Google Expeditions: from classroom to…

Google expeditions
By Paul Turner, Head of Geography

Virtual reality is purported to be the next “big thing” in education. Recently, Bedales was extremely lucky to be one of a handful of schools to have the Google Expedition Pioneer Programme visit for a whole day of Google Cardboard VR fun.

Across 18 sessions, 351 students from both Bedales and Dunhurst explored the world, the body and space. The day was an opportunity for staff and students to reflect on their normal classroom practice and question their potential use of VR.

The younger Dunhurst students were especially wowed by the experience. See a short video of the experience here:

…and a timelapse of how it might be integrated into future lessons here:

Bedales Prep student awarded distinction in Maths Junior Olympiad challenge

A student from Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, has received a distinction from the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust (UKMT) after completing the Junior Mathematical Olympiad challenge.

Block 2 (Year 8) pupil Harry Snell qualified for the Junior Mathematical Olympiad after receiving a very high score in the qualifying rounds. The Olympiad consists of a two-hour paper of in-depth mathematical problems set and marked by UKMT.

Harry was one of the top 25% of participants to receive a Certificate of Distinction. He also received an award for successfully submitting mathematically accurate solutions to at least four questions in one of the exam papers.

Commenting on the result, Jane Grubb, Head of Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, said: “We are delighted with Harry’s achievement and the effort and hard work that went into this – he clearly enjoys solving mathematical problems. The questions set by the UKMT require students to use their knowledge to solve complex mathematical issues. Our approach in teaching at Dunhurst is to encourage a growth mindset so that children are encouraged to delve deeper in their learning and not shy away from more challenging questions.”

Harry progresses from Dunhurst to Bedales Senior School in September where students achieved an impressive 99% A*-C pass rate at IGCSE Maths this year.

Harry Snell

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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.

Bedales Prep pupils learn from award-winning Stomp artists

Pupils from Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, enjoyed participating in a recent dance workshop led by members of the award-winning West-end production ‘Stomp’.

Stomp’s multi-award winning show consists of rhythm, theatre, comedy and dance using a variety of materials such as plastic bags, bin lids and even the kitchen sink to hammer out an explosively feel good rhythm. They took centre stage at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony and perform regularly in London, New York and internationally.

Nass and Dave from Stomp’s crew spent time with Dunhurst’s pupils showing them how to move their bodies and utilise household items to produce complex rhythms.

Commenting on the workshop, Jane Grubb, Head of Bedales Prep, said: “The whole school seemed to reverberate with the rhythm and the sound of the toe-tapping beat during the workshop. Our pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the chance to express themselves in a way they hadn’t explored before in dance and theatre. These skills will all help to build their repertoire as we look towards next year’s Youth Dance Platform.”

Bedales Prep pupils learn from award-winning Stomp Artists

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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.

Summer improvements to the school estate

The Facilities Team has been extremely busy throughout our three schools during the summer. At Bedales, there have been major improvements as follows: the Music School (partial refurbishment); the south and north elevations of 6.2; Steepcot; re-modelling of the day common room; the Academic Village; freshly painted tennis courts; the Science Building and the Dining Room; and there is a new common room in one of the rooms around The Quad. At Dunhurst, the boys’ boarding accommodation has been completely refurbished with the installation of new bathrooms and the Dining Room has new paintwork and flooring. At Dunannie, the exteriors of the Nursery and the main school have been redecorated. There have been many other smaller changes including new furniture and fittings in classrooms and work and social space and in the grounds of the school.

Bedales tennis courts

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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.

Philosophy education starts early at Bedales

At Bedales pre-prep Dunannie, little people are encouraged to think about big ideas. This academic year, pupils in Year 3 (age 7 – 8 years) have started dedicated lessons in Philosophy led by Bedales Head of Philosophy, Clare Jarmy and Dunannie Year 3 teacher Catherine Claasen. The sessions follow the form of a Community of Inquiry, where students have a stimulus for discussion, break into groups, and reassemble to address big questions.  Students have asked whether we can know that this world is not a dream, whether there would be any reason to be good if you were invisible, and whether we can think of nothing, amongst many other things. When they were discussing nothingness, the children were also asked to listen to a unique orchestral recording by John Cage entitled ‘4 minutes & 33 seconds’ and give their own opinions on what he was trying to achieve through devising the piece.

The children took part in a three schools video on Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE), which featured students across Dunannie, Dunhurst and Bedales and their thoughts on Philosophy.

At Bedales, an innovative curriculum, where students study everything from time travel to artificial intelligence, to whether good is only what society permits, is augmented with lectures and workshops with professional philosophers. Nigel Warburton, who is one of the most celebrated interpreters of Philosophy for a younger audience, is the judge for the Bedales Philosophy Essay Prize.

Last term the school welcomed its first ever Philosopher in Residence, Professor Keith Ward, Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University. Professor Ward spent time discussing philosophical questions with students, including such diverse topics as the nature and possibility of a utopia, whether genes define us, ethics, religious language, the existence of evil, quantum physics and the nature of reality. In addition to partaking in intellectual debate, the students benefitted from his advice on their studies and university.

