Creative coppicing – the Bedales way

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By Carter Clothier and Oscar Goldblatt, Block 4

On Wednesday, we, and seven other students got an amazing opportunity to take part in a workshop with The Creative Coppice Company. It was a really fun and productive day and we now have the skills we need to carry out our final BAC project.

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Carter Clothier

For our BAC, Oscar D, Olav and I are making a post and rail fence to surround a new meadow which we will create between the Art & Design building and Outdoor Work. We started the day by learning how to split a piece of chestnut using a hammer and wedges, and we all managed to complete this with ease. We then progressed a little and learnt how to split a much longer bit of chestnut using the same method, but this time we had to split it into four. This was a little trickier and we all ended up with a lot more wasted wood than we would have liked, but nevertheless we all got the hang of it after a few hours.

WP_20170510_14_29_59_Pro cropAfter a well-earned lunch we went back to learn how to finish off the posts and rails. For the posts we had to mark out the location of the mortice and drill 12 holes into the post, this then needed cleaning up with a very sharp chisel. We created six slots for the rail to go into.  This brings me onto the most difficult bit – making the tenons, which is basically a practice of shaping the end of the rail to make it fit into the post. This is usually done with a chainsaw, but in true Bedalian fashion we had to do it the traditional way: using an axe and draw knife.  This slow and painful process consisted of chopping the corners off the quartered bits of chestnut with an axe and then shaving of vast amounts of leftover wood with the draw knife.

This took a long while to get the hang of, but we eventually got it down to about one rail every 25 minutes. By the end we completed around five or six rails. Only 98 more to go…!

Oscar

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Livi, Jamie and I are building a terrace / balcony around the new ODW office as part of our BAC project – the office was refurbished from a grain store by last year’s BAC students.

WP_20170509_10_53_50_Pro cropWe began working on our project by showing Dave, from The Creative Coppice Company, some of our rough sketches and ideas and then we started measuring out some of the sides. Once we had all the sides measured we then calculated that we needed six poles for our design. As a group we started to scrape the bark off the 2 .75m chestnut logs in preparation for marking-out and cutting. Getting set up and trying to ensure all measurements were in the correct orientation on a round pole is very satisfying, yet quite intensive and time-consuming.

However, we feel we picked up enough information to start our projects with confidence. The next step in our project is to dig the holes and position the poles so we can start putting the decking on. We all benefited a lot from this day and I think we would all agree that we would do it again.

In praise of… praising

Final feast of the year

By Clare Jarmy, Head of Religious Studies and Philosophy and Head of Academic Enrichment and Oxbridge

One of the main perks of being Head of Academic Enrichment is getting to come along to feasts held by Keith and Moony (see good manners, above) for those students who are working really hard, making excellent progress and showing determination in their work.

They’re really positive events, made even the more special by the fact Moony makes the brownies herself (when the dog doesn’t eat them…). Many schools are good at rewarding academic achievement, but Bedales is really good at praising determination, dedication and academic interest.

It seems to me much more valuable to praise the qualities we want, rather than simply good products. Qualities such as determination and resilience are essential for future learning and careers. In fact, many suggest that ‘grit’ – perseverance – is a better predictor for achievement than IQ  – if we can praise good dispositions, and reinforce those, that seems to be an excellent thing. Moreover, praising the effort over the product avoids students getting fixated on replicating work of exactly the same kind – if my work has been praised, I’ll keep doing that. If my qualities have been praised, I’ll keep working in that way.

This feeds into a growth mindset way of talking to students about academic ability – all learners (including oldies like me!) have progress to make and things to improve. We want to praise students who take this challenge whole-heartedly.

An Inspector Calls…

On Wednesday, Bedales held an education conference as part of its series of ‘leading independent thinking’ events. Two years ago the subject was innovative education, whilst this one focused on leadership. These are, arguably, the two most important facets that the ‘industry’ needs to address in the early 21st century, a time when traditional educational models seem to be breaking down and the respective authorities seem unwilling, too-slow or even incapable of making the changes required – a theme that very much came out of the day.

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Sir Michael Wilshaw

Kick-started by a keynote address from Chief Inspector of Schools and Head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the title of this year’s conference was ‘Liberating Leaders’. The day was designed for people across both age ranges (student and teacher) and did what it said on the tin! At least that’s my experience given that, writing this the next day, I now find myself feeling a breeze of liberation which has seemingly put me on a track that I was struggling to find.  This article is the first of several, in it I will provide an introduction to the day, the speakers and the initial effect on me. In later articles I will discuss the messages of each speaker, my thoughts and inspired actions.

