Good morning boys; today is the last opportunity of the year to enjoy singing together as a community.  So many of you say to me how wonderful it is when we get a great hymn to sing and the whole school is in fine voice.  This is undeniably a very great hymn, so (if you’ll excuse the pun!) let’s end the term together, with 700 voices, on a fine note! We start today with hymn number 113: Divinum Mysterium. 

I try to mix and match where we start each term – so this term I start with the more academic.  It has been a fine term academically, with the build-up to public exams hugely busy for all, and with UCAS well underway.   A host of boys has gone off for Oxbridge interviews in the last week or so, a couple more, indeed, than last year.  We wish them all luck.  There are three Head Master commendations to award this term, nominated by various staff members and adjudicated by the Deputy Head (Academic).  They go to:

Remove Form

Divine Edjejovwo

For achieving 3 separate Commendations this term:

  • For giving a presentation to the Biology Society on his group’s interpretation of the theme ‘The World’s Worst Pathogen: The Marburg Virus’ which showed significant courage, determination, confidence and competence in both presenting the group’s research and in fielding questions at the end from an audience of staff and boys
  • For preparing an incredibly inspirational speech for the house (set to music) and delivering it with amazing confidence. He also told of a great example of how he helped a homeless person together with another boy: the level of impact on the house community was worthy of a commendation.
  • For producing an incredible poster, submitted to follow up a Geography Society lecture, on appropriate technology in Malawi. Created independently and purely out of an interest for the subject material, it is above and beyond any set work. A fantastic achievement that will go on display in the department.

Fifth Form

Jamie Williams

For his contribution to the Ousel. Mr Grimshaw wrote:  ‘Jamie has shown sustained excellence in the pursuit and execution of a number of staff interviews for the Ousel magazine: he has shouldered a fair amount of work with enthusiasm and maturity; he has never made a fuss about what I asked of him and has, I think, enjoyed his writing. He is a writer of maturity and quality.’

At this point, I would also like to single out Mr Grimshaw himself for an excellent production – this is a labour of love, and it looks magnificent.

Sixth Form

William Barnes

For his outstanding assembly on the archives, which was prepared and presented entirely voluntarily and which gave a sense of the school’s rich history and which was delivered in a tone which engaged both boys and staff. This is also coupled with Will’s weekly work preparing an archive blog for consideration by tutor groups.

National Maths Challenge

The Senior Team Maths Challenge (STMC) is an event jointly organised by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust (UKMT) and the Further Maths Support Program (FMSP).  

The Bedford boys have beaten schools such as The Perse and Hills Road in our regional final and will be attending the national finals in London on 6th February 2018.  We wish them luck.

The boys in the team were:

  • Harry Chen
  • Thomas Pelling
  • Henry Shaw (who was also in the team last year while in Fifth Form)
  • Chester Wang (who was also in the team last year while in Lower Sixth)

Bedford School Reading Challenge

Interim Results at December 2017

Total Number of Books read so far: 936

Total Number of articles read so far: 423

Top Five Tutor Groups in no particular order:

  • Mr Huddlestone
  • Mr Graham
  • Mr Malcolm Green
  • Mr Sanchez
  • Mr Hopton
  • Mr Mee

Top Three Houses:

  • 1st Paulo Pontine
  • 2nd Bromham
  • 3rd Ashburnham

Don’t forget to record your holiday reading when you return to school in January. We are aiming for a book total of 1200 and an overall total over 1800 by February half term when the competition closes.


For the opening Foyer Gallery exhibition in September we were fortunate to show work by the nationally acclaimed printmaker Paul Catherall. His work has regularly been used by London Transport for their posters and advertising so we were delighted to have his work on display here at school. Paul also gave an excellent Gilbert Lloyd lecture explaining his career path and the processes he uses to arrive at his distinctive final images. The crisp and striking still life paintings of Russell Dorey followed in November, with the ever-popular Staff and Friends bringing the term to a close with Mr Sanchez’s image of a shopping receipt, in particular, generating huge amounts of discussion.

Twenty art students made the trip to Vienna in the October half term visiting the major galleries and museums that make the city such a draw to art lovers. An exhibition of the drawings and studies the boys created were exhibited in the new entrance gallery to the Art School in November.

The Careers in Art evening in December provided boys with an opportunity to think about the options they have in possible art-related careers in the future. Of the seven speakers who contributed to the evening, OB Peter Osborne explained the fun and enjoyment he has running his top west end gallery telling us about the journey he was making to Bogota to see a newly discovered Henry Moore sculpture, an artist in which his gallery specialises. Another OB David Fletcher told the boys about his role as an auctioneer and how he ended up on the television programme ‘Flog it’.