On the subject of PRE, Clare Jarmy, Head of Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at Bedales commented that “Among educationalists, Philosophy is accepted as a means to develop more complex and rigorous thinking in students. What is so refreshing about Bedales is that philosophical thinking is utterly embedded in both the curriculum and the mindset of the school. Talk of ethics doesn’t begin or end when students walk into or out of my classroom, but can be seen in the work of The Green Committee, The Vegetarian and Vegan Society, Amnesty and numerous other student ventures. Bedalians can and do live by what they believe in, which gives the experience of teaching PRE a real richness.”

Clare’s book Arguments for God, is published by Pushme Press, and will be available in the summer.

This term, Bedales welcomed Father Luke Jolly of Worth Abbey as Contemplative in Residence. As part of his stay, Fr Luke ran a special school assembly, know in Bedales as a ‘Jaw’, on the topic of vocations. Fr Luke also accompanied the students on walks around the school’s estate and a special early morning walk to the Poet’s Stone with breakfast. His stay gave the students some respite between study and exam revision to enjoy calm and quiet reflection.

Commenting on the Bedales approach to philosophy education from age 7, Jo Webbern, Head of Dunannie said “In their first lesson, the children really embraced the questions that were posed to them and enjoyed expressing their thoughts with some impressive answers. Given the successful take-up of Philosophy in Year 3, the next step is roll-out these classes to our youngest children. It is not only a fascinating subject for the children to explore but is also an essential part of what makes us unique at Bedales – inspiring a love of learning by developing independent thought and enquiring minds.”

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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.

Dunhurst students build replica Mary Rose in Tudor project

Children at Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst recently experienced the challenges of life as Tudor sailors with the culmination of a year’s programme of activities and liaison with the Mary Rose Trust.

Each year, Dunhurst has a themed day in which the whole school (Years 4 to 8) participate. This year, the focus was the Mary Rose to celebrate the 500th anniversary since the construction was completed under Henry VIII. Mary Rose links have permeated the school’s Science, History and Art curricula and wider school life throughout the year. Dunhurst pupils have visited the museum to see the new building and study artefacts, and they have enjoyed visits from Trust staff to talk about the work of the Mary Rose Trust.

The Mary Rose Day gave students the opportunity to experience aspects of maritime life and to think about the preparations for a sea voyage in Tudor times. Activities included sailor training, cannon firing, challenging strategy games, making ship’s biscuits, composing battle songs, and making goblets and tankards.

The highlight of the day was an ambitious challenge to build a 40 foot replica of the Mary Rose in the school’s Outdoor Work area, complete with mast and flags, which once finished, the children boarded to sing sea shanties at the end of the day.

Jane Grubb, Head of Dunhurst said: “Our Mary Rose Day brought academic studies to life in such an engaging way for pupils. It is amazing what can be achieved when you focus the whole school on a challenging cross-curricular project. Pupils combined great fun with learning across a range of subjects.”

Dunhurst students build replica Mary Rose in Tudor project

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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.

Bedales Prep pupils become evacuees for the day in study of World War 2

Bedales Prep (Dunhurst) pupils from Group 3 (Year 6) became evacuees for the day as part of their project on World War 2. The day took them on a journey to simulate what it would have been like as a young evacuee to leave home and start a temporary life in the countryside while bombs rained down in London.

Every part of the day was authentic, from the clothes through to identity cards and ration pack lunches. The children visited the Watercress line and took a train ride with a guide who explained that trains would have had blackout blinds in the windows and dim lighting to prevent German planes spotting them from the air. The journey then took the pupils to Kent where they visited caves 22 miles long used in the war to shelter families from bombing raids. They learned that anyone staying in the caves during the war had to pay 1 penny per night, which was considered quite a high tariff in the 1940s.

Commenting on the day, Dunhurst pupil, Sofia said; “Some of us were wearing berets or a blazer; some people even wore old school uniform that looked like an evacuee outfit from World War 2. When we went on the train it was as cold inside as it was outside.  We all got a seat but it was a squash because there were about 3-4 on a bench and about 7-8 by a table.  We filled in our identity cards with our names.  Before the day, we chose World War 2 names and a birthday.  I was called Violet and was born on 19th August 1930.”

Dunhurst pupil Oscar added, “When we had registered we went up to the dining hall to get our World War 2 pack lunches. They were not like the modern ones we were used to.  Because of rationing in World War 2 there was a limited amount of food.  The German planes were bombing the ships so there were no imported goods and no oranges, only apples.  We got an apple, a flapjack and a bottle of water. When we arrived at the caves it was quite light but as we got deeper it got darker and darker. Our guide told us that it would have been like an underground city.  We saw a hospital and an information bureau and lots and lots of bunk beds in caves.”

Commenting on the evacuee experience, Jane Grubb, Head of Dunhurst, said: “By the looks on the children’s faces this experience really struck a chord with them. They thoroughly enjoyed immersing themselves into the life of a young evacuee, even devising their own imaginary names and birth dates. They learnt far more about the history of the era by experiencing, at first-hand, the journey of an evacuee. Their understanding and knowledge will be far greater as a result. This was yet another excellent example of learning through doing at Dunhurst – text-books, films and lectures are no substitute for experiences such as this.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday (12 February), Bedales Block 3 students (Year 9) embarked on a four day visit to the World War One trenches as part of their study of European History.  The students will attend the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium which has taken place every evening at 8pm since 1927, except during German occupation in World War Two.

Bedales Prep pupils become evacuees for the day in study of World War 2

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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.