Well, this is not how it was meant to be. The length of my Final Assembly is usually dictated to by the timings of buses; this year it will be dictated by how long my mobile phone can take dictation for – and judging by some of your comments, boys, about the age of my mobile phone, that may not be long. Final Assembly is usually about welcoming boys up to the stage for the school’s applause; this time you will have to applaud each other in your own supportive way. Final Assembly usually ends with a rousing rendition of Domus Pater; I can guarantee that I will not be doing this on my own (but if you listen carefully, you may be able to hear Mr Finch from isolation somewhere in Bedford).
Just before I start a run-through of the highlights of the term, I want to say a few words by way of preface. Firstly, to the boys. Boys, I am immensely proud of you, of who you are and all you achieve, every day of every normal week; but I have never been more proud of you than in these recent days. You have upheld the core values we all live by in all you have done. You have done your best in class, you have supported each other and you have responded to your teachers in a most wonderful way; but you have also had the time and the gumption to look beyond even the challenges of remote learning to those who need it most. I have some remarkable emails, totally unsolicited, from boys who want to continue to support the local community, either through continuing their association with the elderly online, or wanting to know how we might get the leftover food in the kitchens to those who have none, or offering to come in to support the children of key workers, or simply saying “Keep your chin up, Sir”. You really are an amazing team. Thank you and well done. To the staff: to get this week up and running on three days’ notice has been an extraordinary achievement, but it is not just the quantum of the achievement but the way you have gone about it. There has not been one single grumble; there has been a real sense of “Let’s have a go”; a determination to be innovative; a purpose and a mission, which underlines why you all came into teaching in the first place, and how lucky we all are to have you. You have set a fine example to all – thank you, and I hope you have not only good health, but also some peace in the coming days. And finally, to any parents who may be listening. This is my opportunity to say a huge thank you to you, too, for all your support and encouragement in such difficult times for you and your families, as well as for us. We have been blown away by your kindness, and your boys are a great credit to you all. I am well aware that this term ends with a lot of questions unanswered, both individual and collective, but I assure you that I (and a good number of my colleagues) will not be resting in the coming days and weeks until we can provide those answers as conclusively as we possibly can. For now, simply, and from the heart, thank you.
So, to try to rattle through the term in about 15 minutes is hard. Various teachers have provided me with extensive write–ups of their areas of school life, and what follows is, as usual, very much a precis of that. I will make sure that we send out the full version to all families later today so that you can read it in your own time.
Here we go….
In many ways it has been a frustrating term for the musicians at school – much of what we do in the music department is based around rehearsals and preparations for performances at the end of term, and for obvious reasons all of these concerts had to be cancelled. We have had a timely reminder that it is not just the public performance of a piece of music which is satisfying (although it probably is the most satisfying aspect of music-making!) but also the meeting together on a weekly basis to make music together that is deeply satisfying. It is only when these things are taken away that we realise just how much we value them.
Notwithstanding this, we did have a good number of musical events in the first half of term, which provided great opportunities for the boys to develop their skills and experience. All seven music competition prizes were completed (with a first competition for our percussionists) with both senior and junior winners. As these competitions also have a house dimension to them, we have an overall House winner for both junior and senior competitions put together, so this year’s winner of the Chapman Instrumental Cup is Crescent, who gained the greatest number of placed performances in all competitions.
We pride ourselves in providing a diverse musical experience for the boys, and this was definitely in evidence at the annual Rock Night back in February, where there were many varied styles of live contemporary music showcased, finishing with an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) set from Olly Dwight. We are also committed to providing outstanding and vibrant opportunities for the boys to develop their musical knowledge and skills and this has been particularly evident in the first two visits by our new ‘Visiting Music Fellows’: in February we welcomed both Ian Clarke (Professor of Music at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama) and Joanna MacGregor (concert pianist) on separate days. They worked with boys in both the Prep and Upper schools, in masterclass and workshop formats, and the boys gained hugely from these experiences.
We were very pleased to support Upper Sixth Former Ben Watson, who put on a charity concert in aid of CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) and persuaded many of his peers to take part in what turned out to be one of the highlights of the term, with excellent performances from all the boys, a good amount of money raised for CRY, and all of Talbot’s House in attendance in memory of their housemate, friend and fine musician, Marcus Tsang. We also continued to have our weekly lunchtime concert series on Thursday lunchtimes, which provide a much-needed opportunity for boys to perform their pieces in public.
