Just before I start today, I wish to congratulate all of those boys who got their IB results only minutes before this assembly. There will be a range of emotions, but for all of you, you have managed to gain a qualification that is world renowned, you have worked hard to achieve it, and you should hold your head high whether you got what you wanted or not. A round of applause for the IB boys please.
The next 48 hours are about celebration; they are also about sadness, as we say goodbye to all boys who leave us today, and not least the Upper Sixth who leave Bedford School. This day has no doubt come around very quickly for these young men, many of whom joined the school when they were only seven years old – so it is a time, too, for reflection for the whole school; our own time will come and, following the mantra that regret is the worst of all emotions, we will not be wanting to miss out on a thing while we are here at school.
There is a lot to get through today by way of formalities and reports. I will get going. We start, this time, with sport, partly because this term has probably been one of the best sporting terms in recent memory, so well done to all of you who played in any team at all.
Overall the 2018 season has been very successful in terms of matches won with over 70% of games across all the teams being won, the introduction of the Under 14E team and competing very well both in local and national competitions:
- 1st XI were crowned regional champions in the HMC T20 and went on to qualify for the national finals day where they were narrowly beaten by Charterhouse in the semi-final.
- U17s beat Shrewsbury school in the national semi-final of the U17 Cup, and they will now play Millfield in the final in September.
- U15s beat Norwich, Nottingham High, Bromsgrove and Repton to reach the ESCA U15 Cup final which will be played against Tonbridge on 9 July at Oakham School.
- U14A won the county cup final against Bedford Modern School and will now play in the ESCA U15 Cup competition next season.
Outside the national competitions, the 1st XI have had an excellent season winning all but one of their block fixtures, including wins against Rugby, St Albans, Berkhamsted, Stowe, MCC, Uppingham and a crushing innings victory over Tonbridge in the traditional two-day game. Every player in this squad has made a contribution towards the success of the 1st XI (and U17s) this summer. However, leading from the front were Harry Gouldstone with 553 runs and keeping wicket superbly, Gus Miller 526 runs and leading the bowling attack with pace and swing, the ever-consistent Emilio Gay with 513 runs and Alex Rennie with 36 wickets.
The U15As also had an excellent season winning all but one game and winning through to the ESCA Cup final. Again, every boy played their part in this team but particularly well done to Cam Melly, Elliot Byrne, Henry Warren, Varun Parmar and James Worker who all performed consistently throughout the season.
The U14As have also had an excellent season. They have won all but two games (Eton and Harrow) with the stand-out players being Rohan Mehmi, Dilan Sheemar, Nick Challacombe, Jonny Huggins, Charlie Mumford and Ted Walker. This is also a very strong squad of players who should continue to be competitive in future years and should also be a force in the ESCA U15 Cup next season.
It was pleasing to see the 2nd, 3rd and 4th XI win more of their games this year. Finally, well done to the U14B and U15B to D teams who all had very good seasons, winning the lions’ share of their matches. Also, a mention for the U14E, who unfortunately did not manage to register a victory but they worked hard every games lesson, enjoyed their cricket and fought hard on the field in every game.
With the season drawing to a close we keep our fingers crossed that the U15s and U17s can churn out one more good performance to bring home a national cup each.
Awards for Cricket for this season
For the first time in several years, the Boat Club has boated a full set of crews from the 1st VIII to the J14E crew. The addition of two new boats this year has greatly helped all these crews to be able to boat and compete.
The 1st VIII have been the stand out crew of the season and are possibly the fastest crew the school has produced. The 1st VIII finished 4th overall at the National Schools’ Regatta, and another strong performance at Marlow Regatta, where they finished as the 5th fastest school crew, were good enough for the crew to be one of the selected crews at Henley Royal Regatta, where they are currently competing.
The B crews across the year groups proved to be competitive units with all the B crews making their A finals at the National Schools’ Regatta. The J15 and J14 B crews performed particularly well finishing 4th and 2nd respectively.