As you may have guessed, Bedales, a school with a long history of innovation, did not stick to the educational-conference norms, with one speaker pointing out that this was the first one she had been to that involved students as well as teachers. Later in the day, the conference split into two programmes, with the students splitting off to take part in leadership workshops. They later re-joined us for the educational debate. Below is a brief account of each adult session.

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That knighted rebel, Sir Michael Wilshaw, started the programme of events and called for more “Mavericks” in state education. He defined ‘Mavericks’ as being extraordinary, flamboyant, colourful and slightly strange characters. Characters have long been a traditional facet of the independent sector but largely lacking in the state sector. He went on to give examples of what sort of characters these Mavericks might be, giving several real life examples from his own experience (he’s a lucky Knight to have been exposed to such a rarity).  He then went on to talk about the ‘act’ that these Mavericks need to put on, to facilitate a good education.  However, I got the sense that Mike’s idea of a good education is different to mine. For him, it seems, a good education is about tradition, imperialism, discipline to authority, GCSEs and A-levels, and this is where the Mavericks in him and me vary. Mike is, what I would class, a pseudo-maverick, a traditionalist who uses un-orthodox measures to achieve orthodox aims, whereas the Maverick in me is less of an oxymoron. I am the type of Maverick who believes current education is inadequate and that we need major changes in-line with the modern world, instead of measures that attempt to hold on to imperialistic values of a once ‘great’ Britain. Thankfully the room was largely full of delegates who had a similar vision to mine, as final questions and Twitter revealed. Moving on we heard from some other Mavericks who are doing great things in schools.

Firstly, two scholars from the States (where education is much less restricted by government) gave two extremely inspiring talks about their Maverick journeys. Barbara Oakley talked about her inspirational story in education and ‘learning to learn’, turning academic research into tangible metaphors, thus delivering exemplary content. Danielle Harlan gave some entertaining anecdotes with strong and powerful underlying messages that have helped shape her into the Maverick leader she has become. In her second year of teaching, she was able to get her Special Educational Needs (SEN) class up to either the peer-group’s grade or above, simply by redesigning the curriculum in small but measurable increments.

Bill Lucas tweetAfter lunch, complete with Bedales sausages, focaccia, chilli chutney and onion jam – all produced by the Outdoor Work department – we heard from Bill Lucas -a Maverick, pioneer and founder of the Expansive Education Network. It seems to me that Bill’s contributions to education already surpasses the Knight’s, but whilst Bill was involved in British education during Labour’s tenure, the Conservatives have sent him to the ’naughty corner’. Nowadays, or rather nowayears and despite being based at Winchester University, the Welsh Government is the only political force in the UK that seems to value him; internationally, he is dealing with the Australian Government as well as many other schools around the world, including England! Bill gave his 14 top tips for improving future education that left me dreaming of a rational world in which our political leaders understood the needs of the people.

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Keith Budge and Geoff Barton welcome Mike Fairclough to the stage

Next, we heard from three Maverick Headmasters, two from the state sector: Geoff Barton and Mike Fairclough, as well as Bedales’ own, Keith Budge. Geoff, who bravely called Ofsted a “Monster”, took to the stage first. It was a shame that Sir Mike had already left the building, as I feel he needed to hear Geoff’s extremely good argument about the problems of Ofsted’s model of inspection and the bullish role it has in education. But I doubt Geoff would have had much of an impact, the Government does not always respect the opinion of stakeholders such as professional educators – as Gove proved with his A-level reforms. Moving on, Mike Fairclough’s story was my favourite, he is so Maverick he’s off the scale! With his innovative school, containing a farm and a Bronze Age site, where they make arrow heads, use paddle boats, learn country management skills and have a partnership with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that aims to dispel media health and safety myths (how ironic that HSE takes more of a supportive role than Ofsted). But what really brought a tear to my eye was the fact that this was done on a council estate, a demographic in which education is known to fail. Finally, and being left short of time, Keith concluded the talk by discussing the recent innovation that is the Bedales Assessed Course (BAC), giving the audience an insight into the history of the BACs, what they have taught Bedales, and our future aspirations for them.