There were a number of successes in the Bedfordshire Festival of Music & Drama, including our Wind Chamber Group which won their class and was invited to perform at the Gala Concert at the end of the festival. One of the members of the group, Philip Leu, had already flown home to Germany by that point, so they were unfortunately unable to do so.
The Music Department is adjusting to the online experience, and we have some exciting plans to engage with boys with some online performing opportunities in the coming weeks, so watch the online space!
In the first half of term, we also had our annual celebration of the Creative Arts, in the form of the Detweiler Competition. Boys were encouraged to submit creative work on the topic of ‘Man and Machine’ in categories of Creative Writing, Drama, Music and Art. As always, it was wonderful to see (and hear) that there was a huge amount of creativity on display.
It has been a busy term for Art events. Curator Dr Hannah Higham gave an excellent and insightful talk about the sculptor Henry Moore for this term’s Gilbert Lloyd lecture; Upper Sixth Former Benedict Siow represented the school at this year’s ARTiculation regional heat in Norwich, talking eloquently and confidently about Denys Lansden’s controversial Brutalist building the National Theatre; Dr Glenn Sujo provided a fantastic and productive weekend drawing course for some of our Lower Sixth artists working alongside 18 professional artists; and architect Stuart Devonshire talked about a major project he is currently working on and explained the whole design process for a lunchtime Architecture Society talk. We were also delighted to welcome back OB Leo Tse (who is currently studying Architecture at the Bartlett, UCL), who talked to our aspiring architects about the course and a current project on which he is working.
For this year’s Detweiler competition with the theme of ‘Man and Machine’, the first prize for a 2D work went to Alex Lam (Upper Sixth) for his dramatic bubble wrap portrait painting; and the first prize for a 3D work was awarded to Austin Ward (Fifth Form) for his accomplished and striking sculpture of hands.
It has been, as ever, a very busy term for the Drama department.
Our Academic Drama Society has continued to flourish each week, with George Robertson as our President and James Williams and Peter Barrington as Vice. We have had boys each week taking lectures on a variety of topics, including Stanislavski and Russian Practitioner Meyhold and his physical ‘Biomechnics’ (brilliantly presented by George Robertson). One of the real highlights of the term was Ben Barnes’ lecture on ‘Theatre and Religion’. The School’s Chaplain attended this lecture and threw himself into a practical dramatisation of one of the biblical stories from the Old Testament! The boys gained a real insight into biblical stories and how they were performed in churches. Mrs Keylock has been impressed this term with the boys’ passion for intellectual discourse and debate, and we look forward to Will Robert’s lecture ‘Is Theatre Sustainable?’ in the future.
Our theatre production of The Trial with Bedford Girls’ School was a huge success. This was a very exciting collaboration with the Music department – thank you to Mr Rooke for his original score. This creative and highly physical production delighted audiences for two nights. The wonderfully talented ensemble cast took the audience on a nightmarish journey of what society might become in the future. Although the cast only had four weeks of rehearsal, the production was very polished and professional. The play was directed and adapted by Mrs Keylock.
A review by Bedford playwright Mike Ellison:
The Trial by Steven Berkoff at The Quarry Theatre, Bedford, 13 February 2020
As soon as I entered the theatre, I knew I was in for a treat. Either side of the stage, cast members with identically painted white faces, sat upright and rigid, staring fixedly across the void they were soon to inhabit. The stalls seating had been removed and replaced by a V–shaped thrust and so thus, the stage was literally set.