One of the races of the season was probably between the J14 C and D crews who met at the BASHER Regatta. From start to finish there was less than a canvas between the two crews, with the C crew eventually edging the race. Both crews finished the regatta as the fastest J14C and D crews.
Next week Connor Sheridan will be heading for the GB junior rowing team final trials where he has aspirations of gaining selection for the Junior World Rowing Championships.
Awards for Rowing for this term
The athletes had a successful season with a number of fixtures against the top schools on the circuit. The class of Stephen Simmons once again shone through as he continued to achieve personal best scores in most of his disciplines. He recorded 13.8 seconds in the 100m hurdles to break the school record by an impressive 0.4 sec that had stood since 1979. He came 3rd overall in the Anglian regional final of the English Schools Combined Event Championships (octathlon). He is yet to compete in the English Schools Championships on 12 to 14 July for sprint hurdles and the ESAA Combined Event Championships on 15 to 16 September. This was not the only success the squad had, as another ten boys represented their district in the county finals and gave a great account of themselves. Max Martin, our only Fourth Form representative, looks to be a real prospect for the future. More importantly, boys have experienced a number of events in training and competition and had the chance to experience new formats and put themselves out of their comfort zone, an important and fun learning experience for them all.
Having battled through the Bedford, County and Regional rounds earlier in the year, the only competitive fixture this term was the final of the Year 10/11 National Schools’ Competition. Following a very close competition, the team finished an impressive sixth in the country – a fantastic achievement.
Played 15, won 13, drawn 1 and lost 1. The team have remained unbeaten in all competitive regional matches and are the Regional plate winners in the HMC competition. National finals are playing right now at Luffingham Heath. They were also the Regional plate winners in the Independent Schools Golf Association and were runners-up in the national finals at St Mellion, Cornwall and County, losing on count back.
Swimming and Water Polo
At the Public Schools’ Swimming Relays, with over 90 schools competing, the Remove Form team of Rowan Spong, Alfie Warnock, Seong Pai and Adrian Shum produced two excellent performances. The Water Polo team had two friendly fixtures against Bishops Stortford College: both wins 11-0 and 7-4.
Results for the seniors this term were somewhat disappointing. However, the juniors picked up some of the slack with good wins against Oakham, Kimbolton and Bedford Modern (twice!). Hamza Noor and Harry Whitehouse were a formidable prospect at the top of the junior ranks and should make fine school tennis players as they progress through the ranks. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the season was the response of boys in training: all boys from the junior leagues to the senior quad benefitted from high quality coaching and made significant progress with their tennis.
Both A and B teams gave a very good account of themselves at the National Independent Schools’ Beach Volleyball Tournament, hosted by Brighton College, marking an impressive end to an enjoyable term’s sport. Seven schools and 12 teams competed on the sand courts in blistering heat, each playing 12 games. Bedford School’s A, captained by Alfie Elston, and the B team, captained by Ben Wilshaw-Quinn, demonstrated their skill, fantastic teamwork and sportsmanship in all matches.
The A team highlights were winning against Sevenoaks (12-11) and one of the Epsom sides (17-12) and winning their playoff against Reeds, a team they had drawn against 13-all in the pool stages. The B team put in an excellent performance against Leys, winning 14-9 and LEA 15-13.
The summer term is usually a quiet one for the CCF, despite the fact that it started early for Felix Hill, Finn Cassel, Will and Alex English, Blake Ayling, James Brazil, Ben Giles and Tom Byrne as they took part in the Combat Cadet Competition in the first week of the Easter break. As one of the youngest teams to compete, they acquitted themselves very well, achieving third place overall.
- Training for the Army continued through the term, and April also saw us competing in the Welbeck Competition.
- The Navy have exploited the favourable weather, and have been sailing and paddling on Priory most days.
- The RAF have continued to build experience with the new flight simulator, and they had the opportunity to make use of this experience when they flew with the Cambridge University Air Squadron this month. This was the first time cadets have flown for a year, and hopefully signals the return to regular flying opportunities.