Artist Dale Devereux Barker returned in November to host the annual Artist Masterclass with the Upper Sixth producing some striking and exciting silk-screen prints for their A2 coursework.

And the Friday Art Society has hosted a number of excellent lectures this term including Mr Sanchez talking about the Spanish artist Dali, Miss Modesto explaining exactly what Performance Art is and why it is a significant art form, while visiting lecturer Paul Williams talked about the many approaches and styles of street art.

So plenty going on for the artists – and indeed for non-artists: there is a great opportunity each year for anyone to join History of Art on a Monday evening.

Tycoon Challenge

There is a lot of entrepreneurial spirit in the school.  A new outlet for entrepreneurialism this term is via a new club called the Tycoon Challenge.  Five different teams have been working on turning their initial investments from Dragons’ Den Peter Jones into profits and whilst all teams have enjoyed the usual mixture of setbacks and problems to overcome in the last few months, a couple of teams have managed some very impressive sales figures. Joe Young and Henry Poppleton have been selling their personalised mugs to the different housemasters (177 so far, with mine ‘in the post’!), Arseniy and his coffee baristas have taken up residence in the café bar area each morning and hope to continue this operation into the new year, and arguably the most successful venture so far has come from Ollie Burridge-Dean and Ollie Crankshaw, who, with their product “Scholar Mints”, have sold over 1,000 units and are looking to branch out further and target other business institutions in the coming weeks.

The five teams were given just over £2,500 between them two months ago and in that time have managed to collectively make over £1,000 profit – a very healthy return of 40%. The Tycoon Challenge will return again next year and other entrepreneurial events will be launched next term. 

Charities Committee

Movember has dominated this term, with the boys raising awareness of male health issues in this school and in three other local schools through assemblies, taught lessons and numerous events. The video, entirely boy made, has been watched nearly 20,000 times.

The boys also raised £9,569 for charity, which placed the team as top school in the country and 18th on the national leaderboard, ahead of a number of big corporations. 

£6,362 has also been raised through other charity events this term: Samir Patel and Freddie Deane took part in the Rotary Club Swimathon, Matthew Fordham organised a superb concert in aid of the Mind Map charity and ten lower sixth boys volunteered at Bedford SoupFest 2017.

The Bedford School Upper School community has now raised £300, 422 since September 2007!



This year, the 2nd game teams set the standard with impressive win ratios.  The U14 C and D teams led the way with unbeaten records, a clear demonstration of the positive culture and commitment throughout the Rugby Club.  Pleasingly, with the strength in depth of the U14 teams this year, there were enough boys to continue an U14 E team after the October half term.  They had three more fixtures and were highly competitive against the big boarding schools who can boast more than five teams.  They only lost to Harrow and that was by an agonising two points.

The 1st XV had a mixed campaign but had more victories than losses.  Highlights were the performances against Dulwich College where fast flowing and expansive rugby put the XV out of sight in the 1st half and Abingdon in the final game of the season, where all their hard work came together, to treat those watching with scintillating attacking rugby and a committed defensive effort.  Throughout the season, the XV continued to play a highly entertaining brand of rugby as recognised by many OBs who returned to show their support of the school. A true testament to the culture of the Rugby Club was evidenced by George Seward’s actions post-injury, where gave up his time to help coach the under 14A side. The time and effort he put into it made a genuine impact on the side’s development and he has the makings of an impressive coach.  

The U15 A and B teams demonstrated a 23% improvement in win ratio from the previous season – genuine development in a tough campaign; an exciting future lies ahead for this group of players.  In fact, the entire U15 group had an impressive season with the U15C and D teams only losing five games between them.  All teams exhibited tremendous resilience, often against the odds.

A demonstration of the inclusiveness of the Rugby Club is no more evident than with the U16 teams.  A number of boys new to the school and to rugby were selected each week for the U16D team.  It was a challenging season for them but a great experience none-the-less as the boys played with full commitment and genuine progress was made.  The U16A team faced uncharacteristically strong opposition across the board but still produced quite brilliant expansive rugby to beat the much-fancied Uppingham and Warwick teams.

