What a week for Utopian thinking…

By Clare Jarmy, Head of Able, Gifted & Talented, Oxbridge, Academic Scholars & PRE

The Utopia Project is the longest-established part of the Bedales Assessed Course in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) and, as PRE is one of the oldest BACs, it is therefore one of the best established BAC modules. These have been new, different times in which to think about society and utopia, and I am sure that these events will colour how we see the project in the future.

On Wednesday afternoon, Block 5 presented their Utopias to their teachers, and to each other, in an Expo in the Library. Every year, I am impressed with the sophistication of students’ work. The project, for most students, fosters independence in a wholly new way. The Utopia Project is effectively a blank sheet of paper for students to formulate a vision for a perfect world. It is structured for them, and they have to refer to five key texts, but their Utopias can end up being utterly different.

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An old-fashioned Bedales fireside

By Clare Jarmy, Head of Able, Gifted & Talented, Oxbridge, Academic Scholars & PRE

It’s a temptation once you’ve been here a while to harken back to the old days as if you were there. The reality is that the Bedales ‘fireside’ – a relaxed evening with music, snacks, games and chatting round a fire – has not been a staple part of the Bedales way of life for a long time, probably not since the times when staying in at the weekend was the norm for everyone. But the important thing about being aware of a school’s history and ethos is that you have a vocabulary, an established set of practices, on which to draw, especially in more challenging times.

So what could have been more appropriate on Thursday night than to spend the evening round the fire with the Bedalians who were still in school – many here to keep working on Art and Design – playing games, chatting, drinking hot chocolate, and listening to music? We had Monopoly, jigsaws, word games, and some very special Star Wars Lego that Clive Burch had saved for such an occasion!

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Bedales scientists support Dunannie STEM event

By Liz Stacy, Head of Chemistry

Last Saturday was Bedales Pre-prep, Dunannie’s STEM themed Open Morning. Five of our Block 5 students – Rhiannon Griffith, Milo Whittle, Ben Bradberry, Mabel Watson and Athena Lucas – filled their lab coat pockets full of chocolates (the one and only time they will be allowed to put food in a lab coat!) and headed down to Dunannie to help the children with their science experiments.

There was an amazing range of experiments on offer, from making lava lamps using immiscible liquids and building circuits to power buzzers, to programming the Beebot robots to move and light up on command and looking at field line patterns using magnets. The students were tasked with judging each exhibit on presentation and also the scientific knowledge of the children manning the experiment. They also fielded questions from prospective parents about what studying at Bedales was like and the excellent opportunities on offer for students interested in pursuing science. I thought Milo was maybe a bit harsh giving one small six-year-old five out of ten for scientific knowledge – he did award a lot of chocolate though!

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Futures and Innovation – Parents’ Feedback Event

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Thank you to everyone who came along to the Futures and Innovation Feedback Event. For those of you who were unable to attend, please find a copy of the presentation that was given here, and an overview of the meeting below.

The Aim

The aim of the Futures and Innovation project is to test how we can better prepare students for the fast changing world post Bedales – in terms of the curriculum we teach and the soft skills that students learn.   Bedales is a progressive school and is already way ahead of most others in terms of our approach to education, the skills we teach the students and the Bedales Assessed Courses we offer in place of GCSEs in many subjects.   However, the speed of change in the workplace and beyond is such that no one can afford to be complacent and, over ten years since the introduction of Bedales Assessed Courses, we are keen to continue to test our educational offer and improve on it.

The Process

Last summer term we held a programme of events, a film, workshops and meetings with parents, Old Bedalians, staff, students, employers, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders in the world of education.   We asked them what skills they were looking for in young people entering the workplace and where they felt education as a whole was trailing behind in terms of the skills, mind-set and approach that is needed to flourish in the workplace and in life in general.

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Bedales sheep bring victory

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By Andrew Martin, Head of Outdoor Work

On Saturday night at the Small Shepherd’s Club AGM, Kirsten Houser and I were the proud recipients of the McLellan Lambing Trophy (pictured above with Etty and Sasha). The trophy is awarded to the flock with the highest lambing percentage. Although we came second in 2018, in 2019 we were finally victorious!

Here in Outdoor Work, we have a long tradition of keeping sheep. We mostly have Jacobs, a breed prized for their piebald fleece and magnificent curly horns. Not only do they have a distinctive look, they are easy to handle and produce delicious meat. Because of the variation in their fleece, the wool is highly sought after by knitters and weavers.

We also have three smiley-faced South Down ewes. This is a local breed that has grazed the South Downs for centuries and is historically one of the most important British sheep breeds. Keeping them company are two Herdwicks, a breed native to the Lake District. We mostly keep them just because they look so awesome!

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Girls’ U18B Netball v Portsmouth Grammar School, 05.02.2020

By Mariela Walton, Teacher of Girls’ PE & Games

This Wednesday the second team faced PGS. Various illnesses meant we lost a couple of regular players, but it was great to be able to bring India Saunders into the side to make her debut for Bedales netball.

As the game started, Mimi Fowler was excellent at defending down the court and feeding the ball into the shooters, and we were able to take an early lead, ending the first two quarters ahead. Continue reading

Girls’ U18 Netball v Portsmouth Grammar School, 05.02.2020

By Chloe Nicklin, Head of Netball

A well contested game of netball, playing against a strong Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS) team. With Maddie Jeffreys out due to Rock Show rehearsals, we recruited Alyssa Leach from Block 5 to set up as Goal Attack for the senior side. This meant the team had to adapt quickly to a new member of the team, which did see a few teething problems in the first half.

The score was tied in the first quarter, but as Bedales settled they were able to pull away with a two goal lead by half time. This Bedales side definitely has strength and numbers in defence, enabling the defensive end to be rotated regularly, bringing fresh legs and fresh energy to each quarter.

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