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Education panel

To close, there was an educational panel debate involving Keith, Geoff and four students: Flora and Charlie from Bedales and two girls from King Edward VI School. I must say I was particularly impressed by the ability of all four students to talk intelligently and respond so well and quickly to questions they had only just heard. The debate was not only a nice close to the day but also highlighted to me just how lucky I am to be able to work in an institution that creates free, open-minded and independent adults – something we do here, we are certainly doing right.

View speaker’s biographies and presentations from the conference here.

By Scott Charlesworth, Teacher of Chemistry

Impressive performance at Bedales on GCSE results day

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Bedales celebrated impressive exam results on GCSE results day with over a quarter of its students – 26 from a cohort of 102 – achieving a minimum of nine grades A*-A; 16 of them were educated at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst prior to progressing to Bedales senior school. 56.5% of the total grades awarded were at A*-A, and 94.1% at A*-C.

Unlike any other school, Bedales students tailor their studies by taking core subjects in the more challenging IGCSE qualification and the majority of other subjects in the school’s unique GCSE alternative, Bedales Assessed Courses (BACs). Only a small number of subjects use GCSE. All three qualifications use the same A*-G grading system.

The content of BACs is broad and stimulating offering cross curricular opportunities that are suited to a wide variety of teaching and active learning styles. Internal assessment includes a mixture of written assignments, presentations, projects and performances, together with terminal examinations as appropriate. Results are moderated by external examiners. Bedales is the first school to be recognised by UCAS as offering its own GCSE-replacement qualification.

Ten Bedales students achieved a minimum of nine A* grades, with three of those achieving 11A*s and three gaining 10A*s (see below). Six of the ten students were taught at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, before progressing to Bedales senior school and sixth form.

  • Josh Mazas from Liss achieved 11 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in Dance, Design, Drama, Geography and Philosophy, Religion and Ethics; IGCSEs in English, French, Mathematics, Double Award Science and Spanish; and 1 B in GCSE Chinese. Previously attended Bedales Prep, Dunhurst.
  • Noah Clarke Hall from London achieved 11 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in Design, History and Philosophy, Religion and Ethics; IGCSEs in English, French, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Spanish; and a GCSE in Latin. Previously attended Bedales Prep, Dunhurst.
  • Zeyno Yurddas from London achieved 11 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in Art, English Literature, History, Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, and Outdoor Work; IGCSEs in English, French, Mathematics and Double Award Science; and a GCSE in Turkish.
  • Anna Baring from Winchester achieved 10 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in English Literature and Philosophy, Religion and Ethics; IGCSEs in English, French, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Spanish; and a GCSE in Latin. Previously attended Bedales Prep, Dunhurst.
  • Phoebe Devonshire from Fareham achieved 10 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in English Literature and Philosophy, Religion and Ethics; IGCSEs in English, French, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Spanish; and a GCSE in Latin.
  • Michael Paterson from Midhurst achieved 10 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in Ancient Civilisations, Design and Geography; IGCSEs in English, French, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Spanish. Previously attended Bedales Prep, Dunhurst.
  • Godelieve de Bree from Hindhead achieved 9 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in Art, English Literature, History, Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, and Outdoor Work; IGCSEs in English, French, Biology and Physics; and 2 As in IGCSE Mathematics and Chemistry.
  • Kit Mosely from Hambledon achieved 9 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in Ancient Civilisations, English Literature and History; IGSCEs in English, French, Mathematics and Double Award Science; and a GCSE in Music. Previously attended Bedales Prep, Dunhurst.
  • Julia Newlands from Steep achieved 9 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in Art, English Literature and History; IGCSEs in English, French, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Previously attended Bedales Prep, Dunhurst.
  • Cy Worthington from Richmond, North Yorkshire achieved 9 A*s: Bedales Assessed Courses in English Literature and History; IGCSEs in English, French, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology; a GCSE in Latin; and an A in Bedales Assessed Course in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics.

Commenting on the students’ achievements, Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools said:

“Congratulations to our students on their excellent results. As the Bedales curriculum is mainly a combination of the more demanding IGCSEs and Bedales Assessed Courses, our students’ performance is even more impressive, particularly as over a quarter of them achieved a clean sweep of nine A*s or As. Bedales Assessed Courses offer more stretch, challenge, collaboration, independent working and choice, which we believe encourages higher degrees of motivation and learning in our students. This unique approach provides a better platform for A Level success and thereby access to the more demanding universities, as well as preparing our students for the world of work.”

