Building resilience: practical strategies in wellbeing

By Kirsten McLintock, Head of Wellbeing & PSHE

In Wellbeing, we are taking the opportunity during online learning to delve into the practical strategies that we should all have in order to cultivate a resilient spirit. Resilience is at the heart of wellbeing. Over the coming weeks, Blocks 3-5 will be focusing on practising the five pillars of resilience; fostering healthy emotional and mental health strategies for life; learning to manage the uncomfortable and struggles in life; mindfulness practice; and connection and support.

All five pillars of resilience are crucial, but in the coming weeks we will focus on developing self-awareness, self-care and mindfulness practice in our Wellbeing sessions. This week, Bedalians have produced a ‘Wellness Jar’ detailing the activities they are going to do on a daily and weekly basis (plus emergencies and treats) in order to be resilient, thus developing healthy emotional and mental health for life. Have a look at my Wellness Jar below. Students have been asked to share the contents of the Wellness Jar with their loved ones.

Additional strategies for fostering resilience discussed in our Wellbeing lessons have included the importance of keeping routines going – including 9-10 hours of sleep, meal times, exercise, play, cognitively stimulating activities, work and relaxation – so that days have rhythm and structure and are not spent inactive. Endless time without structure, meaning and purpose is unhealthy for the body and mind.

There are a number of resources available for parents and teenagers for mental/emotional health issues. Young Minds has a free helpline for parents (0808 802 5544, available 9.30am-4pm, Monday to Friday), as well as a useful website. Helpful information can also be found on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website. Young people can access support from helplines, text lines and online chat services at any time – Childline (0800 1111), Young Minds Crisis Messenger (text YM to 85258) and the Mix (0808 808 4994).

“Nuanced and detailed” take on Nick Payne’s ‘Constellations’

This week, Block 5 and 6.2 students took part in a four-night run of this year’s Autumn production, ‘Constellations’ by Nick Payne. Due to ongoing restrictions, two duplicate casts of eight performed alongside dancers in the Theatre, with two of the performances livestreamed for parents at home.

By Isobel de Gier, 6.1

Watching Block 5 and 6.2’s nuanced and detailed approach to Nick Payne’s Constellations – aided by Hayley Cole’s directorial work – was a joy. Between the many interpretations of protagonists Marianne and Roland, played by the electric Ella Peattie and captivating Nay Murphy, there were multiple humorous moments. The play then quickly juxtaposed those comical elements with tender and heart-breaking scenes of the characters’ future selves.

The play masterfully toyed with light and shade, enrapturing its audience. The experience was immersive and the audience laughed, cried and became enraged alongside the characters – with every smile, laugh, or frown of the many versions of Marianne and Roland, the audience was enveloped deeper. This is not only a testament to the subtle and refined acting style, but the beautiful LED lit set, the bewitching dancing by Lucy Albuquerque and Mathilda Douglas and masterful directing. If you did not see the many parallel universes of Marianne and Roland, you really did miss out. 

By Aria Taheri-Murphy, 6.1

On Tuesday, the second cast of Constellations performed an amazing representation of raw love, shown through the perspective of many versions of Marianne and Roland. The audience watched the variety of ways their love unfolded in the different scenarios, however as the play reached its conclusion all the main plotlines merged into one story.

Not only were the actors amazing, but the set was incredible, set on different levels with small light-up hexagons beneath each level. These related to the hexagon projections across the stage. Projections of drawings and maths equations were used throughout the performance and as the audience began to understand the characters the hexagons became very significant. 

The dancing added an exciting new element, this too was socially distanced, but this did not affect the quality of their work. Two A Level Dance students performed throughout the play, expressing the characters’ frustration, love, grief, and pain. The actors clearly showed these emotions, however there were times where the dance could truly show the raw feelings the characters were trying to hide. Overall, the acting, directing, staging and choreography was amazing and created a hard-hitting love story which didn’t need to be shown physically, much like the National Theatre socially distanced performance of Lungs.

Match report: 6.1 v Block 5 girls’ football

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

On Wednesday, the Mem Pitch played host to the inaugural 6.1 v Block 5 girls’ football match. Despite some tough playing conditions, both teams approached the game with tremendous enthusiasm and spirits certainly weren’t dampened by the weather!

