Girls’ First XI Hockey v Tormead

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday, the first XI hosted an incredibly talented and strong Tormead side. The Bedales side were soon on the back foot, conceding two goals in quick succession. However, this seemed to spur them in to life and they adapted to the pace of the game, competing for the ball better and recognising the value of work off the ball. As has been a constant this season, Mathilda Douglas was relentless in her work rate up front and never allowed the Tormead defence to fully settle, but despite this work-rate and the occasional break forward from Rosy Riley, the Bedales side were having to do most of the work in their own half.
 
The second half saw another step up in performance with Alisia Leach becoming increasingly influential, ably supported by the ever improving Sammy Smith and the creation of a few more ‘half-chances’. But with an abundance of talent in the Tormead side there was never a moment to rest and Captain Esther Stewart was exemplary at the back – tough tackling, timely interceptions and a number of good outlets. Despite this and a never ending determination from all the Bedales players it was Tormead who, deservedly, took home the victory. The first XI will go in to their final game of the season next week with a focus on retaining possession and finishing an already excellent season on a high.

A positive approach to transforming lives – inspiration from Head of Gladesmore School

By Rob Reynolds, Director of External Relations

Bedales was lucky enough to hear this week from Tony Hartney CBE, Headteacher of Gladesmore Community School, Tottenham, who gave a Civics talk in the Lupton Hall to students, staff, parents and local people.

Gladesmore serves a community with high levels of economic disadvantage. Families face numerous challenges in their daily lives and the children typically display low self-esteem and start school with reading levels well below their chronological age. The school is a ten-form entry, mixed secondary community school, with a rich diversity of cultures and languages.

Tony explained how his own up-bringing has shaped his career and educational approach. His mother died when he was 10 after he had been caring for her; because of this, he was denied the opportunity to apply for grammar school. Instead, he attended the secondary modern where he was frequently caned and denied any opportunities to better himself. This, he says, made him “cry inside, but I never showed it”.

Tony’s education proved to be a defining period for him, deciding that he wanted to offer disadvantaged children better experiences of education than his own. He not only wanted to teach, but he set out to be a headteacher where he thought he would be able to exert sufficient influence to change people’s lives.

He threw himself wholeheartedly at his chosen career, volunteering for everything and working his way up through the teaching ranks.

When Tony took over as Head of Gladesmore in 1999, the school struggled to keep staff, only 4% of students passed GCSE English and Maths, and in the first week his deputy was assaulted by students. Tony looked beyond this and the deprivation of the many sink estates to see wonderful people. He felt they just needed some hope and confidence to be successful. This attitude has informed his approach ever since – relentless positivity and striving to build a community spirit.
Fast forward 22 years and there has been a complete transformation in culture and much positive recognition: an outstanding school, a strong school community, many role models in the student and staff body, excellent relations with the Police, and strong external partnerships such as their selection as a football Premier League flagship school.

Tony talked of the benefit of offering his students opportunities to attend boarding schools for Sixth Form. He now places around 20 students per year in a range of independent schools, including Bedales. He is a strong advocate of this approach which he sees as successfully instilling confidence and belief in young people. He described Bedales as “a total life-changing opportunity.”

Having now established the scheme, Tony invites students back – a virtuous circle of role models, inspiring younger students to believe they can also be part of such a scheme.

Hearing about the challenges facing Gladesmore students, and the transformational impact provided by boarding school bursaries, has given us at Bedales additional impetus to expand Bedales’ provision. The John Badley Foundation (JBF) was established by the school 10 years ago to be more ambitious with bursaries, and provide life-enhancing opportunities for young people who would not be able to consider such an education without full support. To date it has funded 20 pupils who have joined Dunhurst or Bedales. With the support of members of the school community, the JBF has ambitions to grow to help more students, so that by 2024 there will be two fully funded pupils in every year group from Block 1 upwards.

We are very grateful to Tony for visiting Bedales and talking so passionately about social mobility and his work to ease education inequality. We are looking forward to strengthening our relationship with Gladesmore so that we can continue to learn from each other as institutions, and assist Tony in his mission to provide life-changing opportunities for the young people of Tottenham. 

