Bedales students join thousands for climate march

Dan Hall - 6-1

By Milun Syms, 6.1

Last Friday, roughly 60 Bedales pupils – led by Aggie Levingston and Bella Evershed – joined the masses of students in London taking a stand on the imminent issue regarding their future.

As we departed from Waterloo and advanced to Parliament Square, the bold and energetic chorus of various chants and slogans began to pick up and would continue for the entirety of the march. Once the seemingly large group of Bedalians reached Parliament Square, it became clear just how many people were involved, all forming a monumental pack.

Instantly immersed in the crowd, everyone was surrounded by brightly designed pickets with various slogans regarding climate justice, with the occasional humorous comment about Teresa May. As the exponential growth of the assembly began to slow, the thousands of people embarked on the slow but steady march to Buckingham Palace, passing Downing Street on the way. Along the way, tourists, construction workers and even police officers showed their support as we progressed.

The front gate to Buckingham Palace was eventually reached, and from here, one could see countless heads, flags, signs and the fluorescent glow of the police jackets that lined the sides of the road leading up to the palace. After some time, the front of the group reached the end of the road, met by a wave of police officers attempting to prevent them from entering. As expected, this did not last very long, and soon people were flowing in, quickly inundating the Queen Victoria Memorial. A few daring individuals even began to scale the colossal statue (who were very quickly brought down by police), climbing above Victoria’s head, causing the droning chants to rapidly increase in volume. After an hour or so, the crowds begin to leave, and the march is more or less over.

Before attending the march, I believed, along with many others, that protesting in this form was not going to achieve anything big enough to make a difference. However, once immersing myself, I can now see that non-violent protest could be successful. The overall disruption it caused could not possibly be ignored. Furthermore, blocking roads, bridges and flooding the streets most definitely caused an inconvenience, and this was just one day.

On 15 April, Extinction Rebellion is planning a week-long strike in London. With persistence, composure, and vast support, change is definitely up for discussion. However, I must say that it was far from a perfect demonstration. The numerous empty bottles, trampled signs, and various other rubbish that had mostly been left behind by protesters highlighted the irony of the event. Although in all fairness, faith was restored as various people began to walk around picking up litter left by others.

Overall, it was an interesting event to attend and I’m glad that our students are opinionated and interested in controversial topics such as climate change. It’s important that as a school we show an interest, and Friday’s strike was an excellent example of that.

Pictured: Bedales student Dan Hall, 6.1

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Preparing for DofE Gold Award

By Alex Lunn, 6.1

Canoeing. Sunny days. Leisurely trips down a glistening river. Well, this was not the case when 6.1 Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award students spent a Saturday afternoon in Southampton training for embarking on their Gold Award!

After gracefully getting toggled up in perfectly sized waterproofs, these magnificent vessels were launched on the centre’s placid lake. Our instructor imparted expert knowledge of how to side paddle to turn sharply and where the centre of weight should be, based on wind and current speeds. After all, this will be a true expedition, requiring much stamina! Fearing we might need some more work, the instructor was pleasantly surprised when our group appeared extremely able and it seemed the task would be less of a challenge than initially anticipated.

Soon we were crossing the nearby road and into the nearby River Itchen. Only in England can we enjoy such nature in the midst of train tracks and a small airport. The sludgy river was however much more of a task. Storm Freya, as some of the instructors joked, was in full force. We were being buffeted around and struggling against the wind when the river claimed its first casualties. At this point, some forward sitting people in the front of the canoes learnt the importance of steering into the wind so the boat did not swing around. I could only hope that in the real thing it would not be so squally!

We reached the milestone bridge and attempted to go through, but the wind was too strong. After convening we decided to head back and have some fun. Standing up, the group linked and made an almost successful sail. On the way back, with the wind and current behind us, we all stood up and had a real lark. However, those who wanted a peaceful sit down after the strenuous exercise might have been disappointed in hindsight!

The final bit of the day was capsize drills. If this was to go wrong on DoFE, this would result in seriously damp food supplies. The old saying, ‘he who steps in two canoes will fall in’ came true here. The aim was that a pair would capsize and another would rescue. Credit to the rescuers, they had to haul and offer up their canoe to very bedraggled ‘casualties’. I will not mention anything about sinking. That did NOT happen!

After the capsize drills, the end of the day was nigh. It had been an extremely comprehensive and fun day despite the weather. Everyone showed true grit, and most even enjoyed the slog, although some did prefer the times they were dragged along.

We now feel prepared and ready for Gold award, a daunting task make manageable by this. Thanks to our instructors, our canoe partners (maybe…) and Ruth and Gordon for braving it too. Thanks to Paul. And finally – most importantly – thanks for the warm shower I had at the end of the day!

Bedales compete in Latin and Greek Reading Competition

By Christopher Grocock, Head of Classics

Bedales once again sent a select set of competitors to the annual Southampton Classical Association’s Latin and Greek Reading Competition on 1 March at Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS), where our students found themselves pitted against entrants from Winchester, PGS, Pilgrims and Southampton Grammar School.

Alastair Harden and I spent time drumming up interest and rehearsing them – I used chocolate biscuits as an incentive in Monday afternoon breaks! Our entry was whittled down through illnesses (and the same had happened to other schools, as we found when we arrived), but undaunted, we set off at 4pm in our trusty minibus, hoping that nerves would not impede us and we would all do our best.

Ben Bradberry, Rhiannon Griffiths, Athena Lucas, Annabelle Snell and Eben MacDonald performed brilliantly in their Beginners’ Greek round and all won gold medals. Athena said afterwards that all their practice had paid off. Annabelle’s comment (“thanks Rhiannon, for the carry”) does just a little justice to the performance she put in as Charon – boat, beard and all! Ben summed up their performance: “It was great to beat the Winchester Scholars”. Too right it was!