The Block 5 team got off to a flying start, finding themselves 4-0 up inside 12 minutes. The fourth goal was particularly special, with a superb cross in from the right from Mary Whiteley that was met with an even better header from captain Romilly White, sending the ball into the top corner. The Block 5 side were a constant threat, with Kamaya Nelson-Clayton and Ava Sender Logan regularly making bursts forward, and Skylar Cazac a potent threat up-front.

Half-time was productive for the 6.1 side who regrouped and the second half saw the emergence of the influential Lila Levingston and more space opened down the right channel for the excellent Dora Wooldridge and Martha Clough. It was clear the relatively inexperienced 6.1 side were improving and starting to get used to playing as a team and creating more chances for the ever threatening Phoebe Esdaile.

However, as the final whistle blew, the Block 5 team had comfortably and deservedly picked up the victory.  A really enjoyable game with both teams eager to get back out on the pitch.

Match report: 6.1 v Block 5 girls’ hockey

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

Wednesday saw another round of internal hockey fixtures and the first game of the season ‘under the lights’. Both the Block 5 and 6.1 teams had been particularly impressive in training over the last week or so, but it was the 6.1 team who burst out of the blocks with centre forward Mathilda Douglas looking particularly threatening, putting her team 2-0 up within the opening 10 minutes. A high press from the 6.1s ensured constant attacking pressure and a cool finish from Fleur Donovan, followed by a completion of a first half hat trick from Mathilda, led the 6.1s into the break 4-0 to the good.

The game was in danger of running away from the Block 5s, but a re-group at half time saw a much improved performance and it was the Block 5s who opened the scoring, through the ever dangerous Kamaya Nelson-Clayton. Despite constant attacking pressure from the 6.1s the Block 5 side stood firm with some excellent tackling from Ava Sender Logan and always posing a threat on the counter attack from Zoe Lobbenberg and Kamaya. As the game developed we saw more and more of the increasingly impressive Lally Arengo-Jones and captain, Leela Walton.

Despite the improved performance from the Block 5s the 6.1 team deservedly scored again, once again a fantastically calm finish from Fleur.

The Block 5s are in action again next week versus the Block 4s. The 6.1s will have to wait a couple of weeks before they take on the ‘all-star’ team.

Block 5 vs. 6.2 Football

Jac Wheeler converts his penalty in the inaugural Block 5 vs 6.2 football match

By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey

Wednesday saw the inaugural Block 5 vs. 6.2 football match take place, with two contrasting match preparation techniques clearly in evidence. The Block 5s arrived early in a ‘fresh out of the packet’ kit and warmed up well as a team. The 6.2s took a different approach, choosing to conserve energy pre-game before being shepherded into position by player-manager Sam Wheeler.

This approach from the 6.2s paid dividends in the early part of the game as Guido Sforni slammed the ball home from a goal mouth melee. The game ebbed and flowed from this point but an over-enthusiastic challenge in the box from 6.2 Charlie Abbott left little choice for League 1 referee Greg Read to point to the spot. Jac Wheeler duly stepped up and calmly slotted the ball home.

Block 5 started to gain increasing control of the game and Jac Wheeler weaved out an opportunity to create a 1 vs. 1 against the keeper before coolly sliding a pass to Huw Wheeler to take the easy finish.

With the score 2-1 to the Block 5 team with 20 minutes left and with the threat of Ivan Ogilvie-Grant and Ed Marshall Smith up front, the 6.2s were never out of the game, but a sustained period of attack from the Block 5 team eventually created a rebound opportunity which fell to Josh Baty who drilled the ball home to leave the result in little doubt. Some fine keeping from 6.2 goalkeeper Theo Paul ensured the game stayed at 3-1.

Overall a competitive and enjoyable game. There are already calls for a re-match from the 6.2s so watch this space!

Senior Maths Challenge success

Senior-Team-Challenge-2019

By Martin Hanak, Head of Maths

At the beginning of November, 20 students from Block 5, 6.1 and 6.2 volunteered to sit the Senior Maths Challenge.

