Bedales represented at Round Square International Conference

By Julia Bevan, Teacher of English 

Bedales was delighted this year to be one of the schools represented at the 51st Round Square International Conference in India. Al McConville and I were joined by two 6.2 students, Freya Leonard and Anton Ellis, on the trip. It was Bedales first delegation to the five-day conference, which this year was attended by 1000 people – 700 students and 300 staff – from all five continents.

For three days, the conference was hosted at the Emerald Heights International School, a boarding school on the outskirts of Indore that has 4000 students in total. Student delegates from around the world slept in the school dormitories. Over the course of three days, we saw all the keynote speakers, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner who works to end child slavery, a Government Minister (in opposition to Modi) and Madam Ghandi, a feminist musician.

Other highlights included a presentation with an AI robot. In between speakers, the students broke into Barazza groups to discuss issues relating to this year’s conference theme, ‘the world we wish to see’. We also spent time meeting other delegates, learning about the Round Square organisation, and meeting representatives from other schools that might wish to arrange international exchanges with us in the future.

We spent a day sightseeing at the city of Mandu, where we visited a beautiful mosque which is now a historical site of interest, rather than a working mosque. We also saw some impressive forts and palaces overlooking lakes and hills. We spent nearly six hours travelling to and from Mandu, which gave us time to observe Indian life and culture from the windows of the bus. It was fascinating – families of four riding on mopeds, Tuk-Tuks behaving like pushy, rude teenagers, and cows sitting on the road. At one point, our coach had to reverse to allow a chicken and six chicks to cross safely!

Another day was spent doing service in the morning and sightseeing in the evening, and there was one very early start with a run for charity alongside Blade Runner, the first Indian to run with a prosthetic foot! Al, Freya and Anton got up early to join him, and a tree was planted to honour the occasion.

We had a very long journey there and a long journey home, so we are now looking into carbon off-setting for the trip, which seems particularly fitting as climate change and air travel was a hot topic amongst delegates.

New student studies in use

The first phase of the new student studies are complete and are currently being used by 80 6.1 students.

The high quality study spaces, which can be found in the old Bedales Gallery and Textiles building, were designed by Richard Griffiths Architects and the interior was completed in consultation with Old Bedalian and current Governor Anna Keay.

The second phase has now begun, with demolition work currently taking place that will enable a new roof to go on the old workshop, before the former Art buildings are removed ahead of reconstruction. The final building will be an energy efficient, high quality space for students, and the old academic village will vanish.

Completion of the whole project is anticipated for the start of the Autumn term 2020, and we will update you as the project progresses.

Match report: Girls’ 1st Hockey XI v Lord Wandsworth College, 18.09.2019

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By Mariela Walton, Teacher of Girls’ PE & Games

This week, the first XI stepped out onto Bedales home turf to play Lord Wandsworth College (LWC). Decked out in their new Bedales first XI kit, the team looked the part and were ready to battle against a strong LWC side.

LWC got off to a good start and within ten minutes, Bedales were 2-0 down. Despite this, Bedales continued to fight, and after Freya Leonard was hit by a stray lifted ball, the team raised their game further. As if seeking vengeance for Frey’a injury, Mathilda Douglas put one in the back of the net, sending us into the half-time break 2-1 down.

In the second half, an early goal from Amber Pearson saw the scored tied at 2-2, which was quickly followed by a goal from Eliza Goodfellow, taking us to 3-2. LWC then answered back with a third goal, making the scores tied again at 3-3.

Not long after, our resident goal scorer Mathilda Douglas followed with an excellent goal, crossed in by Most Valuable Player Thea Levine. Bedales managed to hold the lead for almost the entire remaining half, until Lord Wandsworth got a break in the last minute of the game and a quick goal left the final score at 4-4.

An exciting second game of the season – all of the students worked exceptionally hard and demonstrated some wonderful hockey. Next week they face Portsmouth High School at home with a 4.15pm start.

Block 5’s induction into National Youth Theatre

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By Freya Hannan-Mills, Block 5

Following an audition earlier this year, I was excited to be accepted onto the National Youth Theatre’s two-week summer course.

The course, which leads to National Youth Theatre membership, sees all new members aged between 14 and 17 spend two weeks taking part in the course at Goldsmiths, University of London, where we also stayed in flats at one of the university’s halls of residence.

The two weeks are spent devising, creating and performing new works. This year, the overarching theme was changing climates and we explored geographic, social and political responses to the theme. The final piece was then shared at Goldsmiths’ theatre to an invited audience, which included our parents.