Two students from Dunhurst – Abigail O’Donoghue and Juliet Solomon-Solymar – also competed in the Junior Latin section. Both tried hard, and in a competitive field, Juliet did well to win a bronze medal. We should aim to enter more next year, and repeat the success.

Bedales compete in Oxford Schools’ Debating Competition

By Jonathan Selby, Head of Government and Politics

On Tuesday, two teams from Bedales took part in the Oxford Schools’ Debating Competition hosted at Guildford High School.

There were 90 teams competing – and two ‘swing’ teams to make up the numbers – which makes the competition logistically different as each judge only ever sees a maximum of eight teams. Unlike other competitions, the judges were all Oxford University students, which gave a lively and youthful feel to the competition.

On arrival, the teams only had 15 minutes notice of the motion they were to debate, and were not allowed phones, books or teacher assistance to help them construct their arguments. It was a testing format which none of our debaters had experienced before. Each team had two debates, the first on compulsory national service and the second on removing the gender distinction for actors in the arts.

Bedales’ first team comprised our conservative thinkers, Morgan Tasker (our version of The Spectator columnist Rod Liddle) and Amos Wollen (who doesn’t like post-modernism). The second team consisted of our more liberal wing, Connie Gillies and Taragh Melwani.

We did not win, nor were we likely to as Taragh and Amos are only in Block 4 and they were up against sixth formers. They did, however, show considerable potential and were not shy to engage in sometimes controversial debate. Connie was probably the star of our show and was really effective taking issue with what her opponents said, but all our debaters came across as bright and globally aware.

Bedales, TPS and Bohunt partnership continues

On Wednesday, Head Students Ollie and Lettie visited The Petersfield School (TPS) for the second Three Schools meeting of Bohunt, Bedales and TPS. It was good to meet again with the other Head Students/School Council representatives and it was a really productive meeting as we already all knew each other.

We discussed mental health and pastoral care in each school and how we can learn from each other, specifically looking at the different support in each school to help student Well-being and to combat anxiety and depression. We all shared the different approaches to supporting young people in each of our schools, as well as each school’s existing platforms. We discussed how to deal with high levels of stress in exam years by helping to find alternative solutions to help students manage exam stress such as mindfulness and exercise.

We discussed smoking and vaping rules and how each school approaches these issues, as well as looking at ideas to help those who smoke or vape as a stress reliever to find alternative ways to relax.

We also discussed lost property and theft, looking at differentiating petty theft from serious theft and how to approach each according to the gravity of the situation.

There were some other ideas for more healthy eating in meals and in the school cafe as well as creating safe spaces for students to share in, building on the good work of student led groups at Bedales such as LGBTQ+ society and Tea & Chat.

Everyone appeared very excited to take their feedback to each of their school councils. We are looking forward to another meeting in the third term, hosted by Bedales, to continue learning from each other and share the progress we are making.

Bedales Geography teacher awarded prestigious fellowship

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In recognition of the innovative Geography Bedales Assessed Course, Bedales’ Head of Geography Paul Turner has been awarded membership of a prestigious Curriculum Planning Working Group through the Fawcett Fellowship offered jointly by the UCL Department of Geography and the Institute of Education.

The working group will meet on a termly basis and look to link theory with practice at different levels of planning. Fawcett Fellows are committed to the value of contemporary geographical knowledge and a dynamic curriculum with a view to stimulating pupils’ interest in the subject and capacity for thinking geographically.

As a Fawcett Fellow, Paul will contribute to classroom-based research in order to evaluate how curricular aims are translated into pupils’ capabilities in geography. Overall, the aim of the Fellowship is to develop empirical research into the geography curriculum, thus filling a gap in the literature and knowledge base of many practitioners. The group will seek to better understand how to plan for progression of pupils’ understanding of knowledge, skills and thinking in geography.

The group will explore questions such as: which geographical knowledge and skills are most valuable for children and how should these be sequenced in a curriculum? And, what are the learning steps that pupils need to go through to move from novice to proficient geographer?

Block 5 student interns at renowned costume house

By Juliette Lemley, Block 5

In July, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to complete an internship at Tirelli Costumi, a renowned costume house based in Rome which supplies period costumes for motion picture productions.

During the internship, I met the fashion designer Andrea Sorrentino and I was able to work with him as he prepared the wardrobe for Catherine the Great, starring Helen Mirren, which is currently being filmed.

At the conclusion of our work in July, Mr Sorrentino invited me to take my internship further and return to Rome to assist him in the presentation of his work in a major exhibition on costume and wardrobe in cinema.

My role was to assist him in the preparation of his portion of the exhibition. Mr Sorrentino was displaying one of his original wardrobe pieces that he created for a short film called The Secret of Joy.

The exhibition was very interesting as it incorporated the work of established designers such as Piero Tosi and Maurizio Millinoti, both of whom are legendary designers in the global cinema world, and combined it with the work of fashion design students who are their protégés.

Some of the specific tasks I worked on as we prepared the display included adding gems to the dress, steaming the dress and adjusting some of the worn out areas on the dress, as well as numerous other things.

While working with Mr Sorrentino I gained a couple of insights that have been very impactful on my thinking. The first is that no matter what level, or what business you are working in, details matter – and focus on them is critical.

Secondly, I now have a much stronger understanding of how important it is to create and nurture relationships with people you admire and respect so, if you are fortunate, you have the opportunity to continue to learn from them. Also, being a good and dependable team mate is critical as people will be able to depend on you and you will be able to learn more.

Thank you to Bedales for making it possible for me to take part in the internship and continue my education in this area.