By Ana Simmons, Head of Lower School and Teacher of Ceramics
The Block 5 BAC Art students visited the Pitt Rivers and Natural History Museums in Oxford on Wednesday to draw artefacts from their collections. An important part of our course is for students to experience works of art and objects in the flesh as reference material, this helps them experience the scale, physicality and subtle intricacies that they cannot always experience on a screen or in a book.
The students enjoyed studying the eclectic mix of objects and have returned to school with a strong collection of observational drawings to support the start of their final projects. We are looking forward to seeing how they explore and develop these studies as they work towards creating their final outcomes in their chose disciplines, be it print, painting, 3D or ceramics.
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.
Boarding at Bedales Prep is something that is thoroughly enjoyed by the pupils. From Tuesday treat nights to weekend trips, there are always activities for boarders to enjoy.
To live together and learn from each other has always been a cherished part of our communal boarding life, and it enables pupils to feel fully immersed in the Dunhurst community.
This term, the nights have drawn in and there is a cosy and seasonal feel to the boarding house. As well as relaxing with their friends after a busy school day, boarders have enjoyed a range of activities, from dodgeball and table tennis tournaments, to trips to crazy golf and Flip out.
December also brought the start of advent and resident matron Alex has created plenty of festive fun for the boarders, including tree decorating and a Christmas activities advent which started with a game of ‘Pin the Antlers on the Reindeer’.
We offer flexible boarding options to accommodate the varying needs of our families, with full, half and flexi-boarding available. At weekends, boarders can choose to stay at Dunhurst or return home, with staff accompanying children on the train to London Waterloo or Clapham.
At Bedales Prep and Pre-prep, wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do to ensure we nurture and nourish our pupils so they thrive to be able to be the best version of themselves. We passionately believe that a child will successfully achieve self-actualisation when teachers, pupils and parents work in unison and are on the same team, the team of the child. Our children are not born with a manual, and even if they were, I’m sure it would have been ripped up and thrown out of the window at the first parenting hurdle!
This term, Dunhurst’s Head of Wellbeing Debs Baty has introduced parent workshops. They are a safe space for parents to come together, have a coffee and share thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. They are a supportive space where parents can ask for advice or simply hear other parents who are in the same boat as them. Somehow, it’s quite reassuring to hear that you are not the only one having trouble with a particular area of parenting.
Debs has three teenagers of her own and has worked in boarding schools for the whole of her career, starting as a nursery teacher to three-year-olds and working in a sixth form boarding house. Debs doesn’t have all the answers, but she is passionate about supporting parents on the road to creating happy, healthy children ready for life in the 21st century.
‘Let’s talk about…’ is a series of workshops that covers important stages and common issues in parenting life, whether a first time parent or not. The course aims to give parents information and step-by-step tools to create a happy home life, to manage those every day hotspots, like morning routines and sibling squabbles, and to help their children thrive.
Some of the workshops from the Autumn term include:
Child Development – building an understanding of the developmental drives of childhood and how to use this knowledge to meet the social and emotional needs of your child.
Motivation – learn how to motivate your child in ways which encourage cooperation and, allows them to fulfil their potential and build resilience.
Communication with children – learn how communication can be used to build strong relationships, help children manage difficult feelings, increase cooperation and build a culture of mutual respect.
Boundaries – strategies to help you set effective boundaries, which help children feel safe, and solve recurring problematic behaviour.
The Autumn term has been a busy one for pupils at Dunhurst. For some this kicked off in the summer, as following a tough selection process last year, they represented the Prep School Lions at the Gothia Youth World Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden. Once term started, we were straight into action as our Wednesday afternoon fixture schedule got underway. With so many pupils eager to represent the school this term, just under 150 fixtures have been played, averaging at 13 teams playing each week. In addition to football, hockey and netball fixtures, pupils have impressed in a number of swimming galas and cross-country events.
We are fortunate to have fantastic sports facilities at Bedales and it wasn’t long before we made the most of these with our annual schedule of host tournaments. These began with our U9 and U11 football festivals for local state schools, before the annual ISFA U11 regional qualifier, which sees the top two teams progress to the national finals at St George’s Park. In early October a whopping 24 teams took part in the U13 football tournaments played across the site. The final event hosted by the school was our annual U13 hockey tournament in which we were delighted to see our girls team come home with silver medals.
House sport has taken off over the last two years and we often find pupils eagerly checking the leader board in the PE department to see how their House is faring against the others. This year’s competition began with a number of hotly contested dodgeball tournaments in year groups, before we moved onto football, hockey and netball. The final House event of the term was the Badley Run. Pupils took on the course with energy and determination, knowing that as a whole school event, double points were on offer, which always significantly impacts the running total.
On a personal level, it has been great to see some of our pupils excelling in sport outside of school as well. A huge congratulations to Miles, Leo and Albie in Group 2 (Year 5) for being selected to represent Hampshire at district level in cricket. Congratulations also to Martha for being selected to play for Southampton Football Academy. Finally, a big well done to Evie, Annie, Marlowe and Annabel for their efforts on the hockey pitch this term which has lead to them being put forward for Hampshire’s Junior Development Centre.
Whilst many core sports have seen some real successes this term, it has also been wonderful to see so many pupils taking up the opportunity to progress their skills in some more specialist sports such as fencing and karate, offered as part of our activities programme. We eagerly await the start of roller hockey and cheerleading in the Spring term!
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.
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