Other Bedales successes include:

  • Molly Brooks from Chichester achieved 8 A*s and 2 As.
  • *Ollo Catton from Petersfield achieved 8 A*s and 2 As.
  • *Ben Allez from Petersfield achieved 7 A*s and 3 As.
  • *Polly Caines from Petersfield achieved 7 A*s and 3 As.
  • Harry Green from Liss achieved 7 A*s and 3 As.
  • Megan Harley from Walton on Thames achieved 7 A*s and 3 As.
  • *Milo Howes from Ropley achieved 6 A*s and 4 As.
  • *Kitty Kennedy from Petersfield achieved 6 A*s and 4 As.
  • *Rose Voorhees from Petersfield achieved 6 A*s, 3 As and 1 B.
  • Stella Green from Hove achieved 6 A*s and 3 As.
  • *Sam Harding from Steep achieved 6 A*s and 3 As.
  • *Eloise Anderson from London achieved 5 A*s and 4 As.
  • Elmo Meath Baker from London achieved 4 A*s and 6 As.
  • Ottoline MacIlwaine from Alderney, Channel Islands achieved 3 A*s, 6 As and 1 B.
  • *Quito Clothier from Petersfield achieved 3 A*s and 6 As.
  • *Imi Gibbon from Froxfield achieved 2 A*s and 7 As.

* Attended Bedales Prep, Dunhurst prior to Bedales senior school.

Bedales’ unique curriculum is built around a group of five compulsory subjects: IGCSEs in English Language, Mathematics, Science (Double or Triple Award) and a Modern Foreign Language. This ensures both that the full range of core skills is covered and also that the minimum requirement for much of higher education is met. Students then choose from other options, which include up to five BACs from a total of 11 courses on offer that include subjects such as Ancient Civilisations, History (the 2015 cohort was the first to take the BAC rather than GCSE) and Classical Music, an additional IGCSE Modern Foreign Language or GCSE (eg. Latin).

The overall combined GCSE/IGCSE /BAC results in 2015 were:

  • A* – A: 56.5%
  • A* – C: 94.1%

As Bedales students study a combination of three different qualifications, the figure quoted is a combined statistic for GCSE, IGCSE and Bedales Assessed Courses. No other school studies this unique combination of qualifications. Please note data is provisional.

Kitty Kennedy and Ollo Catton with their results
                                    Kitty Kennedy and Ollo Catton with their results

Block 5 student honours work of Winston Churchill

Block 5 student Xavier Pye received a congratulatory letter from his Member of Parliament after successfully completing an ambitious art project as part of his BAC Art work. The project consisted of a huge installation of the Union Flag made up of hundreds of printed images of Winston Churchill. Xavier hand printed each ‘pixel’ of Sir Winston to create the flag. At the installation, Xavier set up a smoke machine and flashing lights along with a recording of Sir Winston speaking to capture the feeling of war-time Britain and the blitz on film. The project was entitled ‘Open Their Eyes’ to raise awareness of Winston Churchill’s role in war-time Britain amongst a much younger generation. Xavier invited children from the primary school near his family home in Wiltshire to come and colour-in the eyes of Winston Churchill in each of the images. Read more.

Block 5 student honours work of Winston Churchill

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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.

The Independent on BACs

Last Thursday The Independent newspaper ran a double page feature on Bedales Assessed Courses (BACs) reporting how “Bedales School is recapturing its founding focus on head, hand, heart”. The article, written by The Independent’s well respected Education Editor Richard Garner who visited the school in October, features quotes from Block 5s Naveed Khalessi and Bella Anderson as well as Keith Budge,  Peter Coates (Head of Outdoor Work), and David Anson (Head of English) on the format, content and merits of BACs. Read the full article.

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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.

Best ever A* GCSE performance at Bedales

Bedales celebrated impressive exam results on GCSE results day with over half the grades awarded at A* or A. Unlike any other school, Bedales students tailor their studies by choosing a combination of GCSEs, the more challenging IGCSEs, and the school’s unique GCSE alternative, Bedales Assessed Courses (BACs). All three qualifications use the same A*-G grading system. This year’s cohort achieved 29% A* grades, higher than any of their predecessors since the current curriculum was started in 2008.

The content of BACs is broad and stimulating offering cross curricular opportunities that are suited to a wide variety of learning styles. Internal assessment includes a mixture of written assignments, presentations, projects and performances, together with terminal examinations as appropriate. Bedales is the first school to be recognised by UCAS as offering its own GCSE-replacement qualification.

