End of term festivities celebrate community and success

Bedales Senior
Bedales Rock Show
Parents' Day Concert
Chariots of Fire
Art & Design Exhibition
Parents' Day Tennis Finals
End of term assembly
Wendy Hudson
Philip Guy Bromley

Students at Bedales Senior marked the end of the academic year with a series of events which celebrated successes and achievements in music, drama, art, design and sport, as well as the strength of the Bedales community.

Celebrations began on 8 June, when the Bedales Rock Show – now in its seventeenth year – returned to the Olivier Theatre for a four-night run. In a Rock Show first, the final night was professionally livestreamed with the support of Old Bedalian George Veys, enabling those not able to be there in person to share in the students’ achievement. The livestream is still available to watch here, and photos from the Rock Show can be viewed here.

Parents’ Day was also reinstated this year, although the extension of COVID restrictions meant that it was scaled back, with limited numbers. The parents of departing 6.2 (Year 13) students enjoyed a farewell drinks reception with Head of Bedales Magnus Bashaarat, his wife Camilla and 6.2 Houseparents, before a tour of the Art & Design Exhibition.

The Lupton Hall was filled with the sound of music as the Parents’ Day Concert brought another academic year of music to a close, while dramatists gave the third and final performance of this year’s Summer Production, Chariots of Fire, in the Olivier Theatre (view photos here). Also on Parents’ Day, 6.2 student August Janklow performed his play, True West, which was written as part of the Drama department’s New Views Playwriting and Student Directed enrichment courses.

On the tennis courts, the finals of the intra-school tennis tournaments were contested, with Bedales Prep, Dunhurst pupils Hari Walton and Tommy Hornsby the winners of the Boys’ Doubles; Paddy Arrowsmith and Sasha Arney winners of the Mixed Doubles; Grace Vernor-Miles and Lally Arengo-Jones winners of the Girls’ Doubles; Rebekah Leach winner of the Junior Girls’ Singles; and Hari Walton winner of the Junior Boys’ Singles. In a closely fought match, Block 2 (Year 8) pupil Hari was also victorious against 6.1 (Year 12) student Tobias Bonham Carter to emerge as the winner of the Senior Boys’ Singles. As Parents’ Day was Head of Tennis Graeme Coulter’s last at Bedales, after the matches tennis coach and Old Bedalian Maud Bonham Carter presented him with a token of appreciation on behalf of Bedales parents.

With so many members of the Bedales community unable to attend Parents’ Day this year, many elements of it were made available virtually, including a walkthrough video produced by 6.2 student Jake Morris; an online art exhibition of students’ work; and The Poet’s Stone magazine, edited by 6.2 English Literature students Eloise Cooper, Iris Campbell-Lange, Berit Pill, Alice Hockey and Roo Trim. Photos from Parents’ Day can also be viewed here.

On the last day of term, students gathered on the Mem Pitch for the final assembly of the year, which was also the first assembly to be held in person since the start of the pandemic. Described by Magnus as an “affirmative end to what has been a year of unprecedented challenge for the whole school community”, the event saw the introduction of a new Head Student Team – Sasha Arney, Elena Belisario, Cosmo Hurwitz and Milo Whittle – as well as the presentation of a number of student awards and an improvised version of ‘leaves-taking’, a Bedalian tradition which marks the end of each academic year. The event also celebrated an impressive 25 years of service to Bedales by staff members Wendy Hudson, Joanne Greenwood and Phillip Guy-Bromley. Unfortunately the pandemic caused the postponement of the reception for departing 6.2 students themselves on the last day of term.

In his end of term letter to parents, Head of Bedales Magnus Bashaarat concluded: I’m looking forward already to September, to the opportunity to relaunch the Bedales difference, unmasked, de-podded and socially undistanced, so that we can return to the school’s unique feeling of a shared experience, shared values and a mutually dependent community. But even though I’d like that to start soon, we do need a restorative holiday, and a succession of summer days to fall between past and future. I hope that parents, staff and students alike can all recharge and reconnect over the remainder of the summer, and return healthy, and with optimism and excitement for the next school year.