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Hockey For All

Boys from right across the school have enjoyed a fabulous half term of hockey – with so much more still to come.

What is wonderful, is to see the sheer number of boys who have played and represented the school, some of them for the first time ever. Across both the Prep and Upper schools, a staggering 444 boys have played at least one game in a school hockey fixture so far this term.

In the Upper School, boys have shown promising development across the board with the U16s continuing to progress in the national cup competition where they await a tie with either Oundle or Greshams in the last 16.

Although a tough end to the term saw the 1st XI lose two cup games in two days, neither loss was a reflection of their efforts and performances but more a lack of cutting edge in the final third. The squad now have an opportunity to regroup and focus their efforts into progressing in the Tier 3 England Hockey competition.

Meanwhile, the U14s start their journey to Lee Valley Olympic Park after half term with their regional qualifiers where they are hoping to reach the national finals.

Drama Pupils Wow Audiences in ‘The Trial’

Audiences left impressed and intrigued by our latest thought-provoking school production, The Trial – a creative and, quite frankly, tormenting adaptation of Franz Kafka’s dark and haunting tale.

In just 45 minutes, the cast of 16 pupils from Bedford School and Bedford Girls’ School told the story of how Joseph K. (played brilliantly by Remove Former William Roberts) was awaiting trial, but with no idea why.

Set in an underground district of Prague in 2036, the cast deployed Berkovian techniques to create a magnificent piece of physical theatre. The young actors moved LED-lit doorframes around the stage to create corridors and depict journeys, creating their own dynamic set. The set worked harmoniously, and the cast’s fluidity and ability to perform so in tune with each other delighted the audience.

A member of the audience told us afterwards. “The director’s staging of the play was very clever in making the audience feel a part of the issues at hand, almost an accomplice to condemning a guiltless man to a lifetime of uncertainty; being in such close proximity to the action onstage made us in the audience feel the terrifying, visceral claustrophobia that K was experiencing onstage. The powerful acting by the cast emphasised the importance of upholding the rule of law and the absolute fundamental right to a fair trial.”

 The music, an original score written and composed by Music Teacher Mr Thom Rooke, was very avant-garde with an industrial feel, which emphasised the dark, evocative story. Also, behind the scenes, an all-boy team, who have been attending Theatre Tech Club every week, created and managed the stage lighting with only a small amount of supervision from our theatre technician, James Tearle.

Head of Academic Drama and Director of the show Mrs Antoinette Keylock said, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with this talented cast. With only four weeks of rehearsal, I have been impressed with their energy and passion for Berkoff. It is a challenging style of theatre to perform and the students really embraced the physical nature of the piece.”

Do have a read of this wonderfully written review by Upper Sixth Former Jamie Williams.

‘The Trial’ – A review

Introducing Our Music Fellows

This week saw the launch of our brand new Music Fellowship Programme, which is designed to give pupils the opportunity to work with some of the UK’s finest musicians on multiple occasions throughout the school year. Each faculty of the Music department (Brass, Keyboard, Strings, Vocal, Woodwind) has appointed one specialist, each of whom will visit the school on at least two separate occasions. They will be offering a wide range of musical activities, such as giving recitals, directing ensembles, leading workshops, performing with school groups and generally being inspirational guides to our young musicians.

We were honoured to welcome our first music fellow into school on Monday 10 February, flautist and composer Ian Clarke, who is recognised as one of the leading player/composers in his field. The boys enjoyed a day of workshops and lessons with Ian, and were also treated to a performance of some of Ian’s original works including a fabulous piece which played out the sounds of the journey of a steam train.

Director of Music Mr Joss Sanders said, “We were absolutely delighted to launch our Music Fellowship Programme with a visit from flautist Ian Clarke this week. The purpose of the programme is to give as many boys at Bedford School the opportunity to develop and extend their musical skillset, and Ian certainly did that on Monday. He worked with GCSE Music students on their composing and with woodwind students across every year group in the Upper School. We are looking forward to having him back again soon, when he will work with the younger woodwind players in the Prep School. Next up is pianist Joanna Macgregor who is coming in the week after half term – Joanna is an incredibly experienced musician and will be working with both individual pianists and small chamber groups as well as giving a piano recital.”

Boys Share their Love of Reading with Primary School Children

Lower Sixth Formers Arthur Sowerby and Max Lusty joined a group of Y3 primary school children at Scott Primary School for a guided reading session on Wednesday 5 February.

The exercise, which is now a regular weekly fixture in the boys’ timetable, forms part of a wider ‘Community Partnerships’ school initiative which will see more boys than ever working in partnership with community groups such as schools and care homes.