12 Bedales students achieved a minimum of nine A* grades; three of those achieving 11A*s and three achieving 10A*s.  In total 21 students (from a cohort of 92) achieved a minimum of nine grade A*/As.

Lili Bidwell from West Meon, Poppy Duncan from Stroud and Juliette Perry from Petersfield all achieved 11A*s. Chloe Green from Liss, Robert Miller from London and Phoebe Noble from Chichester all received 10A*s. Lili obtained A*s in Bedales Assessed Courses Classical Music, English Literature and Philosophy, Religion & Ethics, IGCSEs in Mathematics and Triple Award Science, and GCSEs in English, French, History and Spanish.  Poppy achieved her A*s Bedales Assessed Courses in Classical Music, English Literature and Geography, IGCSEs Mathematics and Triple Award Science, and GCSEs in English, French, Latin and Spanish. Juliette received A*s Bedales Assessed Courses in Design, English Literature, Geography and Philosophy, Religion & Ethics, IGCSEs in Mathematics and Triple Award Science, and GCSEs in English, French and History.

Twins Emily and Natasha Blackley from Priors Dean achieved a total of 18A*s and 4As between them; nine A*s and 2As each. They both achieved A*s in their Bedales Assessed Course in Geography, IGCSEs in Mathematics and Triple Award Science, and GCSE French, as well as an A in GCSE English. Emily also received A*s in her Bedales Assessed Courses in Ancient Civilisations and Dance, and GCSE Spanish, and an A in GCSE History, while Natasha obtained A*s in her Art, Design and English Literature Bedales Assessed Courses and an A in GCSE Latin.

Commenting on the students’ achievements, Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools said:

“Congratulations to our students on their excellent results. The Bedales curriculum is now mainly a combination of the more challenging IGCSEs and Bedales Assessed Courses, with fewer GCSEs, which makes the results even more impressive. Bedales has a history of educational innovation. The replacement of some GCSEs with our own Bedales Assessed Courses has, I believe, not only created a better platform for A Level success but also led to more success with offers from prestigious universities as these courses are not only more imaginative and motivating, but also offer a more academically stretching curriculum.”

Other Bedales successes include:

  • Oscar Braun-White from Rowland’s Castle achieved 9A*s and 2As.
  • Phoebe Landers from Headley achieved 9A*s and 1A.
  • Jojo Mosely from Hambledon achieved 9A*s and 1A.
  • Sophia Falkner from London achieved 9A*s.
  • Sofie Kitts from Swanmore achieved 8A*s and 1A.
  • Ally Swain from Sevenoaks, Kent achieved 8A*s and 1A.
  • Lizzie Compton from Rake achieved 7A*s and 3As.
  • Jack Shannon from Steep achieved 7A*s and 3As.
  • Maya Wilson from Rowberrow, North Somerset achieved 5A*s and 4As.
  • Ellie Soper from Hambledon achieved 5A*s, 4As and 1B.
  • Hux Chambers from London achieved 3A*s and 6As.
  • Roly Botha from the Isle of Wight achieved 2A*s and 7As.
  • Margaret Rice from Bampton, Oxfordshire achieved 1A*, 8As and 1B.

Bedales Assessed Courses are externally moderated and recognised by UCAS. Bedales’ unique curriculum is built around a group of five compulsory subjects: IGCSEs in English, Mathematics, Science (Double or Triple Award) and a Modern Foreign Language (the 2013 cohort was the last to take GCSEs in English Language and a Modern Foreign Language). This ensures both that the full range of core skills is covered and also that the minimum requirement for much of higher education is met. Students then choose from other options, which include up to five BACs from a total of 11 courses on offer that include subjects such as Ancient Civilisations, History and Classical Music, an additional IGCSE Modern Foreign Language or GCSEs (e.g. Latin or Computing).

The overall combined GCSE/IGCSE /BAC pass marks in 2013 were:

  • A* – A: 54%
  • A* – C: 93%

As Bedales students study a combination of three different qualifications, the figure quoted is a combined statistic for GCSE, IGCSE and Bedales Assessed Courses. No other school studies this unique combination of qualifications. Data is provisional.

View photos.

Read more about exam results.

Best ever A* GCSE performance at Bedales

Best ever A* GCSE performance at Bedales

Best ever A* GCSE performance at Bedales

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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.