Afternoon Tea at The Bakehouse


By Helen Martin, privileged guest

Last Thursday saw the gastronomic highlight of the Easter Term; Afternoon Tea in the Bakehouse. Organised by 6.1 Food Enrichment students Lola, Charlotte, Nancy, Sam, Tiger, Lilly, Fleur and Isi, the event was the culmination of two term’s hard work.  Under the guidance of ODW teacher and culinary whizz, Feline, students rose to the challenge of not just feeding 20 members of staff and parents, but making us feel welcome and thoroughly spoiled too.

DYWk3X0X0AIIQHNThe menu included miniature quiches, meringues, scones with rhubarb compote, chocolate orange truffles, cucumber sandwiches, vegan cardamom cookies, chocolate eclairs and Portuguese custard tarts. Furnished with starched linen tablecloths, bunches of spring flowers and platters of exquisite homemade food, the Bakehouse looked more like the Hampshire outpost of a chic members club than a classroom.

A huge amount of work had obviously gone into the event, but it was a relaxed, happy occasion. Creative, heartfelt and unashamedly Bedalian. As Lola says, “You wouldn’t be able to do this at any other school.”

“People were amazed that we were able to come up with it all in such a short time, with so few of us,” continues Fleur. “The sun was shining and everyone was so thankful for the food, it felt like spring was finally here.”

DYWk3XzWAAAWc-TLola, who admits she wasn’t even able to cook before taking the course, says that Food Enrichment hasn’t just been about food: “It was great to cook together; we all worked really well as a group. We learnt about organisation and how to stay calm in the kitchen.”

“It was enjoyable, fun and friendly,” adds Fleur, “I got to work with people I wouldn’t usually hang out with. We learnt that cooking the food can be just as enjoyable as eating it.”

So what’s the secret to a successful afternoon tea? “Practise, organisation… and Feline!” says Lola. “We’re very lucky to have her.”


BAC students learn stewardship skills to improve Bedales working farm

By Andrew Martin, Head of Outdoor Work

As the Block 5 students near the completion of their BAC projects I thought now would be a good time to share some of the fantastic, challenging work they’ve been up to.

This time last year students were busy discussing possible projects and forming groups based upon shared interests, rather than friendships. Encouraging students to work in such groups enables them to develop important life skills, such as teamwork, listening, tolerance and resilience. Students are judged on their journal, the outcome itself, and, most importantly, their approach and attitude towards their work. The common thread running through all the projects is that each must give something back to Outdoor Work or to the community and estate: a form of stewardship where they learn about the importance of looking after the land for the next generation.

For example, Olav, Carter and Oscar have created a meadow between the new Art & Design building and Outdoor Work (above). To do this the boys learned how to split and shape chestnut poles to make ‘post and rail’ fencing. The meadow will soon be home to our two South Down sheep, Sammy and Saoirse.

ODW chicken pen crop (Large)Other projects include the creation of another chicken pen (right) and the restoration of a polytunnel. This will allow us to cater for an additional 20 Sussex Rangers and 20 Amberlink chickens, in order to increase our free-range egg supply (we are constantly being asked for more eggs!). The shed previously known as the Pineapple House has been converted into a potting shed . To do this, Hannah, Annie and Hanna had to learn a range of skills, including brick-laying, blacksmithing, carpentry and leaded window making. Neri, Jo and Aria have been busy continuing the development of the Bakehouse; adding a considerable amount of storage as well as ensuring our new wood-fired bread-oven, built by Keir Rowe, is completely sealed and weather proof in the new Bakehouse extension.

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Our pizza shack has been further developed with a new floor, rendered walls, and the addition of many fixtures and fittings. Flora, Max, Dylan and Cameron have managed all this whilst running it as a business every other week, making on average 45 pizzas each time. A number of chestnut and oak framed outbuildings have been built by Max, Archie, Gus and Finn, to store wood alongside all the reclaimed material that we pride ourselves on recycling. An exciting interactive map has been developed by Michael and Jamie, as well as a bespoke orienteering course around the estate. Thanks to Jamie, Olivia and Oscar there is a new terrace around the ODW office and lots more seating around the barns.