For me, the entire experience was inspirational; a fantastic opportunity to work with professional directors and choreographers who explored the topic of climate change in new and challenging ways. We worked for eight hours a day – sometimes longer – and that intensity and focus created an ensemble which also forged amazing friendships.

I would definitely recommend auditioning for the National Youth Theatre to anyone who has an interest in the performing arts. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really explore and develop techniques and new ways of working. You remain a member of the National Youth Theatre until you are 25, and every year following your initial course, there are opportunities to audition for the rep shows, attend masterclasses and receive tickets for new plays. Find details about auditions for next year’s course on the National Youth Theatre website.

Bedales hosts first Reading Day

Last Friday saw Bedales host its first Reading Day, with students and staff taking part in a range of reading related activities throughout the day, from nature poetry walking tours to exploring different ways to enjoy Shakespeare, listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter and independent reading on the Orchard.

Head of English David Anson – who along with Rick Cross (Deputy Head Academic), Al McConville (Director of Learning and Innovation), Emily Seeber (Head of Sciences) and Ian Douglas (Librarian) organised the day – explained that the idea for a ‘Reading Day’ stemmed from a collective, passionate belief in independent learning, as well as the view that reading is the very best way to learn. This is an idea that is backed up by research as well as some of the pedagogical foundations Bedales was set up with.

Activities were designed to give students – regardless of ability or levels of interest – the opportunity to get their teeth into areas of personal interest, with the day structured around independent reading and activities that encouraged or modelled ‘how to read’ – reading or understanding an object or the landscape, for example.

The day went well and there is talk of holding another in the future, possibly one in the winter term and then again in the summer. Thanks to everyone who was involved in the smooth running of the day.

Biology department marks Parents’ Day

By Mary Shotter, Biology technician

Following on from this year’s Eckersley Lecture on the History of the Periodic Table by Dr Peter Wothers, this year the theme of the Biology department’s Parents’ Day display was The Elements of Life, which looked at how individual chemical elements were used in the natural world.

In the lab there was the chance to make slides to view under the microscope and see the myriad of microscopic creatures found in pond water, test your grip strength (won, as always, by Sam Wilson in 6.2), check your lung volume and blood oxygen levels, and test your speed using a reaction timer.

Most popular of all, though, was a chance to see if you were ‘one in a million’ by trying out a series of genetic tests where people looked at a number of their own physical traits – for example, whether they could smell freesias, taste the bitter chemical found in sprouts or roll their tongue. Results ranged from being one in 31 to one in 2 million!

It was particularly nice to meet up with several Old Bedalians who came back to see us and who have gone on have very successful careers in the field of biology including Gary Skinner (OB 1992), who specialises in the use of DNA as a digital storage device and whose father, also Gary, was a previous Head of Biology and Science. We were also visited by the daughter of another former Head of Biology, Andrew Routh, who at 95 was keen to find out how the department had changed over the years.

It was a lovely day and a pleasure to welcome so many, old and new, to explore the world of Bedales Biology.

Match report: U14 Rounders Tournament, 2 July 2019

By Chloe Nicklin, Head of Netball

The Block 3s were ready and raring to go for their last fixture of the year. Due to the Wimbledon trip and an injury, Bedales were only able to compete with eight rather than the standard nine rounders players. However, this did not phase them at all. Kamaya Nelson-Clayton stepped in as the U14s’ coach and number one fan due to her injuries, helping Bedales with tactical decision from the side of the pitch.

Out of the five games they played, they won three, drew one and just lost to the hosts Ditcham Park by 1.5 rounders. The girls adapted well to only having eight players, seeing some fantastic fielding performances from all players. Bowling from Millie Harris was extremely consistent, pairing well with backstop Millie Kennedy, who kept calm under the pressure of also doubling up as fourth base. Nicole Simpson and Coco Witheridge worked well sharing the responsibility of second base and just off second fielder, getting many players out with their reliable catches. The deep fielders Lula Goldring, Katie Mansbridge and Mary Whitley performed extremely well with the sloped pitch, making some brilliant catches.

The U14 tournament was closely contested with three teams ending up on the same amount of points by the end of the tournament. In the final results, due to rounders difference, Bedales came a brilliant second place. It was a fantastic afternoon of rounders with Bedales performing to a high standard.

My Coach’s Player of the Tournament was Maya Cressman. Her batting performance was exceptional. Not only can she hit the ball with great power, she was able to find the gaps in the field, enabling her to secure a rounder almost every time she came to bat.