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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Block 3’s Ullswater adventure

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By Evelyn Adams, Blk 3

On Saturday 3 September, the new Block 3 travelled to Ullswater in the Lake District, the 8 hour coach journey was tiring but we were rewarded with an exhilarating swim in the lake when we arrived, which definitely woke us up!

My favourite part of the visit was the gorge scrambling. We were all getting to know each other whilst having fun splashing about and scrambling up gushing waterfalls. Over the week the different tutor groups got to experience all sorts of activities, from canoeing to rowing to trapeze exercises and lots of other fun and challenging activities. On Tuesday morning everyone set off with their instructors on their three day expedition, carrying everything they would need for two nights of sleeping out on the mountains.

The funniest bit was making structures out of pasta and jelly babies. What started off as a competitive challenge, turned into a crazy pasta fight, it was everywhere, but some of the creations were amazing. It was all really fun and everyone was getting along very well and making new friends for the year ahead!

Choreography, collaboration and Bedales School

By Tzeitel Degiovanni, 6.2 Drama and Theatre Studies student, Dubai College

 

DC group shotAfter an amazing and hugely successful Drama exchange last year, whereby we hosted Bella, Foxey, Roly, James, Callum, Ruan, Mim and Hebe in Dubai, the seven of us drama students couldn’t wait to see Bedales in the flesh when we joined them on their ‘home turf’ in freezing cold Hampshire. Being part of the 25th year of this  exchange, the A2 Drama class were already feeling part of something memorable – and thanks to our amazingly hospitable hosts – our incredible week was just that!

Performing our exam piece, See A Girl Dance Again, in The Quad during Monday’s assembly was no doubt a scary learning curve for all of us, but one that we will certainly learn a lot from. The reception (applause, stomping and all) was very much appreciated after 14 hours on our feet, and it was wonderful to see OB’s, Bella and James, in the front row supporting us!

Immersing ourselves in Bedales life, joining in lessons, assemblies, boarding house life and the infamous “hand shaking” – whereby every student shakes hands with every member of staff and says goodnight – was a fantastic experience, and not one we’ll forget soon. Thanks to the Theatre Studies teacher, Jenny, we were able to collaborate with the Year 12 theatre students for an hour, where we created a ‘Brecht on Brecht’ piece about the life of the man (and notorious philanderer) himself. Then, in the ever-patient hands of Liz, we joined an A Level Dance class and worked with the current AS students on their exam duets. This was especially exciting for us Dubai College students, as Dance isn’t available to us as an A-Level. Some of us were perhaps more successful than others but everyone certainly tried their best! Sharing our ideas and learning from the creativity of the students at Bedales has definitely helped shape our piece, and our team, into an even stronger collective than when we arrived.

Leading workshops with the Block 3s and 4s, as well as at Dunhurst, based on the physicality and musicality of our piece, was inspiring to say the least. We were flattered at how enthusiastically everyone took to our piece and at how they made it their own – with many dark horses emerging from the shadows!

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On our fourth day, Andrew took us on a tour of Outdoor Work at Bedales; growing up in a place where the landscape consists of desert and skyscrapers – we loved it! We enjoyed trekking through the mud, seeing the pigs (especially Angelica!) and learning about sheep reproduction on a working farm that makes and sells its own produce. The Bedales motto became extremely apt when we were on our tour – ‘work of each for the weal of all’ – and is a sentiment we all agreed to take back with us.

Bedales were then generous enough to let us join students in a workshop with The Hiccup project – a Brighton based comedy dance/theatre duo. We used physicality to the extreme and became surreal monsters, breaking down barriers that undoubtedly brought our class from DC and the Bedales dancers closer than we ever though we could get, in the span of just 4 hours. We then unreservedly made a Backstreeet Boys music video, ‘danced’ to a collection of 90s pop, and became dictators, heart-breakers, rappers, drunkards and consequently first-class dance/theatre extraordinaires. Needless to say, this was the highlight of our time at Bedales, as despite waking up with sore… everythings… we definitely formed bonds for life.