Major Sports Colours for rugby were awarded to:

  • Marcus Lake
  • Alex King
  • Toby Garrett
  • Tom Linsell
  • Felix Mallalieu
  • Aaron Borland
  • Will Barnes
  • Barney Ollerhead
  • Harry Donougher
  • Oliver Mitchell
  • Reni Omotomilola

Rugby Honours Caps were awarded to:

  • Alfie Orchard (Captain)
  • Conor Finch (Vice-Captain)
  • Ryan Hussey
  • Joe Wallace
  • George Seward


The rowers have raced at nine events this term, travelling as far afield as Wallingford and Hampton. During the half term break, 40 boys enjoyed a four-day training camp in Pangbourne, which provided ‘much-needed mileage’. The Boat Club look forward to welcoming back over 130 boys for the spring term and a busy programme of training and races.  Congratulations must go to Elliott Sell (Fifth Form) for his silver medal at the British Indoor Rowing Championship. 

Indoor Hockey

The boys were fully committed to a comprehensive programme of training and games throughout the term. In the East Championships, wins against Perse, Stamford, New Hall, Ipswich and Merchant Taylors resulted in a second place finish and qualification. The team will now represent the school in the national indoor finals at Whitgift school on the 13th and 14th of January.


The A team won five matches out of six, beating teams from Stamford and Uppingham twice and drawing with Oundle. The arrival of Fung Lau and Anthony Hung created an almost unbeatable first pair and the quality of badminton played by all members of the A team is the highest that we have ever had. The B team lost the first three matches and won the last three matches. This is a reflection of their commitment to coaching sessions and keenness to practice on Saturday afternoons.

The Year 10/11 team has just won the Bedford Round of the National Badminton Competition and move forward to the County Round in February.


During the first half of the autumn term, boys continued to canoe, kayak and paddle-board on the river. We extended our previous reach, driving up to Kempston Mill and paddling back to the Embankment, picking up a water snake on the way back. We also ported our kayaks across Cardington lock, and explored further up the river past Priory Country Park. Canoeing will recommence in the summer term.


The teams have started off the year with a 100% record in all competitions, beating St. Joseph’s, Ipswich and Framlingham in the first and second round of the HMC foursomes. The ‘pairs’ of Harry Brown/Louis Densham, Wilf Rush/Alex Robbins and Rob Holden/Fin Cummins all giving high-level performances. Rob Holden, Harry Brown and Fin Cummins beat Bromsgrove in the first round of the ISGA event and will now play Solihull in the second round.


The squash teams have shown great enthusiasm this term with a good set of closely fought matches. Triumphs by score-line there were not, however triumphs by individual success there were many. Particular credit goes to Charlie Axford for playing at number one seed against some talented opponents, along with Rahul Sheemar, they are both awarded minor sports colours.

Minor Sports Colours for squash were awarded to Charlie Axford and Rahul Sheemar

Water Polo

It has been a very successful water polo term with both U15 and U18 teams reaching the National Plate competitions. Many more boys are attending training sessions and 14 fixtures played in all, with three wins recorded. The teams are increasingly more competitive and resilient, with the scores being much closer in defeat.  


In The Quarry Theatre, there have been over 20 professional productions and several theatre trips for all students, presenting opportunities for all boys to witness top performers in action.

Rehearsals have taken place three times a week for the forthcoming school production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, which will take place in February in The Quarry Theatre. This project will be a collaboration with the Music department and the actors have been working with a professional fight director. This production includes students from three other local schools.

The Quarry Theatre continues to live stream shows from the National Theatre, which proves to be very popular with the community of Bedford. Do please consider coming to watch live productions and events in the New Year – having our own professional theatre on site represents an amazing opportunity for everyone in this room.

Academic drama has continued to flourish.  The quality of the Fifth Form scripted pieces was a very high and Mrs Keylock would like to congratulate the boys on their efforts. The drama department has organised a number of exciting workshops this term, including Frantic Assembly, puppetry and gothic horror in ‘A Women in Black’. The Remove form went to London for a specialist workshop and performance on ‘A Women in Black’ back in September. The main departmental highlight was the visit to Bedford School by theatre director Robert Icke, who is currently the artistic director of the Almeida Theatre in London. He presented a workshop to all Fifth Form boys and to the cast of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

The Academic Drama Society has continued to meet each week. The society started with a fascinating academic lecture by Dr Finburgh from Goldsmiths, University of London on ‘Why Stage War?’ Students were suitably inspired and the Remove Form GCSE drama students are devising on the theme of war also. Staff and students have given lectures on a variety of topics, including Stanislavski, National Youth Theatre, improvisation and physical theatre. House drama has been launched and this year’s theme is ‘THE MOVIES’. Each house has its own film genre and we look forward to seeing lots of boys commit to this exciting house event in February.  There will be ‘oscar’ trophies for best playwright, best actor and best overall house.

