Two Bedalian prize-winners at HMC Eisteddfod

Sleeping Buddha

The HMC Conference this year in Wales held a competition for over 250 schools to celebrate the creative arts entitled ‘Finding a Voice’, consisting of poetry, choral composition, and visual arts (painting, sculpture, lens media). The poetry was judged by National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke. The choral was judged by acclaimed Welsh choral composer, Paul Mealor and the visual arts by former BP Portrait winner and current judge, Peter Monkman (Head of Art at Charterhouse).

Georgina Ullman (6.2 leaver, 2014) won the poetry prize and was invited to perform her poem ‘Accent’, at the Celtic Manor in front of a large audience of heads. Chloe Zhao (6.1) was a close runner up with her sculpture ‘Sleeping Buddha’, and was invited to the presentation awards to meet Peter Monkman.

The celebration of the Arts was instigated by the new chairman of HMC, Richard Harman (Uppingham School) to form a mini ‘Eisteddfod’. The event showcased the extraordinary quality and diversity of the Arts in HMC schools and was a very lively and exciting event.

By Simon Sharp, Head of Art


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.

Award winning poet to read at Bedales

Another writer of true national standing reads in our poetry series on the evening of Tuesday 8 October at 8pm. Jo Shapcott holds the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and, rare feat for a poet, is an outright winner of the Costa Book Award. These readings, relatively intimate in scale in the Olivier Theatre, are often rather special occasions. There will be a short Q&A session following the reading and the opportunity to purchase books in the foyer. Past readers include Douglas Dunn, Carol Ann Duffy, Andrew Motion, Brian Patten and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Tickets £7 from tickets@bedales.org.uk or 01730 711511.

Jo Shapcott

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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.

JFP rocks the Quad

Thursday 4th October marked the long anticipated JFP (Jazz, Folk and Poetry) of 2012. JFP is primarily a student led and organised event, with students not only performing but also helping with the lighting and technical areas. The night included quite a bit of Jazz, a lot of Folk and a smattering of Poetry (especially relevant on National Poetry Day). There was great original poetry from Abby Sedgley and Laurel Mullin, wonderful folk from Zak Hobbs, and spectacular Jazz from Block 3s Luca Caruso and Ally MacDonald. Yet, despite the name, other genres were also very well represented with magnificent covers of Beyonce, The Beatles, Van Morrison, Radiohead and even Jurassic 5 to name a few. Amongst the covers were also original songs written and performed by the very talented Delilah Montagu and Jack Merrett. JFP provided a mix of performances from Rock Show regulars such as Georgie Deane, Jasper Ford Welman and sensational headliner Lucy Waterhouse, and wonderful debuts from the amazing Peter Wilson and George Morony.

Although JFP is very much students having the chance to independently organise their performance, it would be very difficult without the magnificent help and enthusiasm of Neil Hornsby who, by choice, is there to help with every element of JFP if at all needed. Neil described the evening as “another fantastic night of music at Bedales as JFP literally rocked the Quad”, and it was clear that those who attended, both staff and students, agreed.  

JFP is always a special night because it reminds the students involved and those watching what they are capable of achieving and helps them to do so independently. Students with all sorts of interests and talents can become involved and the talent is always immense and diverse with this year proving to be no exception.

By Bibi Collins, 6.2

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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.

Bedales welcomes Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy – a review by 6.2 student Nell Whittaker

In the Bedales Olivier Theatre hearing Carol Ann Duffy read to us, a phrase from her poem The Christmas Truce seemed to me to resonate. It was the line ‘a gift to the heart from home/ Or childhood, some place shared…’ And this was what the theatre became; in the stillness of the theatre she shared with us poems about the death of her mother; her anger about her poem being removed from an exam paper; the fear of the wife of Midas; the last post for the fallen. And in return, we shared our ears and our held breath and a quiet murmur at the close of every poem.

Carol Ann is nothing if not different: she is the first Scot, the first woman, and the first openly gay poet laureate. So it was to be expected that her reading, too, would be different to the typical poetry reading. She had musical accompaniment in the form of John Samson who also, in places, supplied the loud voices of both a German soldier and a British one.

It felt like the music linked poetry – and the act of reciting poems – back to a time when it would be recited in courtly halls with a piper making music alongside. Several of the poems themselves too looked back to the past: memorably The Counties, which protested about the dropping of county names from envelopes. The poem let us know how deep running the importance of the counties is, and the voices of each one came through. The poem ended with Carol Ann hoping that the names of the counties ‘be never lost to [her daughter]’,and neither too ‘all the birds of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.’

This poem also serves as an indicator of why Carol Ann was made poet laureate. To hold the position successfully one must be both a voice for the country in all its different personas, and also be capable of writing about those events which effect Britain deeply. The poem Liverpool was written only weeks ago as the nation discovered the truth behind the Hillsborough disaster, and with its account of the deaths (‘fathers told of their daughters; the names of sons/ On the lips of their mothers like prayers’). Its closing lines were a testament to the quiet determination of the families of the 96 to see justice; and showed that a sense of peace could now return to those wronged twenty three years ago: ‘Over this great city, light after long dark,/ Truth, the sweet silver song of the lark.’

The title of Carol Ann’s last poetry collection was ‘Bees’. Bees were also the subject of several poems she read to us – she spoke of bees in Virgil’s Georgics and in Sylvia Plath’s poetry, as well as imagining a place with them gone.

The bee is a symbol of Bedales because of its inherent likeness to the Bedales motto ‘work of each for weal of all’, and we compare Bedales to a hive because everyone works for the good of the whole school. By talking too about the produce of flower visits, the honey, I felt Carol Ann Duffy had us just right: the evening in the theatre with the poet laureate was both ‘something shared’ and something wholly sweet.

 By Nell Whittaker, 6.2

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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.

Poet Laureate at Bedales

Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate, shares a platform with musician John Sampson at the Bedales Olivier Theatre this evening. Earlier this year, Carol was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize, for outstanding literary merit. Her collection ‘Rapture’ won the TS Eliot Prize and copies of this and the new paperback edition of her latest collection, ‘The Bees’, will be available for purchase. The Bedales Arts poetry series has brought a succession of remarkable poets to Steep over recent years and this promises to be another memorable evening.

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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.