Lîla Dance workshop – perspectives

On 11 and 12 November, Abi Mortimer, co-founder of the Lîla Dance company, visited Bedales to deliver a two-day workshop for Dance students. Here, the students who took part – Mathilda Douglas, Anna Tasker, Phoebe Kane-Moss and Lucy Albuquerque – share their experiences.

By Mathilda Douglas, 6.2
Abi helped us to choreograph for our 6.2 A Level quartet, going towards the A Level Dance exam. On the first day, Abi took us through two warm-ups that we thoroughly enjoyed. One was all about warming up the back and legs, and the other was to do with floorwork and getting a close connection to the floor by moving freely. Next, she taught us three motifs, which were small sections of movement which are included throughout our three-minute dance. These were quite technically demanding for all of us, using different parts of our bodies in different ways. On the second day, we used all the motifs in a variety of creative tasks. Abi choreographed a whole group piece, also with the use of different choreographic devices, bringing the piece together using some very fast-paced music.

By Anna Tasker, 6.1
During the two-day workshop, we had to quickly learn difficult and original choreography, perform creative tasks on our own, build our stamina and step outside of our comfort zones. I had never done anything like this before, and I had no idea how challenging it would be! I gained insight into what it is like to be a serious Dance student, as well as the accomplishments and hurdles that come with it, which is especially useful as a student who is new to the world of Dance.

By Phoebe Kane-Moss, Block 5
Working with Lîla Dance took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to experience new choreography techniques. The piece we created gradually got easier as we rehearsed it and by the end, I felt confident performing the new movement. Particularly, it broadened my ideas in the creative process. Going forward I have now developed new ways in which I can choreograph movements using alternative and interesting body movements.

By Lucy Albuquerque, 6.2
Throughout the workshop we learnt new techniques in an hour-long technique class in the mornings. This allowed me to imrpove my stamina, as well as learn new movement that I can include in my choreography or use to develop my dancing as a whole. Throughout choreographing the group piece, I have learnt that it isn’t so challenging to choreograph and piece. This includes the fact that I discovered a piece can be built from a foundation of three motifs quite simply. The warm-up routines and group piece allowed me to widen my dance vocabulary as it gave me a different view of dance and a new and interesting perspective on how dance can be performed, taught and choreographed.

Dance companies are so important to dance students as they can expand a dancer’s knowledge and understanding of dance in general, as we experience with the Lîla Dance company last week. The workshop also gave us a preview into what dance is like full-time, as we were dancing from 9am untl 5pm. This pushed us as students because we aren’t used to doing that on a daily basis, however it was extremely rewarding. The two days of dancing was such an amazing experience and there was a lot that we learnt and were able to take away and apply in our dancing and choreography.

‘Impressive’ annual Cecilia Concert

By Doug McIlwraith, Director of Music

Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to all the students who performed so brilliantly at the St Cecilia Concert this week and who entertained a large audience of enthusiastic parents and guests who were clearly thrilled by what they heard. Highlights of the evening included a well-polished performance by the full orchestra of 45 musicians playing music by Vaughan-Williams and Shostakovich and some of our advanced performers gave solo performances: Shoshana Yugin-Power (flute) and Elliot Cundy (double bass) both gave impressive virtuosic performances of music by modern English composers expertly accompanied by Hiroko Banks. Joel Edgeworth (piano) then gave us his take on the jazz standard Polka Dots and Moonbeams accompanied by Monty Bland on the double bass, both performers working together to recreate this wonderful song in their own style.   

The orchestral sections then gave performances which included a highly enjoyable rendition of Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen Mary by spacing the brass and percussion throughout the theatre and used the side galleries to create antiphonal effects which the audience thoroughly enjoyed. The percussion ensemble introduced us to the world of minimalism in a complicated piece Short on Time written for the occasion by our percussion teacher Simon Whittaker which required deep concentration from all! The string quartet which comprised Lila Levingston, Samantha Dale, Saya Pulverer and Tiger Braun-White gave one of the most impressive performances at Bedales in recent years in their rendition of O Frederik, O Frederik, a folk tune arranged by the Danish String Quartet. This piece is hugely energetic and complicated but utterly captivating and they delivered it with poise and precision; a real treat!  