Overall getting back to Dubai has been bittersweet, as despite the cold and the travelling, our experience of life as boarders and students at Bedales School has been an amazing one. Thanks to everyone who smiled at us in the corridors, helped direct us around the maze that is the 6.2 flat, shared their tea, asked us to ‘brekkie’ and just generally made us feel more than welcome and consequently reluctant to leave! I know the 6.1 Drama students at Dubai College are very much looking forward to the tables turning next year and having the Bedallians perform here in the desert! Literally… 🙂

Read Bedales student Hebe Bartlett’s report here and view a gallery of pictures here.

 

 

 

Choreography, collaboration and Dubai College

By Hebe Bartlett, 6.2

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I am currently sitting in a Hiccup Project workshop (run by a Brighton-based comedy/theatre duo) with the Dubai College students, having spent the last two days with them. We have spent the afternoon pretending to be evolving monsters, talking about buildings as if we were breaking up with someone, and dancing happily to Titanic – which is harder than it sounds. Over the last few days the Dubai College students have treated us to their A2 Devised production See a Girl Dance Again, and taught workshops based on their piece.

This is the 25th year of the Dubai exchange (you can view more photos here), and we have all loved spending time with them on 6.2 flat. We will miss you!

 

Lest we forget

Librarian Jane Kirby and I wanted to commemorate those Bedalians who died in WW1.  I suggested we marked the 100th anniversary of their deaths and we agreed this should include a small presentation in the Bedales Memorial Library, the School’s War Memorial, designed by Ernest Gimson and opened in 1921. We have very limited archival resources but close study of The Bedales Record (published annually in September) and, from 1907, The Bedales Chronicle, produced information about most of the OBs. I use my membership of Ancestry.co.uk and other genealogical sites to begin research into family backgrounds and regularly consult surviving material at The National Archives, The British Library and the Bodleian.  Many of the OBs feature in published works (usually to be found in our Library), and in several cases I have been loaned material by surviving descendants.

Bedales is unusual in commemorating an ex-pupil, Ferenc Bekassy, who died in the Hungarian Hussars, and an ex-teacher of German, Herr Hinne, who was killed in the German infantry.  I have added to the 63 ex-students and 2 members of staff, two ex-members of the domestic staff, previously ignored.  17 people have already been acknowledged (go to History of Bedales: WW1 on the website) so there is still a large task to be completed.  If any readers of this Bulletin have information about ancestors who were at Bedales and died in WW1 we would be delighted to receive it.

By Ruth Whiting

Old Bedalians reunite in Oxford

The second of last week’s OB reunions based on universities took place in Oxford on Thursday when nine OBs currently studying at Oxford met up at the Old Bank Hotel.  First, second and third year undergraduates attended. Also with them were headmaster, Keith Budge, and four current and two former members of staff together with OB Oliver Jacobs (1952), Emeritus Fellow of Engineering at St John’s College. Other subjects represented included Fine Art, Physics, English, Modern Languages, Biological Sciences and Medicine. The eclectic mix made for much interesting conversation as school links were renewed and the value of the Bedales network in offering shared experience, professional guidance and opportunities for mentoring made clear.

By Philip Parsons, 6.2 Housemaster and Alumni Officer

Sharing experiences at university reunions

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Continuing our series of OB reunions based on universities, nine Old Bedalians all connected in some way with Exeter University met on Monday evening in The Old Fire House in Exeter with two former and two present members of staff.  The OBs included Rebecca Langlands (1990), currently Associate Professor in Classics at Exeter and Helen Sail (nee Bird, 1982), currently Head of Geography at Exeter School and colleague of Graham Banks (former housemaster and Head of English at Bedales). More recent OBs at Exeter were reading English, Modern Languages, Drama, Medicine, Biochemistry and Engineering and all had experiences to share. It was a very pleasant evening, and a very useful way of updating each other on developments at Exeter and Bedales and maintaining the extended Bedales family.

By Philip Parsons, 6.2 Housemaster and Alumni Officer