The Senior School Technical Club has worked on different shows and continue to support the department and we wish to thank all these students for their hard work and commitment. Anybody interested in joining the Technical Club can apply to join in January.

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

The autumn term is always a busy one for the CCF and this one was no exception.

The first weekend of term saw the Corps competing in the Cadet Small Arms Shooting competition at Beckingham ranges and then on the following weekend the Corps conducted the recruits field weekend at Ickwell, phase two of our junior NCO training as well as RAF training for the Cranwell competition.

The RAF Section took delivery of its new flight simulator and, thanks to an outstanding effort from the NCOs of all three Arms, Fourth Form recruitment was the best it has been for years.

As if we weren’t busy enough, the Corps had its Biennial Inspection in the first week in October and received its best review for two decades.  Well done to all involved.

The Corps adventurous training expedition to Snowdonia took place in the half term break and two of our cadets attended a Senior Cadet Instruction Course with the Cadet Training team.

Finally, you can’t have failed to notice the visit from the Navy Wildcat helicopter recently, kindly organised by OB Richard Watling, Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, which was a huge hit with the boys who got to take a ride.

Rifle Club

This term the Rifle Club have principally been concentrating on building the squad and consequently have only entered the BSSRA autumn leagues. Shot over 5 rounds, the B team were up against very strong opposition in their division and came sixth. Our A team, however, won their division with highest possible scores from Lennard Bornemann and Dan Lumley-Wood clinching the last round and snatching victory from Victoria School.

Dan also achieved top scorer in the division with an average of 98.6 whilst came Lennard third with 98.4.


It’s been a good term for music as ever. Highlights have included the St Cecilia’s Concert which saw ten different ensembles performing with over 125 boys involved on and off-stage, performing, filming, recording, live streaming or providing commentary for the live stream. The Chapel Choir go from strength to strength, and it was great to hear the fruits of their labours earlier in the year, following the release of the latest CD recording ‘A Bedford Christmas’, which is available to buy at the School Shop. This, by the way, is a school CD of amazing quality; you have one chance left to buy it for Christmas from the school shop straight after this assembly.  The carol services this year showed once again what can be done with an all-boys’ choir with members from Year 5 to Upper Sixth; and it was wonderfully apt to have a performance of Mr Hopton’s carol composition, which was a finalist as one of BBC Radio 3’s top six new carols of 2016. We also had an outstanding Open Mic Night event earlier on in the term, which showcased the young talent, not only from this school but also from Bedford Girls’ School and Bedford Modern, making it a real Harpur Trust celebration of modern music. Again this was a real team effort, with creativity shown both on and off-stage through the music, management of PA, lighting and visualisations.  Note, therefore, that you do not necessarily need musical or acting ability to get involved in the musical or dramatic life of the school – there are opportunities for all.

And some individual news:

  • Harry Guthrie has won a choral scholarship to Trinity College Cambridge
  • Hoffer Tsang has won an organ scholarship to Jesus College Oxford
  • Silas Sanders has won a place in the National Youth Choir
  • Felix Asare – has won a place in the National Youth Jazz Collective & National Youth Jazz Orchestra
  • James Watson has won a place in the National Children’s’ Orchestra of Great Britain
  • Archie Young-Lee has won a place in the London Schools Symphony Orchestra
  • Matt Fordham organised a successful charity concert in aid of the Mind Map (in aid of children’s mental health support)



  • Fourth Form Winners – Paulo Pontine                       
  • Remove Form Winners – St Peter’s                                
  • Fifth Form Winners – Ashburnham                         
  • Senior Winners – Paulo Pontine                       
  • Overall Winners  – St Peter’s                                


  • The Caxton Spencer Trophy  is awarded to Stephen Simmons (Ashburnham) ‘for outstanding performances’
  • The Rudolph Adams Challenge Cup is awarded to Reni Omotomilola (St Peters) ‘for outstanding 100m sprint and attempting a record height in high jump’


  • Fourth Form House Rugby – Cresent                                  
  • Removes House Rugby – Paulo Pontine                       
  • Colts House Rugby – St Cuthbert’s                         
  • Senior House Rugby – Paulo Pontine                       
  • The Heald Cup for Best Player – James Lovell in the 5th XV (Bromham)                                        
  • John Carter Place Kicking Cup Alex Bowes (St Cuthbert’s)


  • Junior Indoor Rowing – St Peter’s                                
  • Senior Indoor Rowing – St Peter’s                                


  • Senior House Fives – St Peter’s                                

Head Master’s Scarves

Whilst I try not to exclude anyone altogether from a scarf, I make an attempt to veer towards those not already in the most senior posts in the school; I do not always succeed, but that is the basic intention.  This term there are three.