Playwright Steven Berkoff is, in all fairness, an acquired taste. Berkoff shook up naturalism in theatre, colliding grotesque physicality with the abstract, ideologies with ideas. Such is Berkoff’s version of Franz Kafka’s The Trial, a muscular, punchy (and often witty, albeit subtly so) take on The Establishment’s assault on individualism where it appears at odds with the State’s preferred narrative (whatever that is). It is what we might now know better as the ‘Thought Police’ gone mad, which can interpret any aspect of society from whichever angle displeases it most. Director, Antoinette Keylock, chose to transpose its early 20th Century backdrop and set it in the future to great effect. The themes lend themselves to how society is looking to curate itself more in the wake of recent internet freedoms, such as speech and thought. There were chilling references to the ‘unregistered’ never receiving a fair trial (or one at all), of being trapped within our own self-portraits (the curse of the selfie culture came to mind), but more than anything, it felt not only highly contemporary, it also offered an unnerving glimpse into what might lie ahead. It was, therefore, a good call. James Pharaoh’s and James Tearle’s lighting created an ominous mood at all times that danced with, led and followed the action from the very beginning when a single suspended lightbulb flickered desperately to show it was alive amidst the rows of unlit, silent bulbs that surrounded it. Thom Rooke’s ill–boding musical score, with Bjorn Bantock skillfully interpreting this on the cello, pierced and punctuated the onstage narrative throughout with a soundtrack that became an unseen, but ever present, character in its own right.
Onto the cast itself, the whole ensemble deserves huge praise for their efforts. The Chorus underpinned the action throughout with precision and a discipline that such stylized theatre demands, from their physicality to text delivery. The steely gazes of Robert Parrish, Tom Deardon, Luca Moretto, Zachary Wasterfall and Oscar Easterbrook were intimidating and dead behind the eyes. They were the backbone of the fluid choreographed action that kept the piece alive, fresh and urgent. Max Pearson and Robert Parrish as Guards 1 & 2, comically introduced us, with menace and grotesquely slow–motion walks, to the absurdity of protagonist, K’s unwanted, unwarranted predicament. K, himself, played superbly by William Roberts, displayed confusion and vulnerability as the only actor with a ‘real’ face (with no make-up) and whose individuality was gradually broken down. His final scene, immersed in complete futility, was compelling, thrilling and alarming. Roberts showed no fear in throwing himself into this difficult role with gusto and complete commitment. He was ably supported by the fearsome, threatening Inspector (Cole Balachandran) who puffed out his chest and boomed his voice in a comical pointless display of authority. K’s landlady (Shreya Arun) made you feel she was somehow complicit by turning a blind eye to his arrest, and she played this with just the right amount of indifference. Jaya Chambers, as Miss Burstner, also beautifully and seductively captured the grotesque titillation the character requires, placing her career prospects in law over and above any relationship she and K might pursue in the future. Sami Hundal’s wheezing defence lawyer Huld epitomised the sheer indefensible world they had all come to inhabit. It was a lovely comical cameo when in fact this was no laughing matter. Other supporting roles played by Sam Maling, Sarah Bhandari and Louis Cooke weaved their way into the absurd narrative with confident ease and clear precision. Joshua Cooke as Block, an ill-fated ‘unregistered’ is a small, but impactful role, and he perhaps gave us the most demanding physical interpretation of all, owning the stage as he slid and crawled, bounced and rooted himself to the spot like a gymnast. Louis Cooke’s fay and indifferent Titorelli emerged from his own self-portrait like a breeze that tossed the State’s ideology around like a bag in the wind. For me, his expertly delivered line about the condemned being the most awkward of people to talk to, was one of the most unnerving in the whole piece. Overall, I was genuinely impressed by the ensemble’s agility with the complex and complicated movement, choreographed by Sara-Jayne Berril and Antoinette Keylock, it was a delight to watch this ballet of door frames that led nowhere. This, and the detail in the black and white costumes and make-up by Velvet Few-Wiegratz, Kierra Saloma, Rebecca Turner, Bea Anderson, Lucy Williams and Emily MacMahon, together with the moody soundscape from Jacob Foster and Blue Galtos, bound the evening together in an impressive display of teamwork in action to the usual high standard I have come to expect from Bedford School productions.
Our Upper Sixth and Lower Sixth Drama students have performed their exam pieces to small student audiences, and their hard work and creativity is always a delight to witness. Next year, AQA will be using last year’s exam performance of Frankenstein for teacher standardisation. The pieces will be used as all four drama students gained full marks for their nominated skill.
The Upper School Technical club has worked on various shows and continue to support the department, and we wish to thank all these boys for their hard work and commitment. Mr Tearle continues to run a club every Monday lunchtime to train the boys interested.
The spring term has been a busy one for the Rifle Club, despite the cancellations at the end. We have a number of Remove Form boys attending regularly, and their shooting is improving all the time. We have also had a small group of girls from Bedford Girls’ School coming along to try rifle shooting for the first time.