The evening was then rounded off with some precise and vibrant playing from the jazz band with the brilliant Mabel Watson singing Gershwin’s S’Wonderful and the choir of 48 singers finished the evening with several pieces including an up-tempo version of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies and a gospel version of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water. A particular thanks to Joanne Greenwood, Amanda Brewer and the ushers for helping the event run smoothly and to Neil Hornsby and Will Lithgow for masterminding the complicated stage changes. 

Music Exhibitioners’ Concerts, 1 & 2 December: Next week, our music exhibitioners will show off their progress in two concerts of solo and duet items in the Lupton Hall. We have put on a extra evening as we have so many performers who want to perform (a good problem to have!) and you can book tickets for the 1 December performance here and the 2 December performance here.

Reflections on the Sixth Form Show

By Hayley Cole, Head of Drama

Recently I overheard some students giving a guided tour explaining, in student terms, the way our school works – how first name terms creates mutual respect, and performing in the theatre, where professional companies also perform, means they feel almost professional. To me, that summarises exactly what the Sixth Form Show is all about and why we employ external directors to create a company for the students, giving them a taste of the time frames and high expectations of the professional world.

Old Bedalian Evangeline Cullingworth was the ideal choice for this year’s Sixth Form Show. She was so excited to work with and direct our students once again, and having read her choice of play over the holidays – Image of an Unknown Young Woman by Elinor Cook – we were incredibly excited to see how she would realise it. Her professionalism and directorial skillset made this such an enriching opportunity for the students, and her personality and the experience she has of teaching and delivering workshops at Bedales meant she nurtured individuals and the cast flourished under her.

Personally, I loved coming to see the play as an audience member, having not been part of the auditions or rehearsals, and seeing the spectacular end result whilst also appreciating the journey the students had been on and how much they had developed over the course of the rehearsals. The staging was original and the yellow dresses and accessories heightened the relevance of images and the power of social media in politics. The contextless plot made us all draw comparisons in our own minds and wonder how influenced we are or how much we actually know about causes we support and say we believe in. The chorus cleverly involved us and judged us as an audience and the characterisation was both truthful and shocking at points.

Students involved in the production reflect on their experience below:

Jessica Asamoa, 6.2 Drama Scholar: “It was a wonderful experience to work with Evangeline and my fellow sixth form students. The play was one that really made us all think and reflect on current political movements.”

Rowena le Poer Trench, 6.1 Drama Scholar: “I found the experience of working with Evangeline so interesting, as she really helped me personally develop my understanding of characterisation through thorough techniques of breaking down my scenes. In this way, the rehearsals for the play were like mini workshops each week where I learnt so much that I can use in future projects.”

Cerys Jones, 6.1 Drama Scholar: “The Sixth Form Show was a great experience for any student, be those whom acted in it, assisted backstage or front of house or even those watching. The opportunity to learn new skills and develop, not just as a performer, but also as a person was abundant. A professional and safe, creative working environment was nurtured, helping the cast bond, and allowing for effective character and plot development in rehearsals. The production had the feel of a professional company, with collaboration heartedly encouraged, cultured by the amazing Evangeline, whose personal Bedales experiences combined with her wealth of theatre knowledge made her the ideal director. I’m very glad to have taken part in the show, making new friends, learning new skills and producing a fantastic play.”

Stella Miller, 6.1 Drama Scholar: “I was grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with OB Evangeline Cullingworth for the Sixth Form Show. A small and intimate group of 11 of us and a brilliant crew worked closely for just over a month to pull together our adaptation of Image of an Unknown Young Woman by Elinor Cook. It was a riveting and insightful experience, and one I shall never forget. From the costumes to the blocking, everything was systematically thought through and discussed, with each and every cast member having an input. It was particularly fun to compose a series of teaser images and posters to display around the school. The whole experience felt so professional, as though it were a West End piece of academic theatre; it was worth all the ‘all in’ weekends! A huge thank you to Evangeline and Joanne for orchestrating a show that was enjoyed by both the audience and the performers and really captured and projected the true essence of the arts at Bedales.”

