Grit, talent, tuition, application = Success!

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools

Congratulations to  PPE student, Juliette Perry (Dunhurst and Bedales, 2008-15): she has been selected to row for Oxford University against Cambridge in the Women’s Boat Race on 24 March.  See here for the details of the crew and here for an article on the admirable diversity project that the two universities are championing.  An interesting footnote here is that, unlike (I surmise) most of the other women in these two eights, Juliette did not row here at Bedales: she has gone from a standing start to this amazing achievement with extraordinary speed, clearly with a good basis for natural athleticism, and has developed her craft as a rower so quickly and so well.

Trial Eights-19 Juliette Perry credit Simon Perry

Juliette Perry (seated 7). Photo credit: Simon Perry

Here is another example in a different discipline, coincidentally also at Somerville College, Oxford. Disproving the orthodox view that musicians must start when tiny, Josh Grubb (Bedales 2010-14)  started playing the clarinet aged 14 when he started at Bedales in Block 4.  Now in his third year  reading Biochemistry at Oxford, he has played with the University Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Sinfonietta, Ripieno Players and Consortium Novum. During his time at Somerville, Josh also formed the Woodstock Quintet, which has performed clarinet quintet repertoire throughout Oxford.  Again, it was the magic formula above that enabled his success, with Keir Rowe as his clarinet inspirational teacher.

Aside from the main thing, which is the intrinsic merit in the activity itself (rowing or music), there’s the deep imprint (or deep learning you could say) that comes from that sense of teamwork which gives results from feeling part of something which is far greater than the sum of its parts.  Although I can lay no claim to having experienced this within an orchestra, I did some rowing at a lowly level: even if I and my brawny colleagues rarely experienced the out of body sense you have when an eight pulls exactly together and the boat shoots forward, I would vouch for it being one of the best feelings you can have.



Intense competition for sport and drama selection

Much talk still nationally about competitiveness in schools – and in school sport in particular. Here, suitably competitive trials have taken place for who is going to start in which team –  so, which boys and girls are going to be in which football or hockey team respectively; the difference between us and most comparable schools is that this process is based only on those who want to be in teams; however, happily there are sufficient numbers coming forward to give the competition an edge and there will be no shortage of strong competition in inter-school matches. Others will need to choose different, non-team-games sport options. In parallel, in the world of drama, competition has also been strong for the two school productions, both auditioning in the first week of term. Competition for selection here is intense, with many called and few chosen, even with the 30 roles within the two plays – the sixth form production (early November), Noises Off, directed by Jay Green; and the winter production (early December) The Relapse, directed by Phil King. On both scores, sport and drama, much good to look forward to.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools

Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

A busy start to term

Cakes and ale no more, as Mock GCSEs, A Level modules and the diurnal working routine kick in yesterday on our first day back. Spring terms are gritty, business-like affairs – the only term not to end with festivity or to involve saying hello or goodbye to incoming or outgoing students. Much to look forward to, nonetheless, in particular a glittering round of visiting speakers, beginning with the philosopher Nigel Warburton on Friday and continuing with the FT’s Slow Lane columnist, Harry Eyres on Tuesday. Plenty to continue to celebrate in terms of university offers too – more later this week on that. Also, pleasing to reflect on a cheering few days last week when we met a strong group of applicants for next year’s Block 3 entry. Our  unusual (unique, I think, in the UK) residential assessment method involves the candidates staying for two nights and, as well as having the full battery of academic tests, experiencing the breadth of Bedales life – outdoor work, drama, sport, music, dance, art, design and, of course, life on the boarding house. We enjoy the experience and gain a very good overall picture indeed; in general they enjoy it too. 

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools

Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music school. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.