Springing back to normal

By Georgie Nugent, Girls’ Houseparent and Teacher of Drama

Spring is here and we are back! Flat is full once more of music, laughter and lots of chatter. We are making up for lost time, but it is a lot to take on board and the students are working hard to take it step-by-step. To go from living within our own little bubbles at home in an established routine that works for each one of us, to being back within the heart of this vibrant community, is a huge gear change for everyone. 

We have worked hard to ensure the houses feel calm and welcoming, a place where there is space to breathe and relax amid busy days and to remember to focus on friendships and inclusion. The message to hand in devices to encourage better bedtime routines seems to have worked very well, with a collective understanding that it is in everyone’s best interests.

This first week back, we have had fun roasting marshmallows over the firepit (thanks to Head of Outdoor Work Andrew Martin for wheeling in barrow loads of logs) and hot chocolates in the flat courtyards, with the idea that reconnecting with our friends is at the core of getting back to normal. We have also been thinking about those members of our community that perhaps have had a difficult lockdown or who are still in lockdown all around the world.

Acting on the School Council’s feedback, the cooked breakfasts have been reinstated and received with glee by many of the students. The flat Charity Committees and Eco Committees are enjoying sharing ideas with each other to make our community and the world a better place. We are also delighted that the barriers within the year groups enforced by COVID restrictions last term have been relaxed and we can work and play in our year groups, united as a community. There is a sense of relief in the air and a feeling that we can dare to look forward and plan for a wonderful summer term.

Down on the farm – Outdoor Work update

By Andrew Martin, Head of Outdoor Work

Growing up on a dairy farm in Ireland, I never really went on holidays; there were always too many jobs to do. Our modest little farm here at Bedales is no different, and we had so much work planned for the Spring term. Jobs included laying the hedge along Emma’s Walk, coppicing another section of the sand quarry and pollarding the willow in Ruth’s Meadow. We had also planned blacksmithing, vegetable bed preparation, bee keeping, jam and marmalade making, spinning and weaving, not to mention all the jobs around the farm too. I should never have let the students go home for the holiday at the end of last term!

We are working hard on the theory aspects of all this necessary work, and trying to do as much online as we can. But getting cold, dirty and wet – and developing the resilience to work through it all – is one of the key parts of Outdoor Work, and not something we can easily replicate online.

The animals on the farm are doing well. They are a bit fed up of the wet weather, but last weekend’s snow was a welcome break from the drizzle which saw a very entertaining snowball fight between the Southdown, Herdwick and Jacob sheep! They are all due to start lambing just after half term, and we will have a second round of lambing at the start of the Summer term with our main Jacob flock. Little Pig and Bessie are due to farrow towards the end of February, after we hired a big saddleback boar in October. We can’t wait to see the results of this crossbreeding.

Some very special and long awaited arrivals should also be joining us around February. They are the three Fs: Favour, Freya and Fingers, our ready-made Dexter herd. Favour is pregnant and due in April, Freya is the 10-month-old daughter of Favour, and Fingers is her cousin… Confused?! We are too, but we can’t wait to get these little cows settled in and ready for when you all return.

As always you can keep an eye on what we are up to by following us on Instagram and Twitter.