We entered our usual three teams in the BSSRA Spring leagues. The A team of Will Smithson, Dan Lumley-Wood, James Hine and James Lumley-Wood achieved third place in top division. The B team of Joseph Young, Will Garner, Blake Ayling and Oscar Terry won their division and the C team of Shangran Peng, Jack Jordan, Jamie Norris and James Barney finished fourth in the same division.
Individual boys have been quite successful this term. Dan Lumley-Wood finished sixth in the BSSRA Senior Championship; he was selected to shoot in the England Schools A team against teams from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channels Islands and is part of the Bedfordshire County Team. James Lumley-Wood and James Hine made it through to the second round of the BSSRA Junior Championship and finished ninth and sixteenth respectively. These three boys have been invited to join the Eastern Region Squad, with possible selection to the GB Team.
Sadly, we have said an early goodbye to our four Upper Sixth team members. Will Smithson and Joseph Young have been members of the team for several years, and we will miss their relaxed and confident shooting style. Shangran Peng and Jack Jordan joined the club at the start of the Lower Sixth and have quickly proved themselves as competent shots. Hopefully we will see them at the OB Shoot next year.
The spring term has always had a slow start for the CCF, as we climb out of winter and wait for the weather to improve, meaning most of our activities occur at the end of term.
The RAF managed to fly and the Army Recruits Field Weekend went ahead on the Exeat. This was the first time most of the cadets had tried to live in the field and weather was not kind, with persistent rain on waterlogged ground. The cadets coped admirably with conditions that could have challenged regular soldiers and were enthusiastic throughout the exercise, very well led by the cadet NCOs.
Sadly, the Coronavirus crisis has meant most of the events and activities the cadets had worked hard to prepare for have been cancelled, including our Annual General Inspection, the Navy Field Weekend and the Combat Cadet Competition.
Head Master Commendations
Arun Penhall (Fourth Form) for excellent learning in Latin and English, including two excellent essays on Henry V.
Kevin Xu (Fourth Form) for coming top of the year in the Intermediate Maths Challenge, as well as writing an excellent essay on AI for the Bedford School Journal of Digital Learning
Tai Tsang-Goodwin (Remove Form) for outstanding learning in RS and History, including some superb research on Franklin Roosevelt
Makar Molchanov (Remove Form) for coming top of the year in the Intermediate Maths Challenge, as well as representing the School at Maths Feast
Chenxi Jiang (Fifth Form) for being coming Best-In-School in the Intermediate Maths Challenge
James Watson (Fifth Form) for an outstanding performance, playing the organ for Jean Langlais‘ Messe Sollenelle, in addition to providing the backbone of all hymn accompaniments in assemblies, for boarders’ singing practice, and for Chapel services
Ben Barnes (Lower Sixth) for his intellectual and creative approach on his outstanding Drama Society Lecture on ‘Theatre and Religion’, as well as an excellent performance in the Cambridge Schools Debating Competition
This year’s Talalay Science Presentation competition took place earlier this month and was graced by the attendance of Dr Michael Talalay (nephew of Professor Paul Talalay, the donor of the current prize) and his wife, Debbie. Many candidates entered, but only six can compete in the finals, which sees boys present a topic of their choice for 15 minutes, before being grilled by an expert audience (including their Heads of Department) for another 15 minutes. There was a wonderful range of exceptional work: topics included ‘A Brief History of Light’, Atomic and Molecular Orbitals’, Jellyfish Stings’, Bats and Viral Zoonosis’ ‘Dementia’ and the winning entry by Max Sogan ‘Electron Wave Function – the Infinite Potential Well’.
The new community engagement initiative has so far seen many of our Lower Sixth boys work with a variety of community projects across the town. In conjunction with the IB1 CAS, there have been over 100 boys volunteering across 15 local primary schools and in a variety of other locations such as local care homes, Bedford Foodbank and Riding for the Disabled. The boys have carried out numerous activities such as teaching languages, sports and music, have listened to children read and have visited the elderly for conversation, games and to play music to them. I would like to thank the boys for the time that they have given up weekly and for the enthusiasm and care that they have given to helping out other people in our local community.