The term finished with preparation for summer camps for the three Arms, and the Corps Dinner to say farewell to the outgoing Sixth Form.
It has been, as ever, a very busy term for the Music Department. The term started off with an amazing Bands Concert, with excellent performances from the School Band, Dance Band, Brass Ensembles and Guitar Ensemble. This was Mr Green’s final concert at Bedford School after an extraordinary 37 years of teaching here. The turn of the other large ensembles, including Second Orchestra, First Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Chapel Choir and Consort Choir came last night in the Summer Concert, held in both the Chapel and the Great Hall. We enjoy giving the most talented boys opportunities to perform solos, and it was a delight to hear Arjun Ananth play a movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the First Orchestra and Hoffer Tsang play the whole of Poulenc’s Organ Concerto with the Chamber Orchestra. We also saw Ollie Graham wield a baton with the Film Orchestra last night too – an extraordinary achievement, especially when you know that he had made the arrangements of the film scores himself and created all of the orchestral parts. We have had some polished performances from the Chapel Choir in concert (last night is a perfect example), but also in the context of the weekly chapel services, including a joint evensong with St Paul’s Church, Bedford, and a Holy Communion service with members of the OB community returning to sing with the choir. It has been good to be part of the summer Creative Arts Festival, offering a variety of musical contributions, including a musical theatre evening and an orchestral workshop for the whole of the Fourth Form. We have also had the Prize Winners’ Concert and a concert of world premiere performances of boys’ compositions towards the beginning of term, and of course the weekly lunchtime concerts throughout the term, which have given many boys an opportunity to perform a solo piece. All of these things contribute towards our aim to create an outstanding, vibrant and diverse musical experience for all boys at every level in the school.
This term we have had a number of visiting lecturers to the Friday lunchtime Art Society meetings. Artist Lindsay Chessum challenged preconceptions of what a self-portrait can be; Edinburgh Fine Art student Harry Lusty gave an inspiring talk about the development of her sculpture following on from an all-important one year Foundation course, and Mr Nicholl reminded boys that any materials can be used in sculpture as he showed the range and variety of his own exciting and powerful work.
On Saturday 23 June, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Gilbert Lloyd lectures, we were delighted to welcome back OB Will Gompertz, the BBC’s Arts Editor, to deliver a lecture to the whole school. We were joined by special guest and supporter of our art lectures, Gilbert Lloyd, who is the Director of Marlborough Fine Art and who had just returned from the Basel Art fair, one of the most significant fairs in the art world calendar. Will’s lecture was based on his recent book Think Like an Artist, and so he talked about being creative as being close to your life force; the curiosity of artists, how they steal from others; how they are often sceptics and inquisitive; how they break rules, don’t fail, have their own point of view and are enterprising. All this with references to Charles Baudelaire, Marina Abramovich, Cézanne and Theaster Gates along the way. The lecture encouraged us all to believe in our own creativity. In the afternoon, Gilbert officially opened the new entrance to the art block which will be known as the Gilbert Lloyd Gallery.
Head Master’s Art Prize
At the End of Year students exhibition there was a particularly large Upper Sixth cohort on display, which made the choice for the Head Master’s Art prize a difficult one.
Printmaker Michael Choi caught my eye with the range and quality of the different print techniques he had used for both his coursework exhibition and his exam, but it was his atmospheric oil painting of a wooded landscape that really impressed me.
Painter Ben Wilshaw Quinn exhibited some dramatic large-scale paintings including one of a sinister hooded character alongside an instantly recognisable portrait of three of this year’s monitors all looking very pensive and slightly melancholic.
However, the ambition, scale and range of both ideas and materials evident in his exhibition of sculpture set this work apart. Mr Croker mentioned that the work is of a quality that would sit comfortably in any gallery context which, with the combination of an impressive and mature approach to his work this year, has led him to take the unusual decision to award his Art colours at this late stage of the year. So for the Head Master’s Art prize, and also his Art colours, Harrison Burgoine.