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The continued development of the ODW Shop (below) by Helena and Keziah is particularly exciting. Not only does it look amazing, it also provides a permanent space for us to sell products from the farm and our kitchen. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, because every penny of profit goes back into the development of the farm. And secondly, it allows students to display the end product of all their work. This could be meat from our livestock, bread or baked goods from the Bakehouse, or craft products from the spinning room and forge.

We are having a mini launch/opening for the new shop during the last week of term, on 21, 22 and 23 of March. Please, please, do come and visit. Your support makes such a difference to the students, and really helps them feel that all their hard work has been worthwhile.

We look forward to seeing you then!

ODW Shop peak (Large)

A sneak preview of the new ODW Shop

Bedales and QI thinking

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

On Saturday, two 6.1s, Taran Llewelyn Bradford and Thea Sesti, took part in a pilot scheme to bring ‘QI Thinking’ into education. Bedales is hosting this pilot, and is working with six other independent schools. The hope is to develop an approach that can be rolled out into classrooms in both the independent and maintained sectors, building inquisitiveness.

QI stands for ‘Quite Interesting’. You might have seen it on TV (this clip on ‘what is the roundest thing in the universe?’ is quite representative, if you haven’t seen it), but actually, its creator, John Lloyd has a much broader, and idealistic aim for QI than that. QI is not only about TV, but also books, podcasts, talks to industry leaders. In short, QI is not a show, but an approach to thinking and learning.

Parents might remember that we hosted John Lloyd ‘in conversation with…’ Harry Enfield in aid of the John Badley Foundation. There is clear overlap between QI’s focus on inquisitiveness, and Bedales’ first aim to ‘To develop inquisitive thinkers with a love of learning who cherish independent thought’. Because of this, Headmaster Keith Budge, in his role convening the HMC conference this year, worked with John to formulate a scheme for ‘QI boot-camps’, designed to reinvigorate curriculum with interesting, fascinating facts, rather than dull, obvious material.

John Lloyd argues that ‘nothing is boring if you spend enough time looking into it’. On Saturday, this was modelled for us. John, and two of the ‘elves’ Anna Ptaszynski and James Harkin, demonstrated, pretty conclusively that there is something fascinating, even about a topic as seemingly dull as fire-escapes!

In the afternoon, we spent our time in our wonderful library, with both online and paper resources (books, periodicals and newspapers) at our disposal. Students had to seek out anything fascinating relating to a ‘Q’ word (the elves are currently compiling material for the ‘Q’ series of QI). Look out for these facts we discovered!

  • Did you know that Tyrannosaurus Rex actually had feathers?
  • Did you know that when The Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) followers were exiled from Mecca, they used to pray facing Jerusalem?
  • Did you know that there is a disease that humans can get from eating a quail that has eaten a poison, even though we would not get ill from directly consuming the poison?

Taran and Thea will now be working as ambassadors for this approach in the school. Look out for prompts for QI thinking in the next few weeks!


Social media, internet and students

By Louise Wilson, Senior Deputy

Last Friday, the FOBs coffee and discussion proved a welcome opportunity for myself and Peter Thackrey, Head of Boarding and Boys’ Flat housestaff, to meet with parents and share our experiences and advice on matters related to the internet.

We discussed the benefits of communicating easily with friends and loved ones (and the need to be able to do this early in the morning and in the evening for some overseas students), accessing vast amounts of information online and learning about the increasing use of WhatsApp, rather than email, amongst people now joining the workforce. We agreed that the misuse of social media is most likely to be encountered in Blocks 3 and 4, but that students become less concerned and dependant on social media after that point.

We talked about conflict at home around mobile phone use (for example at night), about VPNs (private internet sites that bypass all monitoring and give access to content that can be illegal or disturbing in nature) and 3G and 4G (which bypasses school filtering).

Although there were some calls for blocking and banning phones, the majority view and that of the school, is that education and talking with young people to understand their motivations and share concerns is the most effective approach to healthy internet use. That said, mobile phones should not be visible in lessons unless the teacher wants them to be used for an educational purpose; this is because they are generally considered a distraction from learning in the classroom. Students in Blocks 3 to 5 have been reminded that phones are confiscated for 24 hours (not overnight for day students) if they are misused in lessons.