This was an excellent year for the Hockey Club, whose boys represented Bedford School fantastically throughout. Over 200 boys played 120 fixtures in the shortened term, winning nearly 50% of games. The highest performing team was the U14Ds with a goal difference of +30 conceding only 9 goals all season. Special recognition must go to the U16A team, who suffered a tough season last year but turned it around completely this year, winning 6, drawing 2 and losing 6, including a strong national cup run where they were unlucky to lose out on penalty strokes in the last 16.
The 1st XI had a fantastic season, marred only by an intense 11 days before February half term, before recovering well. They finished the season strongly, winning their last five games including their best performance of the season in their final game against Rugby School. Tom O’Toole finished the season as top goal-scorer but could not keep up with the goal–scoring prowess of Hector Stokes in the 3rd XI. The Hockey Club has been led brilliantly by the current Upper Sixth, who have contributed greatly to Bedford School hockey over numerous years. For this, we are extremely thankful and wish them all the best for their sport as they move on to pastures new.
Hockey Honours Caps were awarded to: Michael Catt, Tom Chambers, Bryn Williamson, Daniel Smith (Captain), Tom O’Toole
Major Sports Colours for Hockey were awarded to: Ed Blythman, Calum Bourne, Lucas Inman, Ryan Apps, Daniel Reid
Minor Sports Colours were awarded to: Aaron Hall, Jamie Williams, Matthew Cole, Nathaniel Otley, Alfie Willcocks, Michael Bennell, Hugo Mathew, Varun Parmar, Elliot Potter, Sam Welch, Ben Barnes, Callum Wallis, Oliver Gregory, Archie Walsh, Tom Allen, Rowan Bascetta-Pollitt, Will Van De Walt, Luke Williams, Mike Philips, Ollie Burridge-Dean, Paul Smith, Will Cochrane, Hector Stokes, Luke Thompson, Will Watson, Ben Bayley, Julian Schranner
A term that started with such promise for the Boat Club was soon to become more akin to Sebastian Junger’s book The Perfect Storm. January started with the BASHER Head, and little did we know this would be the main event of the season. The school sent nine crews from the Remove Form to the Sixth Form in matched combinations to facilitate competition in each year group. February first saw the start of the storm, and the last events of the term: the Remove Form raced at Hampton where the A crew finished 7th in a strong field, while the B crew won a bronze medal. The two senior eights raced at Peterborough that same weekend, in a race that was shortened from 5km to 2.5km and resembled coastal rowing more than the inland version. Again, both crews showed promise finishing 2nd and 4th in their respective events. The final fixture of the season was the 1st VIII versus Cambridge University lightweights, in their last warm–up event before their boat race on the Tideway (which was to be the only male race on the Tideway this year between Oxford and Cambridge). Again, in squalls that reached 40mph and waves that a good man could have surfed on, the boys acquitted themselves well, losing 2, drawing 1 and winning one of the four pieces we contested.
The list of cancellations included Bedford, Hammersmith, Dulwich fixture, Octo match and finally the Schools’ Head and Scullery events. Despite all these testing setbacks, I have been massively impressed with the boys’ attitude and dedication to training, still attending extracurricular and holiday sessions, and so if you want to see resilience in practice, you need not look any further than the Boat Club.
Another really pleasing season, which sadly ended abruptly with the First XI growing into a very strong team under the captaincy of Harry McPhail and managed by Mr Prior and Mr Wood. The team had got through to the semi-final of the area cup where they were set to play St Albans, with Loughborough Grammar School (a team they had beaten earlier in the season) waiting in the final. The team were also progressing well in the Mercian League and had an outside chance of winning the title, if they had won their remaining games and certain other results went their way. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th XI had rather mixed results over the matches played, but, as a club, the overall win vs loss percentage was stronger than it has been for a number of years, with 20 wins, 17 defeats and 3 draws across all age groups. Participation levels continue to grow and over 150 boys are now playing regularly across the year groups in eight different teams.
The team of the season (despite the strong showing of the First XI) was the U16A team, managed by Mr Finch and captained by George Balfour, who went through the whole season with a 100% record. Whilst the goal machine Ellis Morgan (15 in six games) was on fire – the team scored an impressive 26 goals and only conceded 5 across the season: they gelled, worked for each other and played some really attractive football.