The initiative allows us to engage fully with the world around us, especially with our local town, at both an individual and at institutional level and help us to play our part. We aim to teach responsible citizenship to our boys, to act as a responsible organisation and to encourage harmony amongst people of varying backgrounds. This will be done through partnership work, where both sides of each partnership are equally valued and mutually respected.

Arthur told us, “The idea of developing and nurturing young minds appealed to me as I thought it would be a great contribution to the community. Not many boys had chosen this option and so that was another reason why I was drawn to it.”

After a briefing from the Head Teacher at Scott Primary, Mrs Barker, the boys accompanied a group of seven children to the tranquillity and comfort of the school library where each child was able to spend around 10 minutes reading their books aloud to the boys.

Both Arthur and Max listened attentively to the children and discussed the stories afterwards. They were both very gentle and patiently worked through the books, helping the readers with pronunciation and breaking down more tricky words.

Scott Primary’s Head Teacher, Mrs Barker, told us, “We are so grateful for the opportunity that Bedford School are offering. It is a fabulous way to share the love of reading and it gives our children another opportunity to be heard reading.”   

Max said of the experience afterwards, “It’s nice to interact with children outside of Bedford School. It’s very rewarding especially when you’re with the child when they finish a book. It feels like I have done a little bit to help them achieve that.”


Can You Solve This Tough Maths Question?

Find an integer n such that 2^22+2^33+2^n is a square number

This was just one of the many perplexing questions that our Maths team comprising of Ben Watson, James Hooper, Justin Zhao and Tony Zhang had to answer when they took part in the National Finals of the UKMT Senior Maths Challenge on Tuesday 4 February.

The boys, who won the regional finals of the UKMT Senior Team Maths Challenge at the end of last term, were keen to flex their Maths muscles once again – this time as one of just 88 schools in the country who made it through to the final held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London.

The competition gives students the opportunity to tackle a variety of engaging mathematical activities while also developing their teamwork and communication skills.

Head of Mathematics Ms Rebecca Jackson said, “The boys thoroughly enjoyed the experience and they performed especially well in the Crossnumber round where they almost achieved full marks. The team were placed in 34th position on the day, which placed them in the top 2.8% of schools that entered. Huge congratulations to the boys on an amazing result.”

Rock Night Raises the Roof as well as Funds for Charity

It was that time of year again when our Quarry Theatre transformed into a hotbed of live ‘rock n roll’, all in aid of charity. Rock Night has become somewhat of a tradition and has grown in popularity as well as quality year on year. With an eclectic set list to rival Glastonbury, and performed by talented pupils from Bedford School, Bedford Girls’ School and Bedford Modern, the audience were treated to a wild night out.  

Kicking off the evening was a collaboration of Bedford School boys and girls from Bedford Modern, who formed a funk band and belted out popular hits including a superb rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition.

Other hits included fabulous versions of popular rock, funk and pop songs including Duffy’s Mercy, Niall Horan’s Nice to Meet Ya, Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag, White Stripes Seven Nations Army and a rocking performance of Metallica’s Enter Sandman by Upper Sixth Former Jamie Williams. Our staff band ‘Funk Tank’ also made an appearance and did not disappoint with hits including old favourites such as Spandau Ballet’s Gold.

Of course, no set list is complete without a performance of The Killers’ Mr Brightside, which was expertly executed by Fifth Former Dylan Swain and cranked the crowd up a notch further.

A special mention must also go to Lower Sixth Former, Jonathan Coughlin, whose guitar solo was quite frankly stunning – and he delighted fans when he jumped off the stage and into the audience to continue his set.

Sealing the night in true Ibiza style was Upper Sixth Former Ollie Dwight, who took to the decks to put on a fantastic show of dance anthems to a back drop of strobe lighting.

Music Teacher Mr Thom Rooke, who organised the night, told us, “The general quality of performances was excellent this year – better than ever, in fact. The sound was great and the night rocked.”

As well as raising the roof of The Quarry Theatre, the talented bunch also raised a staggering £600 for the charity Music for Memory.

If you missed out, never fear, you can watch the highlights in this short film or browse through the photo gallery below.


Boosting Performance with Superfood Menu

This week saw the launch of ‘Powering Performance’ in our Dining Hall, a pilot programme created by our school caterers Sodexo. The new menu, which will sit alongside the school’s regular menu, will offer dishes which fall under four aims; Focus, Strengthen, Sustain and Recover.

The Powering Performance range draws on scientific research into nutrition and development and extensive studies linking specific foods to academic prowess, sporting ability, concentration and energy levels.