As part of the exhibition, visitors are invited to vote for the work they consider to be ‘Best in Show’, and staff in particular take this responsibility very seriously. Mr Croker would like to thank all those staff who found time to come down to the Art school to participate. This year’s winner for his impressive portrait of Mr Gracie which can currently be seen downstairs in the Foyer, Dom Blore.
In The Quarry Theatre, there have been over 20 professional productions, including two senior school productions this year. We have also seen the creation of Boycott, our new in-house theatre company that provides opportunities for our Fourth Form and Remove Form boys to explore and perform new and exciting plays written for young people. We performed The Edelweiss Pirates in May; a true story of a group of teenagers who rose up against the Nazis, despite knowing the terrible price they might pay for their convictions. The boys worked incredibly hard to create a very moving performance that explored a range of complex and sensitive issues. We will be auditioning in September for new members, so please do get involved.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead was directed by Upper Sixth Form student Conor Hilliard as part of the Arts Festival in June. This studio piece revealed just how strong Bedford School student productions can be, with great acting performances from Harry Hine and Max Alexander as ‘R and G’. The ensemble cast were excellent, and we look forward to more student-led productions in the future at The Quarry Theatre.
The Arts Festival has proven to be very successful and this year incorporated a special performance of Macbeth for the Fourth Form boys to integrate lower year groups into the event. A highlight was Mark Lewis directing Ethan Chappell-Mason in a one-man show, entitled Tonight with Donny Stixx. This haunting piece was very well received and audiences were moved by Ethan’s powerful performance. The festival culminated with An Evening at the Musicals on 4 July. The Drama and Music departments worked together to showcase 16 solo singing performances. This very special evening, performed to a packed audience, was hosted beautifully by Mr Hopton, Head of English. Thank you to all involved, especially our four members of staff who sang – Mr Grimshaw, Mr Peters, Mr Finch and Mrs Bagnall.
Auditions were held in June for the forthcoming school production of 39 Steps by Patrick Barlow, which will take place in November/December in The Quarry Theatre. The main character will be played by Jamie Williams, and there are students from Mark Rutherford and Bedford Girls’ School participating too.
As part of our Academic Drama Society, staff and students have given lectures on Stanislavski, directing, comedy and Renaissance drama this year. The Society President for 2018-19 is Jonathan Hosking. In September 2018, Boycott Theatre Company will audition for members to join the next project. All Fourth Form and Remove Form boys are welcome to audition. There will also be a new technical theatre group from September, led by Mr Pharaoh. We hope that more boys will see this as an opportunity to get involved, even if they do not feel that performance on stage is their forte.
In November, 70 Upper Sixth boys took part in the Movember campaign and were once again crowned top school team in the country. Overall they raised £9,579 and their video ‘Unmute yourself’ had 21,700 views on Facebook and was shared hundreds of times. On behalf of all the boys who participated in very many ways, could Ollie Graham and Matt Fordham come and collect the certificate from the Movember Foundation.
Nominations for Head Master Commendations
Will Barnes – This commendation is for a mixture of things. Firstly, to thank Will for all his help in the RE Department during the internal exams week with packing up old textbooks that were being donated to Oxfam and then helping to load them on to the van. Secondly, and more importantly, Will entered the Keble College Theology and Religion Essay Competition with a strong essay entitled ‘Would it transform Christian theology to refer to God as Mother?’ It did not win a top prize, but was placed in the top 30 – a great achievement in a difficult competition – and he has been asked to visit Keble for a special programme of events for prize entrants. Well done!
Will also researched and curated an outstanding exhibition which was focused on the school’s archives, and then led a full school assembly on it. He has helped to raise the profile of the archives and has given people an insight into the history of the school. A lot of hard work and effort went into this – well done Will!