Minor Sports Colours were awarded to: Kasuza Arai, Felix Barth, Raoul Flora, Alex King, Carlos Martinez-Bonet, Harry Robertson, Louis Simon, Ben Sudborough, Michael Wells
The A and B teams this year have performed extremely strongly. The A team went through the season having won every fixture, with Edric Yeung, Arin Mital, Desmond Sze and club captain Anthony Hung all proving extremely strong competitors. The B team won all bar one of their fixtures, too, with particular success for top–pairing Andy Wang and Hugo Yuen. The U16 team progressed to the county finals of the national competition, before narrowly losing out to Redbourne School.
Minor Sports Colours were awarded to: Jonathan Chan, Ashlesh Chandrapu, Maverick Cheung, Arin Mital, Nathan Suen and Hugo Yuen
The depth of the basketball squad has been its key strength and we have a strong core of players through each year group. Unbeaten, thus far, in the local league, we await the chance to play out the final rounds. This has been despite all matches being played away with the sports hall main basketball court still out of action.
Minor Sports Colours were awarded to: Maxwell Martin, Chenxi Jiang, Shreyans Jyoti, Wentao Zhao, Aidan Leung
Fencing continues to thrive as an extracurricular sport, and the club hosted an excellent event earlier in the term. Oscar Hill and Tom Raut continue to impress at a National level and were deservedly have been awarded their colours this term.
Minor Sports Colours were awarded to: Oscar Hill and Thomas Raut
The school entered three teams for the District Cross-Country Championships held at Sharnbrook Upper School. It was pleasing that seven boys qualified for the County Championships. These included Ed Blythman, who finished in first place in the Senior race, and Alex Moffat and Noah Brown, who finished fourth in the Intermediate and Junior races respectively. At the County Championships, held at Ampthill Park, three boys qualified to represent Bedfordshire at the National Schools’ Championships. Ed Blythman finished in third place, winning a bronze medal; in the Senior Boys’ Race; Alex Moffat finished in seventh place; and Noah Brown finished ninth in their races.
Ed Blythman also competed in the U20 Men’s race at the prestigious Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships, representing Bedfordshire. Ed finished in 28th place in his race. The commitment to the sport, the determination to compete and the camaraderie shared amongst the School’s runners has, once again, been very impressive this year.
Minor Sports Colours were awarded to: Alex Moffat
Just as the golf season was about to take off, it has been well and truly grounded! (No fixtures can be played before half term in the spring term due to a lack of light in the evenings.) We did, however, manage to complete two fixtures before Covid-19 stopped play. Both matches were played on The Duchess at Woburn, the first a resounding 6-0 win against Stowe School, with the final putt being holed in almost complete darkness; the second a narrow 3-2 loss to Culford School in what was a well–spirited, hard–fought and high standard encounter. The ISGA finals have been postponed until 12 to 13 October and will still be held at Formby and Formby Hall. We hope that some normality has resumed by then and look forward to the event.
Minor Sports Colours are awarded to: Finlay Cummings
A season riddled with tournament cancellations meant that the boys had few opportunities to put all their training into practice. It must be said that the boys trained regularly and with great intensity throughout the season. All boys had at least one opportunity to play, however, and they did themselves and the school proud. The U15s had a friendly run out against BMS and demonstrated how much they had developed in a short space of time, putting together some brilliantly worked tries. The U14s played in a friendly at Stowe and had made excellent progress by their final game. The performances of the U18s and U16s often went from the ridiculous to the sublime. Both teams played some mesmerising sevens at times, but consistency was their biggest challenge. Notable performances for the U18s came against PGS in the Seaford College Shield final and St Paul’s School at Shiplake, for the U16s it was a committed display of entertaining sevens against a very strong Bromsgrove School.
Minor Sports Colours are awarded to: Tom Allen
The squash club has enjoyed another competitive term. Peter Barrington as Captain, Ed Mathew-Jones, Leon Zhu, Moritz Stahl and Huw Turner made a strong 1st V, winning 50% of their matches, beating a newly formed Towers Racquets club team and Stowe School convincingly. Matches against Uppingham and Oundle were well fought and ended with only a few points between teams. As always, places in the 2nd V team were hotly contested, resulting in all players developing their squash well through the season with some impressive individual victories along the way, the 2nd V were undefeated this term. Regular 2nd team members have been George Winder, Matthew Stewart, Rohan Jacob, Henry Poppleton, Joe Young, Ben Sporton and Flik Feng. A particular mention must go to Elliot Sabel for his excellent captaincy of the 2nd V. The club owes a lot to its outgoing Upper Sixth who have dedicated many hours to Bedford School Squash and have helped to create the supportive and successful club that it is.
