now as a sculptor, before which she had been a musician and worked in healthcare; Matthew Shave (OB), an acclaimed photographer of 25 years whose lucky break came when he submitted his portfolio to a prestigious magazine; Alexander Bond (OB) and Fraser Park (current parent), both of whom work for The Business of Fashion (BoF) and discussed the alternative roles within the fashion world. Alexander discussed his role as a project manager, and Fraser, who is the Chief Financial Officer, wanted to persuade the students that even the most creative people need to understand how to make money in the ultra-competitive world of fashion and design.
By Phil Tattersall-King, Deputy Head (Co-curricular)
On Wednesday we held a Badley Day with a difference – our very first virtual Badley Day. Although we couldn’t be together as we usually would on Badley Day, students and staff took part in a range of activities, mostly away from their screens, coming together to share their progress on Microsoft Teams throughout the day.
It was a packed day with lots on offer – from a Chain Reaction activity, a Virtual Escape Room and Creative Lego, to Gardening, Running (with the distances achieved going towards our #SyriatoSteep fundraiser – see story above), a wildlife inspired Scavenger Hunt, Cooking, Creative Writing and Journaling. Georgie Nugent’s Living Lockdown video project, which aims to create a record of everything Bedalians have, also kicked off on Badley Day and we’ll share the finished video with you when it is ready. Continue reading →
Thank you so much to all who joined in our #SyriatoSteep challenge in this final week before the half term break. We have been overwhelmed by the support and energy out there. All contributions helped us head closer to the target – we thought covering the 4,066 km distance from Idlib to Bedales in a week would be a big challenge, but with your help, we had it nailed on Wednesday. Today is our final day and we have already surpassed 6,000 kms.
At time of writing, £5,029 (including Gift Aid) has been raised for the Rural Refugee Network and John Badley Foundation, two charities helping transform the lives of people who face severe challenges, and many of whom are in extremely vulnerable situations. Thank you to those who have already generously supported. To mark our successful endeavour, we are suggesting a ‘victory lap’ and final push on the fundraising, so do please consider re-living your favourite run/walk/cycle, and send a photo to share with others (to email@example.com). And if you haven’t got round to donating, there is still time to do so here. Listen to brief videos about the two charities here: RRN; JBF.
By Ana Simmons, Senior Day Houseparent and Teacher of Ceramics
With another Badley Day on the horizon, thoughts have turned back to the last one and all that we achieved back in September. There’s something incredibly rewarding by the way in which everyone chips in together to improve and enhance areas of the school as well as the way in which the work done on the day lives on for years for others to enjoy.
In the Day House we were exceptionally proud of the facelift we gave to our ‘Batcave’ or quiet room. Under the close supervision of Chloe, the Art Technician, students from all years spent the day covering the walls with a mural inspired by shapes and lines found around the Bedales estate. It became a collective masterpiece and makes the once dingy space now a fresh and vibrant place for people to escape to.
What a year to introduce the Pre-U in Global Perspectives and Research to Bedales! This is a course that allows students to explore any global issue using what is termed as the critical path – deconstruction, reconstruction, reflection and communication of any particular perspective.
Over the past year, we have explored topics as wide ranging as ownership of the Elgin marbles to the perceived role of the US as a global policeman. We allow our own views, or reconstruction of an argument, to be built on other perspectives, understanding the need to explore a whole raft of ideas influenced by cultural, economic, religious and ethical concerns to name but a view. The students have communicated their ideas in exciting and innovative ways, being at the forefront of remote learning by giving their assessed presentations on Microsoft Teams before the Easter holidays.
Since half term, the Houseparent teams have been hosting online ‘At Homes’ with our students. It has been lovely to catch up with people and hear how they are doing either locally, further afield in the UK or abroad. As ever, these forums of discussion are re-energising for us as Houseparents, and it has been great to get the students together in a social context. The students also found it helpful hearing from their peers as to how they are managing life in lockdown. We look forward to more virtual At Homes, although we would much rather be meeting face-to-face at Bedales.
To give you a flavour of what has been happening at my At Homes this week, I showed the boys in my house how to make poached eggs live – this was my first attempt too! I was delighted that some of the boys joined in at the same time, poaching eggs in their own kitchen. We all had moments of great triumph as we cut into a poached egg and out flowed delicious yellow yolk. We all had moments of disaster as eggs split, yolks went too hard and one even ended up on a laptop! I suggested poached eggs go well with haggis or avocado, or of course, Eggs Benedict… that will be for next week!
Block 4 English students have been busy this week creating scenes inspired by 19th century Gothic Literature classics.
Students were asked to prepare a short Gothic film, either presenting a scene from something they have read in texts such as The Hound of the Baskervilles and Wuthering Heights, or alternatively, create a scene of their own.
They were also given the option of creating a scene in other ways – such as this painting by Fabiola Paterno Castello di San Giuliano.