William Hackett, Catering Manager explained that the boys would be advised on which dishes would help them feel stronger mentally and physically.

“This is a very exciting programme which will help our young people understand the effect that the food they eat has on their bodies,” he said.

“All our boys – particularly those in our Sports Performance Group – already learn about the benefits of eating certain proteins and complex carbohydrates on their ability to strengthen their bodies or aid muscle recovery. This will form an extension of that allowing them to put the theory into practice.”

“We are allowing our boys to make informed choices – so we have set up a special area in the dining hall showcasing the meals on offer each day and explaining how their ingredients will help body and mind.”

Focus meals will be beneficial during exam periods. They include ingredients designed to sharpen the mind such as quinoa which contains choline – required by the brain and nervous system to regulate memory and mood.

Strengthen meals are designed to fortify and include high protein ingredients like tuna, eggs and chicken which are key for muscle development.

Sustain meals will be designed to energise and include ingredients such as spinach which is high in iron.

Recover meals will be high in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium.

Mr Sam Baldock, Deputy Head (Academic) at Bedford School said: “We are proud to be a school that brings out the very best in our boys – whatever their talents, skills and capabilities – as well as a school that leads the way on new initiatives to boost our boys’ performance. Making positive food choices is a key component of success in the classroom, concert hall, stage or sports field – so we are thrilled to be trialling this exciting concept.”

Our boarders will be offered the new selection of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner while day boys will be able to benefit from the extra options at their midday meal.

The menus have been developed based on four key areas to match the mental and physical demands of a school day. For example, following sport our boys can come to the dining hall for lunch and find a recovery meal which has all the nutrients required to mend muscles. Alternatively, around exam time we can provide focus meals with nutritionally tailored dishes to boost pupils’ concentration.

The aim of Powering Performance is to help enhance the boys’ performance and give them the knowledge and education to choose the right foods to meet the demands of their school day.

If you would like to see some of the dishes being made and how they will benefit boys, take a look at the following films. Each film is just one minute long and is guaranteed to whet your appetite!


Welcoming the Year of the Rat

Our Chinese Society, which is attended by not only Chinese boys, but boys of numerous nationalities including British, Japanese and Italian, was delighted to welcome Chief Executive of the Harpur Trust David Steadman to celebrate the year of the rat in traditional Chinese style. David, who spent the day in school shadowing boys, was treated to an array of typical New Year activities and pastimes. The sessions were kicked off by Lower Sixth Former David Chan, the President of the Chinese Society, who introduced the 12 zodiacs, focussing on the zodiac of the rat. Fifth Former Nikolai Sorokin then spoke about the story of the Chinese New Year, the beast, Nian, and explained why Chinese people wear red clothes, cook food and set off fireworks for New Year.

Upper Sixth Former Kaz Arai shared his Chinese Calligraphy expertise, starting with simple characters like ‘春’ (spring) and ‘福’ (happiness), which everyone was keen to try.

Mr Steadman, who was also joined by Deputy Head (Academic) Mr Baldock, tried his hand at calligraphy using a traditional brush. Upper Sixth Former Marco Ip made Chinese tea and a variety of Chinese snacks were prepared, which created a comfortable atmosphere for the speeches.

The boys also enjoyed Chinese New Year cake, Nian Gao. The pronunciation of Nian Gao sounds like ‘year high’, which symbolises the growth of children both in height as well as their fortunes and academic studies.

The boys also discussed the giving and receiving of red envelopes – a traditional activity at this festive time. Usually Chinese grandparents, parents and relatives give red envelopes as a symbol of good luck. Usually there is cash inside so children can save the money and/or buy things they need.

Rugby Sevens Kick Off Victory

Our 1st VII made a strong start to their sevens campaign at Seaford College on Sunday 26 January. 

Circumstances meant that they travelled with 10 players, but were quickly down to eight when Jack Hudson and Alfie Willcocks were injured. Finishing third in the group stages placed them in the Bowl competition where they faced Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS) in the semi-final. Although PGS made a spirited second-half comeback, our boys looked the more composed and sealed victory with style in the dying seconds of the game.

They then faced Hurstpierpoint College in the final; a team that knocked Bedford out of the previous two tournaments. Both teams had ample opportunities to score but were stifled by committed defences that led to stalemate at half-time. However, it was Bedford who gained the upper hand in the second-half and scored a try after some neat ball movement, incisive running and dogged support. 

The Bedford boys put in a truly magnificent defensive display, and it was fitting that their defensive pressure led to a loose kick from the opposition scrum half, which Lewis Butterly cleverly kicked into the in-goal area for him to pounce on and seal the victory. Roll on Shiplake next Sunday.