Alfie Willcocks – He has been studying Ancient Greek with Gavin McCormick since September; he is the only Remove Form student to do so. This is obviously not on the curriculum, and so he has given up his own time (after school on Wednesdays) to work towards an extra qualification. Furthermore, he has also begun studying Italian with Michael Dawson, again in his own time. His mature work ethic, diligence and independence is really impressive.
Harry Hine – for throwing himself wholeheartedly into so many aspects of school life – both in the classroom and in drama – especially with the latest Creative Arts Festival play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
Theory of Knowledge (ToK)
The Remove Form ToK Projects this year were judged by an esteemed panel, including Mr Bolton and Mr Herring.
The winning project was by Joshua Gervais with a project ‘Getting to the Moon: From imagination to reality.’
Second prize goes to Alfie Willcocks with his essay ‘Should the Classics be included in the modern education system?’
Runners-up prizes go to:
Joseph Briggs – Should the NBA abolish the “one and done” rule?
Edward Matthew Jones – Should we have stayed in the EU?
Ben Barden – How has ancient philosophy founded the basis for our society today?
Well done to those who entered for Arkwright Engineering Scholarships this year; the following boys were named as Associates:
Bedford School Independent Project (BSIP)
The BSIP Presentation Evening took place last Monday evening (25 June) and saw nine boys deliver excellent presentations on a wide range of topics, including Silas Sanders on the work of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, Laurence Pleuger on the development of weaponry in Medieval Europe, Charlie Hicks on Ghanaian healthcare, Elijah Cooke on single-sex education, and Alex Ward on cryptocurrencies and their likely role in future society. Presentations by Sung Yat Ng, on traditional Chinese medicine and its impact on modern Western healthcare, and Tom Qin, on the strength and possible reform of China’s state-owned enterprises, were each Highly Commended. Thomas Pelling, speaking with great clarity and passion on Einstein’s theories, finished runner-up, and the overall prize was won by Jonathan Blake, for an outstanding and deeply-researched presentation on the Battle of Stalingrad, exploring its status as a turning point in World War Two. Many thanks to all the boys who took part and congratulations to Jonathan, who joins Rory Boylen as one of the two main BSIP prize-winners this year.
Pilkington Trust Gap Year Awards
I have cheques for:
- Matthew Fordham – He will work for a Charity called the Bhubesi Pride Foundation in Gaborone, Botswana, before heading to Namibia, South Africa, Botswana (Selebi-Phikwe and Maun), Zambia before ending in Malawi. Meaningful partnerships between the charity and local communities are established to ensure sustainable impact for the long-term.
- Tom Ackroyd (who also won a Bulkeley-Evans scholarship) will undertake a project which involves going out to the Gambia in a team of ten for five months and helping out in the local community, working in schools helping to teach English and Maths and other subjects, as well as learning to manage a classroom with forty or more children.
Duke of Edinburgh
This year, over one hundred Remove Form boys signed up for the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. During the summer term, all boys participated in a practice expedition to Ickwell and back and, since the exam week, they have completed Assessed Expeditions to the Chilterns. All boys completed their expeditions to a high standard.
Last week, 45 Fifth Form boys tackled challenging weather conditions to complete the expedition section of their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Through 30-degree heat, the boys trekked more than 20 miles over three days, scaling the hills of the Peak District. Due to water shortages, routes had to be changed at the very last minute, and the assessors were impressed with how well the boys coped, praising them for their teamwork and resilience. Another year over!
CUPS FOR SUMMER TERM 2018
Junior House Cricket – Bromham
Senior House Cricket – Crescent
Redburn Cup for most contribution below the 1st XI – Harry Beard
“Harry has been an outstanding member of the school cricket club both in terms of his commitment to helping off the field as well as performances in the age group squads, 3rd XI and this year in the 2nd XI. Harry has captained the 2nd XI with great maturity and always put others in front of him to bat and bowl. Harry also did an excellent job as club captain last season, a role which required him to read out results and performances once a week at the whole club meetings.”