Around 80,000 from across the UK took part in the competition; 15 Bedalians were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates, with Aidan Hall, Maggie Luo and Annabelle Snell all winning Gold. They also qualified for the next round, the Senior Kangaroo, which places them amongst the top 10% of all the mathletes that took part in the competition.

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Block 5 students bring creativity to philosophical deliberation

Creative-Response-Expo

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

Project-based learning is getting lots of attention at the moment, with films such as Most Likely to Succeed proving highly influential.

Such interdisciplinary, creative approaches are not new at Bedales, though. For nine years, Block 5 Philosophy, Religious Studies & Ethics (PRE) students have studied core topics in the philosophy of metaphysics and mind, and from that, have had to pick one area on which to build a creative response.

We do not stipulate what medium it must be, so students can play to their strengths. We have had many wonderful projects in the past, but for the first time this year, we made the exhibition open to parents and other students as well.

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Block 5 student scoops essay writing prize

Congratulations to Block 5 (Year 11) student Amos Wollen, who emerged as the winner of the School Student Prize in the Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize last month.

The Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize is an annual essay competition run by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and sponsored by British businessman and author Richard Koch.

Tasked with giving “the best and boldest answer” to the question “What single policy would give everyone in society, whatever their background, a real opportunity to succeed on their own merit?” Amos initially wrote a 1000-word proposal, which was one of just 11 shortlisted for the first prize from over 300 entries spanning 35 countries.

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Careers update: ‘Beyond Bedales’

By Alex Beckmann, Alumni Liaison Manager
Photos by Abby Hilton, 6.1

The inaugural Beyond Bedales careers event took place on 11 October, when Old Bedalians Peter Grimsdale, William Miller, Claire Whalley and Kirstie Allsopp returned to impart a wealth of knowledge about careers in television to 36 students across Block 5 (Year 11), 6.1 (Year 12) and 6.2 (Year 13).

Students were delighted to hear from OBs with varying paths to success and the visiting OBs were equally pleased to spend time encouraging so many interested young Bedalians.

Block 5 student Milo Whittle said: “I thought it gave really useful insight into the industry and I would recommend to students to come along to one of these events in the future – even an industry they don’t have any interest in, because they will still get something out of it.”

First Duke of Edinburgh expedition of the year

By Julia Bevan, Teacher of English

When 37 students in Block 5 headed out on their qualifying Silver Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) expedition, they might have been extras in John Keats’ seminal poem, To Autumn. Last weekend on the South Downs, the world was rich in “mellow fruitfulness”. They plucked ripe blackberries from hedgerows, scrumpt apples from “moss’d cottage-trees” and in the evenings you might have come across the odd corn on the cob cooking alongside Wayfarer’s meals and pesto pasta.

On Friday morning it took a while to organise routes and check kit at the Triangle Car Park near the Trundle. As classic cars drove past on their way to the Goodwood Revival, assessors made a note of who had packed particularly carefully, and made sure those that needed an extra compass or water bottle were looked after. Routes were checked and starts were then staggered so as to make sure the groups were not tempted to mass together, before they headed off in different directions: east towards Graffam or west to Treyford.

There was no doubt that the participants had the weather was on their side, and navigation was considerably easier than on the practice expedition in the New Forest. That said, the West Sussex terrain presented the groups with different challenges, and many arrived in camp on Friday sore and exhausted from 400 metre climbs past fields of “full-grown lambs” and nosy herds of cows. After a glorious sunset, the full moon lit up the campsites making the night colder than expected and thus the tents were drenched in moisture on Saturday morning.

As the weekend bore on, it was clear that all 37 participants had personal challenges to meet. Some found the walking very tough, others had to manage their frustration with slower members of their group. Some had to share their food and kit, others to manage sore ankles and painful blisters. It was impressive to see groups leaving relatively early on their second day, and even earlier on the third, determined to get the bulk of the walking done in the morning. It was even more impressive to watch groups share out the load, so that all could complete the walk. All did and can hold their head high, having successfully completed this section of their Silver award.

A big thank you must go to Allen, David, Gordon and Rob for bringing wisdom, humour and years of experience to the trip. A thank you also to Duncan Selmes, who joined us from Dunhurst on Saturday afternoon, bringing more DofE expertise and enthusiasm to the team.