Dear Parents,

It seems an unfeasibly short time since the beginning of the school year; I hope that the first half of term and the last two weeks went well for you and your family.  I write with a few musings, as we set sail on the next leg – you will detect a broad theme of boy leadership as you read – and a few useful pieces of information at the end.

In my first assembly this term, I encouraged boys to start their own clubs and societies, if they felt that there was a gap in provision.  The best way, I said, is to get a friend or two enthused, and a teacher to help with some of the logistics, and to simply get on with it!  Boys at Bedford are good at this: in the past year or two, they have (amongst other things; and with some help) started a new school magazine, an economics club, two new sports, improved opportunities for media, an art society, an architecture society and a current affairs society.  This year already there is a new psychology club, a fledgling China society, darts society and cheese society – the latter had a queue of staff wishing to get involved!  One of our aims this year is to provide more opportunities for boys to express their voice; to be more curious, creative leaders.  Starting a club helps in this regard; but a number of other boys have also given lectures to various societies already this year.  The burgeoning success of the Bedford School Independent Project (BSIP) in the Lower Sixth has given rise to an increasing number of senior boys standing up to present upon academic topics and younger boys are taking part, too, with clubs designed for their age.  I also aim to meet this half term with a group of boys who have already started their own businesses, to see how we can support them in their endeavours; and I am hoping to persuade more boys to take full school assemblies as the year goes on.

Starting this week, Movember provides another wonderful annual display of boy leadership (guided gently by a small group of outstanding staff members).  This year, over 50 boys will be involved in the organisation of events, social media activity and the creation of video and paper publicity, designed to increase awareness of, and raise money for, Men’s Health issues.  We are habitually the largest Movember fundraiser in the UK in the education sector; but, excellent achievement though that is, we are all even more proud of the educative work the boys do, which includes senior boys planning and leading sessions on health issues (mental and physical) with the younger boys.  At a time when teenage mental health issues have reached record levels in the UK, this coming month provides an uplifting example of where teenage boys are taking a serious responsibility for looking after one another.

I have selected just a few areas of school life where boys can take a lead; there are very many others, of a higher or lower profile.  Not everyone will lead, of course; but all can participate (see below) and most will find themselves leading something, however small, at some time.  School is a good time to acquire the taste.

With best wishes for the coming weeks,

James Hodgson
Head Master


PS: Did you know?

  • A good number of clubs and societies will deliver notices of upcoming meetings via Monday and Friday assemblies at school; the notices from these assemblies can be found on the front page of the Parents’ pages on the website.
  • Three major school events are coming up; please do encourage your boys to attend – and do please come yourselves, too:
    • 3rd November, 4.45pm, Great Hall: Harpur Science Forum lecture: ‘Can the NHS be Saved?’ by the Harpur Science Forum President, OB Prof Tim Briggs, Orthopaedic Surgeon and National Director for Clinical Quality & Efficiency for the NHS
    • 14th – 17th November, 7.30pm: Sweeney Todd, the Quarry Theatre – a major pupil production
    • 1st December, 7.30pm: St Cecilia’s Concert, the Great Hall – the central school concert of the term
  • The library is now open until 7.00pm from Monday to Friday.  This provides much flexibility for day boys, especially, those who wish to stay on for later functions (or simply be picked up later) – they can get their homework done in a supervised environment after the normal school day is finished.  Day Houses will close at 5.30pm; day boys can sign in for tea with the boarders (at a very small charge), if they wish, before getting some work done in the library.
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