Can a school change and still be the same school?

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By Clare Jarmy, Head of PRE and Head of Academic Enrichment and Oxbridge

125 logo trans - Copy (Small)Giving school assemblies is always such a joy, especially tackling topics that really matter to us as a community. On our minds this year, in the context of the 125th anniversary of the school, and with Magnus taking the reins in September, is institutional identity. Is Bedales the same school it was 125 years ago? With so much change over the years, how can Bedales still be the same?

In Philosophy, we ask this question of ourselves – we are changing too, with cells regenerating all the time, so am I the same person? Perhaps memories are what keep us the same person?

I applied this to the case of Bedales, and demonstrated that there is a long institutional memory at the school. I asked students to stand up if they had been at Bedales for more than 5 years, then to stand up if they had a parent at the school, or grandparent, or sibling. By then, almost everyone was standing up, and we could see how much collective memory we have of the school.

Similarly, we still have overlapping memories leading back to Mr Badley himself. Keith, other staff and OBs, knew Tim Slack. Tim Slack knew Mr Badley. We then, by knowing those around us today, become part of that chain of memory that leads back to the foundation of the school.

This could get quite backward-looking and nostalgic. After all, as John Henry Newman said, ‘to live is to change’, and Bedales is always seeking to renew itself (Mr Badley wanted the school to rebuild itself every seven years). We must, then, remain Janus-faced, looking back to and understanding our past, yet ever looking forwards to how we shape the school in the future.

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Alumni describe strong Bedales influence

OB Kirstie Allsopp writes about the teachers at Bedales that stood her in good stead in later life; OB Eric Lawrie describes Bedales as being a “pivotal part of my experience of life”; OB Sirio Quintavalle says of Bedales “I only now realise how rare it is to have such a range of excellent teachers”; and OB Edward Impey admires Ruth Whiting (then Head of History) but admits that she “scared the pants off me – still does”. Kirstie’s memories were recorded in an article in Independent School Parent magazine, and the Bedales Alumni Profiles webpage features case studies of Bedalian talent across a broad range of professions and industry sectors.

Kirstie Allsopp

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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.

Moving D-Day diary entry by Bedalian, 6 June 1944

On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Bedales archivist, Jane Kirby, unearthed an excerpt from a diary written by OB Jean Symons née Layton written on 6 June 1944 entitled Diary of invasion from a Bedalian’s point of view. Jean gives a fascinating account of what it was like to be in Steep on that day. When she woke that morning she wrote: “Conscious of planes going over and cannot get to sleep. School clock strikes 7. Distant guns beyond Portsmouth, must be at sea, – (intuition – why not France?) See 3 planes flying low past dorm window – think perhaps there are men in these going to France.” Later she adds: “Remark on number [of] amphibious tanks and terrific cranes going through Steep”. Read the full diary entry.

Bedales during WW2 (1940)

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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.

WWI letters donated to archive

We were very touched to be given a collection of letters sent to Vyv Trubshawe before and during World War 1. Vyv was a student from 1905-12 and later became an architect, designing many of the school buildings including the workshop and music school. His daughters Jill and Biddy, also OBs, have kindly donated the letters to the archive. They have put a lot of work into sorting them, identifying the writers and people mentioned and providing a glossary of nicknames, which will be extremely useful for any reader not familiar with the Bedalians of the era. Some of them touch on school business, and others, on their experiences during the War. As we commemorate the centenary of the start of the War next year, we hope to use extracts to shed light on what was happening to Bedalians at the front and at home.

By Jane Kirby, Archivist and Librarian

Postcard from F Best to Vyv Trubshawe

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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.

OBs star in new films

In recent weeks three new films featuring OBs have been published online. A short three minute film highlights how Bedales has shaped the lives of OBs in a broad range of professions who left Bedales in 1966 (including actor, politician, QC, artist, musician, Cambridge don). Watch summary 1966 cohort film. Watch full 1966 cohort film. A second film features Sir Terence Conran’s interview in the Olivier Theatre where he was recently centre stage ‘Talking Design’ with OB Matthew Rice. Watch Terence Conran film. Finally, OB actor Jamie Campbell Bower features in a promotional film for Jaguar on a return visit to Bedales where he meets with his former Drama teacher Simon Kingsley-Pallant, and Jay Green. Watch Jaguar video.

Bedales 1966 cohort

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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.

Interview with OB producer of Woman’s Hour

We were delighted to welcome Old Bedalian and Producer of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Lucinda Montefiore, back to the school recently to talk to students at Civics. While here, Lucinda was interviewed by 6.2 student Nell Whittaker about joining Bedales in 1975 and her time here, as well as feminism and her job at the BBC. “Having previously attended a conservative all-girls school, coming to Bedales was venturing into the unknown. ‘It was, above all, exciting,’ says Lucinda. ‘Suddenly, here were people I wanted to talk to and teachers who were hugely inspiring. It felt like the right place. The people here were interested in reading, books, ideas’.” Read the full interview.

Lucinda Montefiore

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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.

OB returns to film music video

Old Bedalian Marika Hackman recently returned to Bedales for the day to film the official video for her latest single in the Lupton Hall. The video for Cannibal, taken from the album That Iron Taste released last week, was produced by Sean Stuart who has worked on videos for Tina Turner, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross. The song was produced by Charlie Andrew, the Mercury Prize Winning (2012) producer of Alt-J. Marika has just been on tour with Ethan Johns (producer of Kings of Leon and Paolo Nutini) and headlined a short national tour. Next week she is heading to Texas to play two shows at SXSW Music. Watch video. View photos.

Marika Hackman

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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.