Swimming and Water Polo
In a reduced term, the House Water Polo Championships were not completed, though Paulo Pontine retained their crown as swimming champions for 2020. With lots of confusion surrounding the Public Schools Swimming Relays, it was decided that the sensible course of action was not to attend this year.
The English Schools Water Polo competitions were completed. The U18 team, having won friendlies against Bishops’ Stortford and Oundle, could not match those performances in the ESSA Plate, with one victory and two defeats. The U15 team lost both games in their plate competition, though this gave them a place in the Bowl Final where they beat all their opponents to lift the trophy. This is definitely the best result for an U15 School Water Polo team in recent years.
Minor Sports Colours for Water Polo were awarded to: Tobias Todd
A roster of fives fixtures this term against Oundle, Bedford Modern School, the University of Cambridge, the Jesters and Derby Moor took place, with the boys getting to the semi-finals of the East Midlands Regional competition. First pair Hugh Halsey and Will Cliffe performed well against all comers, with Will winning the East Midland Regional Rugby Fives Association Cup. The highlight – aside from the wins against Bedford Modern of course – was without a doubt the away win against the University of Cambridge in their new purpose-built Rugby fives courts, with boys getting a chance to try out the adjacent Eton fives courts as well.
The winners of the Dawes Cup for Fives (Seniors): Shiva Songara (Lower Sixth)
The winner of the Mellor Cup for Fives (Juniors): Callum Ward (Removes)
Head Master’s Scarves
This ‘Young’ man is without question one of the most kind, polite and considerate individuals in the school. He is not one to put himself in the limelight but has shone through with his hardworking, focused and conscientious approach to life. He is strong academically, but it is the Music department where he has really shone. Here he is the principal percussionist and has led all percussion work in all ensembles at school for several years (including Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Ouse, Concert Band, Festival Band, Chamber Orchestra, Choral Society) also helping develop a small team of boys (showing outstanding commitment) to provide all percussion support for these ensembles. He was a big part of the production of Little Shop of Horrors; leading and playing percussion there, too.
He was appointed Head of House and has done an absolutely outstanding job, developing the role and impressing all the Tutors and boys with his reliable, sensible and mature manner. He will always find time to interact with boys across the year groups and they all look up to him, especially those within his tutor group.
On the sports field, squash is his passion, and you will often hear him on court playing very competitive games against Henry Poppleton. He has represented the school several times for the second team, always in the good spirit of competition and sportsmanship. On top of all this, he also attends Rifle club and has been part of the school shooting team gaining minor colours last year. So, to a boy who always gives everything and never seems to stop smiling, the first Head Master’s scarf this term goes to Joseph Young.
The second recipient is an incredibly accomplished, intelligent, highly motivated young man who makes an excellent role model to boys across the school. A keen academic, he has consistently received academic stripes and indeed was one of the few boys awarded The Norris Prize for outstanding GCSE results. He has received six commendations for stretching himself beyond the confines of the curriculum for successes varying from implementing his own Psychology investigation to delivering an online safety lecture to the prep school. He was shortlisted for The John Locke Institute Essay Prize for a piece he had written on Psychology and has received an offer from Cambridge University to study Psychology and Behavioural Sciences.
Aside from academics, he has fully immersed himself in the extracurricular programme on offer at the school. He regularly performs in the The Little Shop of Horrors. It is commendable that he has got himself back involved in rugby after an ‘unsettling incident’ a couple of years ago, and he has just finished this year an enjoyable season for the 4th XV.
Away from school he has had huge success with his fencing. This year he has managed to achieve a Bronze medal in The Eastern Region U18s Sabre competition following on from gold last year where he went on to compete in The British Youth Championships.
He is an incredibly passionate young man, not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. He will always look to support a cause fully and has campaigned hard for Climate Change and for GOSH. He is Oscar Hill.
