Dear Parents

The second half of term has been our longest for a while, and you will be receiving some tired boys back today. It never ceases to amaze me just how much goes on at Bedford in a single week. When I spoke to the Prep School Year 8 families at their open morning a couple of Saturdays ago, I was able to illustrate this with the following words:

“Let’s look at the last 48 hours. On Thursday night, 300 people attended one of the biggest concerts of the year, our St Cecilia’s Day concert; simultaneously, another 100 were listening to a world Picasso expert speaking about cubism in the first world war in the EMH. Yesterday, the 1st XV was playing in the final of the National NatWest Trophy. AAAGH – but a great game of rugby! Then last night, there was a Harpur Trust Debating Society meeting in the Langham Pavilion with the Girls’ School; we had 200 in the EMH for a careers in engineering event; another 100 in the main school for the opening of an Art exhibition and a packed theatre for the broadcasting of the BBC’s Any Questions. All in 48 hours; a busy place!”

As part of my programme, I have dinner with all Lower Sixth boarders in their various House groups, and they tell me the same thing: that they are spoilt for choice of event quite regularly. I am similarly impressed by the Lower Sixth day boys and Fourth Form boys (with whom I have lunch rather than dinner), who have multiple activities in their diaries. The richness of their education here is, I think, pretty staggering. In this regard, if you have the chance to read four documents with this letter, please do: the first is the Ousel, which should come home with your son and which has been the annual record for Bedford School for many years. The other three (much shorter) documents are ‘A Year in Review’: a new publication, which highlights some of the boys’ many successes and activities of the last academic year, Mr Tighe’s Academic Round Up for the term and my Final Assembly. For the latter, I particularly recommend the last page or two (the boys tend to wake up again for this bit!) which delivers citations for a Head Master’s scarf. Only a handful of boys ever get this and it is often an invidious choice, subjective as it necessarily is; but it aims to recognise particularly amazing service, sometimes (indeed, preferably) from boys not so obviously in the limelight elsewhere.

These last two documents also detail further achievements in:

  • Rugby (the National Final again)
  • Maths (a National Final to come)
  • Chemistry (a National Final to come)
  • Careers Service (a National Careers Mark for the school)
  • Catering (more awards)
  • Movember (National Schools Challenge winners again)

And a whole host of equally valid, interesting and varied achievements from 5th XV rugby to lectures from pupils on Quantum Tunnelling.

I have two end of term logistical announcements:

Term Dates

Please note that there has been a slight change to the Christmas holiday dates for 2017-18 to ensure that all Harpur Trust schools have the same dates. The last day of term is Friday 15th December 2017 and the first day back for day boys is Tuesday 9th January 2018 (boarders on Monday evening). View the term dates here.

Early mornings and late evenings

Please do remember that the library is open until 7.00pm now, to provide supervision for day boys who stay on after school. Day boys may sign in for breakfast (from 7.50am) and tea (from 5.30pm) in the Dining Halls at a small cost to parents.

Finally, may I thank you all for your support of the school in 2016. In the final few weeks of term, it has been wonderful to see the Great Hall full for both the OB Club 125th Anniversary Dinner and the Parents’ Guild Christmas Ball. Both were thoroughly enjoyable occasions and clearly demonstrated the vibrant support for the School amongst our wider community.

I wish you all the very best for the Christmas break.

With kind regards

James Hodgson
Head Master

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