Match report: Girls’ Second XI Hockey v Alton School

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

The late Wednesday afternoon fixture saw the girls’ second XI back in action. The opposition was a strong Alton side who had the majority of the attacking play in the first half. However, they were kept at bay for long periods due to the goalkeeping of Tilda Gellatly, who had shown incredible commitment to the Bedales hockey programme by playing for the first XI in the afternoon before travelling back to fill a slot in the second XI, which was wonderful to see.

Alton were deservedly 2-0 up at half-time but a positive team talk and approach in the second half saw the Bedales side come out fighting. Forward running from Sage Bidwell and Izzy Land always meant that the Bedales side had an attacking threat; they were ably supported by the impressive Ava Sender Logan alongside the hard-working and influential Katie Mansbridge and Lula Goldring. 

Despite the best efforts of full back Maya Cressman, the Alton side ran in three late goals to finish 5-0 winners, a score not fully reflective of just how close the game had been. A really valuable game in terms of development for the team and plenty to take into next week’s game.

Match report: Girls’ First XI Hockey v Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS)

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

The girls’ first XI were back in action on Wednesday. Although the team were high in confidence after their success at the Hampshire Trophy Tournament, they knew they were facing a tough opposition in PGS.

The Bedales side were quick to adapt to the bouncy, water-based pitch at HMS Temeraire and made a lot of the early attacking advances, forcing a number of attacking short corners and it was from one of these that the incredibly influential Alisia Leach put the side 1-0 up. However, an unfortunate head injury to Rebekah Leach threw a spanner in the works, and despite some reshuffling, Bedales found themselves 2-1 down at half-time.

Further reshuffling involving the adaptable and impressive Leela Walton gave the Bedales team more footing in the game and it was incredibly evenly matched until a controversial PGS goal once again threw the Bedales side out of kilter, before two quick PGS goals put the game out of reach.

However, huge credit to the Bedales girls who bounced back once again, finishing the half as the strongest team and ending with a thoroughly deserved goal for Kamaya Nelson-Clayton. A special mention must also go to Anna Tasker, who came into the side late in the day and proved that she is more than capable of playing at this level.

Girls’ First XI Hockey in the Hampshire Hockey U18 Trophy Tournament

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday, the incredibly committed girls’ first XI hockey team travelled to Southampton Sports Centre to take part in the Hampshire Hockey U18 Trophy Tournament. After a sporadic two years of hockey, this was always going to be a tough ask, both physically and mentally. Things got off to a tough start as the Bedales side faced a direct and powerful KES Southampton side and were unfortunate to lose the influential Alisia Leach when a rogue lifted ball struck her ankle. The first game ended in a 2-0 loss for Bedales.

It is, however, a huge testament to this side that they regrouped. Alisia returned to play through injury and the team were determined to bounce back, Ruby Cole sparking some inspiration with her tough tackling, timely interceptions and accuracy when building an attack. The next two games followed very similar patterns: a lot of attacking possession but not enough finesse in the final third and opposition always a threat on the counter attack. However, this was consistently dealt with by full backs Shanklin Mackillop-Hall (fresh from completing her Gold DofE) and captain Esther Stewart striking the right balance of being calm in possession and combative when looking to win tackles and make interceptions and an emergence of Gala Pearson winning a lot of ball high up the pitch. This resulted in two 1-0 victories and put the Bedales side back in chance of coming in the top two places.

The fourth game was a 1-1- draw in a competitive and enthralling game vs Lord Wandsworth College B. Confidence was now flowing through the Bedales side, with Rebekah Leach pulling the strings from centre half and Leela Walton dominating in possession.