The first is a young man whose contributions to the extra-curricular life of the whole school are eye-catching, seen most clearly in the areas of film and music, almost always behind the scenes, rarely seeking the limelight. Over recent years he has been instrumental in the running of Rock Nights, DJ Nights and Open Mic Nights. In addition, he wrote the music for the performance of Red Shoes which took place in May of this year and is currently collaborating on the score for the major school production of Romeo & Juliet. Earlier this term he went to Manchester to attend the premiere of a short film, ‘The Boy Who Had It All’, for which he composed the entire score, his debut as a professional film composer. He co-directed the 2017 MoBro film and again composed a stunning musical accompaniment. Not only this but, working with one of his Ashburnham colleagues, the two of them produced a remix of Kyla La Grange’s track ‘Hummingbird’ which, on Tuesday this week, was streamed on Spotify for the one-millionth time. There are superb opportunities available to boys at this school but he is an example of someone who has the drive to make the very best of every resource available here to follow his passion and create his own success. Lastly, and importantly, he has done this with an evident care for others: he has taken on responsibility within his tutor group and is an outstanding member of the Senior team within his day house.  Do go to support his Film Music Night early next term – it will be amazing.  He is Ollie Graham.

The next young man provides an example of remarkable journey in the school.  He would probably admit himself that he was not the model Fourth Former (I hope he will forgive me for this – he is bigger than I am!), but he has become a terrific leader in a number of ways in our community. Despite his stature and profile, he always chooses to put others first, being known more as a great listener than a talker and is impressively calm and even genteel with younger boys as well as being a thoughtful leader in his sports teams. He is a well-known sportsman, earning colours for his sport in the Lower Sixth. He also allies his sporting gift with strong academic ability and hard work that has brought some impressive results and strong university offers. As a sportsman he has broken numerous school records throughout his time and currently holds eight different school records.  But his less known roles are perhaps more impressive. One example is taking on a mentoring role of a younger boy in his boarding house and making a genuine impact on his happiness and academic attainment.  Another was his desire to make the most of injury this term by volunteering to coach younger boys every Tuesday/Thursday and Saturday with the same zeal that he would have shown as a player.  He is a really impressive Head of House.  George Seward.

The final award goes to a boy who never seeks the limelight at all, but always seems to be there wherever you go.  His commitment to the musical and academic life of the school is frankly extraordinary.  For example, you may have been to one carol service this term; this boy has been to about half a dozen.  You may have been to one or two concerts; this boy has been to almost every one.  He’s fully committed to First Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Music generally, and shows real commitment to his house, his peers and younger boys.  He is best known as the school organist, playing brilliantly at almost every upper school chapel service, but also at Prep School services and others when needed, without any fuss or fanfare.  It is not always warm in the organ loft, so I hope this helps!  Thank you and well done to Hoffer Tsang.


Finally, I have the option of making up some boys to become monitors at the end of this term.  We started with 21 this year, having ended with 22 last year.  There is no fixed number; but clearly there is little scope for extra.  Well done, therefore, to these boys who should come forward for a handshake as they become monitors for 2017:

  • Tom Ackroyd
  • Tom Christian

Lastly, I have decided to promote one monitor to the Senior four from January.  Well done to:

  • Alfie Orchard.

Finally, on your behalf, thank you to all the teachers, who have been magnificent again; and not least to Mr Jones and Ms van Heerden, who leave us for new schools in London and Zimbabwe respectively.  They have both, in their different ways, made a huge contribution to Bedford School and will be greatly missed.

In a moment, the Chaplain will come forward to say a prayer to end the term before we sing “domus pater” together.  But before he does, I want to say well done to you all on the way you have carried yourselves this term.  This is a very fine school, but it is only as good as the people in this room.  It is up to all of us to uphold the good traditions, and jettison any we feel do not fit the ethos and purpose of our core values and of kindness.  I have witnessed much kindness, much mutual support, much determination for excellence and a great sense of purposeful enjoyment this term.  Enjoy the holidays, and come back ready to enjoy the next one.

Back to all news