Although he is not the traditional musician, his work is centred around the recording studio where his playful exploration has led him to releasing several tracks on Spotify which have grown a considerable following. Indeed, very early on his talents as a writer of music were recognised when he won the 2011 ‘Song Academy Young Songwriter’. He recently presented a body of his work to a number of visiting Directors of Music who were completely blown away by his creativity and genuine passion in composition and music production. He regularly performs at school concerts, most notably at Rock Nights and the Open Mic nights as a soloist and in bands. He has also conducted and organised House Unison and Part Song entries for his house over the last two years.
With a relentless passion for Music and Drama, he has performed in a number of school productions, most recently this academic year in Bedford Girls’ School’s production of Avenue Q. His talents in acting and music have also been recognised nationally with his selection into both the National Youth Theatre and the National Youth Music Theatre.
Indeed, his passion for ‘the Arts’ in general has led him to pursue his interest in the History of Art, a passion that he showcased recently in his excellent assembly on ‘Why Companies Buy Art’. On a sporting front, he has led the school squash 1st V and is a part of the Herts & Beds U19 Squad. He has also represented the school’s 1st XI cricket team, and the Buckinghamshire U17s county cricket team. Again, he has gained national recognition in this field with his selection as a scholar to the National Fast Bowling Academy.
He is also a tour guide, the New Music Society President, the Drama Society Vice-President, and the English Society Co-President. There are not many busier boys in the school than this recipient: Peter Barrington
This next boy has been a marvellous Head of House this year, but really he has been a role model, a leader and a fine citizen of Bedford School since the moment he arrived as a remove former in 2016. A typical few weeks for him might involve captaining school swimming and water polo teams in elite competition, playing 5th XI cricket, volunteering as a qualified lifeguard, photographing numerous school functions, delivering presentations at academic society events, attending an engineering masterclass, planning gold Duke of Edinburgh exhibitions, setting up impromptu study groups across the boarding community, and submitting work of the highest standard. An outstanding academic, he has recently received two gold awards in the UK Maths Challenge and was highly commended for his BSIP assignment on chirality and asymmetric autocatalysis. Equally impressive has been his willingness to take time out to offer a listening ear to his peers, and, on many occasions, his mature, thoughtful oversight of the House and his obvious interest in the wellbeing of his peers has been of great help to the wider House community. What a wonderful asset to the school he has been. He is Shangran Peng.
This boy will be known to many as an incredible repository of sporting knowledge, and indeed he is rightly regarded as an authority across a range of academic and cultural fields. Articulate, eloquent and fiercely industrious, he has dismantled the notion that one must either be hard-working or stylishly intellectual, rigorous or endowed with real creative ability and flair. He is all of these things, and to have shared a classroom with this boy as a fellow student is to have enjoyed a rare privilege that might not be encountered even at university. A voracious reader, he brings real insight and understanding to our discussions, but he also wears his knowledge lightly and is a fantastically collegiate student. His amiable manner and thoughtfulness towards others combines powerfully with a seriousness of purpose and a real dedication to the pursuit of learning; this is, after all, why we are here, and few have embodied this so profoundly. Emmanuel Adeyemi
The last recipient only joined the school in the Lower Sixth, but has managed to win an unbelievable array of musical accolades: Assistant Musical Director for the production of The Little Shop of Horrors (an outstanding commitment to the rehearsal process in the autumn term); winner of the Brass Prize; a member of Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Brass Ensemble (where he performed as a soloist recently in assembly), Jazz Orchestra, New Jazz Collective, Funk Band and chamber groups; as a Music Scholar, he performs piano regularly in lunchtime concerts; plays for Prep School assemblies when required; has performed in outings to local nursing homes; and has performed in bands at Open Mic Night and Rock Night. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was Paulo’s Part Song Musical Director (which takes up hours of time) and is, amazingly, involved in professional musical productions outside of school. He was awarded Music Director of the Year by the National Operatic and Drama Association (NODA) last year. Well done, for an amazing contribution in a short period of time, to Tom Arnold.
And so to end with, thank you for listening this patiently for so long. This where you have to imagine Domus Pater. I wish you all good health, patience, determination, kindness and love in the coming weeks; and keep looking forward to the day soon when we can all sing our school hymn together once again – what a raising of the Great Hall roof that will be! With my best wishes to you all.