The final game vs Peter Symonds’ second XI was by far the best performance. The deadlock was broken from a deflected short corner strike that was brought down neatly by Rebekah and calmly slotted home and this was followed up with a thoroughly deserved hat-trick for the ever threatening Mathilda Douglas, who was assisted greatly by the driving forward runs of Sasha Arney and unbelievable work rate jumping back and winning the ball from Kamaya Nelson Clayton.

The side have now qualified to go through to the regional rounds in November. This is only the second time ever that a Bedales side has reached this level and the team should be incredibly proud of themselves.

Adventure @ Bedales

Rob Reynolds, Director of External Relations and DofE Manager

I write this from Dartmoor on a sixth form Gold Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) award expedition. Thirteen students are enjoying good weather and the beautiful surroundings of this national park which is the largest and wildest area of open country in the south of England. Working in teams, students are walking, navigating, carrying their kit, cooking, wild camping, and supporting each other, under the expert eye of Ridgeline Adventures who provide the specialist training and assessment.

Bedales is proud to offer DofE which is delivered through the Activities programme for Blocks 3-5 where students can progress through Bronze and Silver, and the Enrichment programme for sixth formers to pursue Gold. Virtual information sessions are offered by the DofE for parents where you can find out more about the award and how to support a young person through DofE. Click here for more information.

The DofE award was founded by its namesake in 1956, and has become an internationally recognised mark of achievement. For many participants, the DofE can be a life-changing experience and a lot of fun. Students discover new interests and talents, and the tools to develop essential skills for life and work. Participants describe how they have developed character traits like confidence and resilience, which have boosted their mental health and wellbeing and helped them face and overcome personal challenges.  

The programme has three progressive levels with four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver, and five at Gold. They involve helping the community/environment, becoming fitter, developing new skills, planning, training for and completing an expedition and, for Gold only, working with a team on a residential activity.

As a Round Square school, Bedales has made a commitment to character education and experiential learning built around the six themes of International Understanding, Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Adventure, Leadership and Service. The DofE award has a lot of synergy with Round Square, both having been heavily influenced by the thinking of educationalist Kurt Hahn.

At Bedales each level is overseen by a DofE ‘leader’. To find out more, interested students and parents can contact one of the Bedales DofE team: Paul Beauchamp (pbeauchamp@bedales.org.uk) for Block 3; Allen Shone (ashone@bedales.org.uk)/David Mann (dmann@bedales.org.uk) for Blocks 4-5; Julia Bevan (jbevan@bedales.org.uk) for Sixth Form. I oversee the award programme, organise the expeditions in conjunction with Ridgeline Adventures and liaise with the DofE staff (contact: (rreynolds@bedales.org.uk).

The Chemical History of Nicotine – Science Lunchtime Lecture Series

By Mary Shotter, Biology Technician

As part of the Science Lunchtime Lecture Series, A Level science students and members of 3i were joined by Dr Harry Pearson, former Bedales Housemaster and Head of Science/Chemistry, in the Simon Lecture Theatre to explore ‘The Chemical History of Nicotine’.

The intellectually stimulating talk began with the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492, where European explorers were offered a ‘fuming material’ called zikari, made from the leaves of the plant Nicotiana tabacum by indigenous people. Harry’s talk then led us to 1560s Paris, when diplomat and scholar Jean Nicot de Villemain brought in seeds from the Americas and introduced the plant to France. Paris Society was polarised by this new ‘magic’ substance, now named ‘nicotine’ after Jean Nicot.

From France, Harry took us to 1800s Germany, where nicotine was first isolated in Heidelberg University – its chemical structure being determined in 1891. After an in depth look at nicotine’s chemical properties and the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to determine the molecular structure, the talk concluded with a look at nicotine’s effects on the body, the work of Sir Richard Doll – the first scientist to discover the link between smoking and lung diseases in 1954 – and brought us to the present day with the introduction of nicotine patches and vaping.

Harry’s talk focused not only on the science of nicotine, but also encompassed many other topics, including stories of Bedales past, the difficulty of learning German and the witty quotes of Mark Twain.

The next Lunchtime Lecture take place on 12 November, when Dr Tim Mason of Portsmouth University will speak on ‘Edward Jenner and the Story of Vaccines’.