Mapping for the future

By Paul Turner, Head of Geography

Wednesday 15 November was World GIS Day, GIS is an acronym for Geographical Information Systems and along with Digital Mapping is increasingly seen as an integral skill for students in the modern world.

You might be amazed to know that 98% of the Ordnance Survey’s business is now digital mapping products rather than the traditional paper maps. The biggest player in this field is ESRI, a mapping company worth in excess of $1 billion. ESRI describes GIS as the ‘Science of Where’ and emphasises its importance in unlocking the potential of big data. As a school, teaching spatial thinking empowers students with the skills to understand and act upon the big issues facing planet Earth.

Steve Richardson ‘GIS Expert’ visited for a day last week to help run special workshops for geography students. This included activities mapping where the clothes on their back came from so that they could better understand globalisation and the global division of labour, and other students explored real time data of earthquakes and volcanoes. Some of the day was spent pouring over the department’s schemes of work to establish how we might best integrate these important digital skills into our everyday practice. Steve also worked one-to-one with 6.2 students assisting them to develop the mapping and data visualisation in their Independent Investigations worth 20% of their A Level. The Geography department has a strong commitment to building students’ digital and ICT skills.

What is Good?

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By Clare Jarmy Head of Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

On Wednesday, Bedales was very lucky to welcome Professor Simon Blackburn to speak on the subject ‘What is Good?’ in the newly renovated Lupton Hall. Mainly aimed at the Sixth Form, Bedales PRE A Level students were joined by around 70 students from Churcher’s College, Alton College and Queen Mary’s College.

Professor Blackburn, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University, started with a very contemporary dilemma. On the one hand, it is hard to say that ‘good’ or ‘evil’ are part of the world in the same way that dogs, chairs and pizzas are part of the world (as GE Moore would say, this is to make something non-natural into something natural –a naturalistic fallacy), yet, don’t we also want to say that there are things that are good, and things that are evil?

Many students are faced with the dilemma that perhaps in ethics, it is all just subjective: just a matter of taste. On the other hand, we also feel passionately about ethical issues. Students want to convince others about the morality of veganism, or the immorality of factory conditions in less developed economies. No problem, Blackburn says. We can meaningfully talk ethically, even if we are dubious about ethical ‘facts’. Look to the practice, he says: what would someone with practical wisdom, someone who is good at ‘acting well’, do?

After a great talk, there were some excellent questions, and some meaningful discussion. Professor Blackburn was extremely generous with his time, staying into the evening with a smaller meeting of the Philosophy Society. In this talk, he was trying to convince us to become ‘infidels’ – something beyond atheist – we should not care about the question of God’s existence. To read more about his views on religion, see here (site-wide access at Bedales; subscription required elsewhere).

Demystifying bursaries and scholarships

Bedales allocates 6% of fee income every year – in excess of £1million – to fund bursaries and scholarships. There are distinct differences between these awards: bursaries provide means-tested financial support towards school fees; scholarships recognise particular talents and potential and provide access to a research grant. Pupils can therefore be the beneficiary of a bursary or scholarship or both, depending on their particular circumstances.

PrintRichard Lushington, Bursar, manages the process of means-testing for bursary awards, the majority of which are for less than 75% of the annual fees. The school wants to do more to broaden access, increase diversity and offer full financial support, so has established the John Badley Foundation (JBF) as a separate charity, to provide 100% funded bursary places. The Foundation has a clear and ambitious strategy to offer two new full bursary places each year, continue to provide funding for our existing JBF beneficiaries at the school, and to put a little aside to build an endowment fund to underpin the long-term financial stability of the Foundation. The ultimate goal is to have two fully funded JBF students in each year from Dunhurst Block 1 to Bedales 6.2. With huge support from current and former parents and Old Bedalians, the Foundation is thrilled to report that three new full bursary beneficiaries took up their places this year. There are now seven JBF pupils in the school – which is the most in the Foundation’s history and half way towards our target of 14 places – ranging from Block 1 to Bedales Sixth Form. You will see a number of events and activities promoted throughout the year to support the JBF. Thank you for your continuing support, and if you would like to find out more about Bedales fundraising, please contact Head of Development, Veryan Vere Hodge.