Junior House Tennis – Paulo Pontine
House Rowing – Ashburnham
Junior Sculls – George Winder
Senior Sculls – Josh Lyon
House Water Polo – St Peter’s
The LAING BOWL for outstanding sportsman of the year – Alfie Orchard
The DRAMA CUP is awarded jointly to George Robertson for his excellent contribution to extra-curricular drama and George Wegener’s excellent contribution to curriculum drama.
Net Merit Totals for the year:
In sixth place, Crescent
In fifth place, Bromham
In fourth place, St Peters
In third place, Paulo Pontine
In second place, Ashburnham with an average of 25.3
In first place, with an average of 28.4, St Cuthberts
….which leads on to…..
OVERALL HOUSE CUP
In joint 4th place with 68 points: Bromham, Cresent and St Cuthberts
In 3rd place with 68.5 points: Ashburnham
In 2nd place with 78 points: St Peters
This year’s WINNERS, with 90.5 points: Paulo Pontine
The McGAVIN CUP. This prestigious award honours David McGavin, who was killed in a car accident a few years ago, and the cup is awarded to someone who displays the following qualities: integrity, kindness, perseverance, leadership in a number of areas of school life. Throughout his time at Bedford School, this boy has continuously exhibited all the characteristics that this cup looks for. He has taken full advantage of all the opportunities on offer and approached school life with energy, enthusiasm and a strong desire to be the best that he can. He has captained the 2nd XV in Rugby and played for the first team in Basketball. This year he was appointed at Deputy Head of Corps in the CCF and Head of Competitions. He recently led the Combat Cadet team to achieve 3rd place, the highest the school has reached in eight years and was praised for the strong leadership he demonstrated here. He has been an active member of the charities committee and taken part in Movember, Bedford School Sleep-out and ran ten miles for Cardiac Risk in the Young as part of the school charity relays. He has also taught as part of the Prep school enrichment programme and completed his Grade 6 LAMDA. He has made an excellent monitor and a fantastic role model to boys in the younger years. He has aspirations to join the army and will certainly make a first-rate Officer.
This year’s award goes to Felix Hill.
Finally, a thank you to Dr Palmer, who has been in charge of cups this year.
Awards for 75 academic merits go to:
Awards for 100 academic merits goes to:
I would just like to say to you all how lucky we have been to be led by this Sixth Form and by this group of monitors and this Senior Four more specifically. They have not only led the way in achievement but in the way they deal with success and failure and in the example they set for all boys in the school, whether young or old. As they pass from being boys of the school to Old Boys of the school, we celebrate a traditional ceremonial moment where the OB Club officially welcomes the leaving year group to the Club by the award of a tie to the Head of School. It is very good to have Craig Mitchell, Chairman of the OB Club, and David Murray, President of the OB Club, with us today. Could Craig now please come forward to present the tie to Frank.
Head Master Scarves
There is one left to present this year.
This boy has been a steadfast member of the music department and at the school since Year 3. He hasn’t always stood out as exceptional but has been quietly committed and worked his socks off, which has truly paid off. He is an excellent example to anyone wanting to achieve their goals. He has always been prepared to go the extra mile to help out, including taking rehearsals and most recently standing in at a moment’s notice for another pupil who wasn’t available to play a significant solo in First Orchestra.
This year he has done a great job as president of the music society and has gained a place at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music. He also organised his own charity concert earlier in the year. Outside of school he supports the community by playing with the Bedford Symphony Orchestra, Bedford Sinfonia, and he is a member of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra.
He is Archie Young-Lee.
I will announce the Senior Four for next year at Prize Giving tomorrow.
To round up:
A-Level results day this year will provide the current Upper Sixth with another chance to meet up. We aim to put on some breakfast and coffee in school this year so that you can come in, hopefully celebrate, see your peers, ask any advice from teachers. It will be great to see you all. There will be careers and UCAS advice available here too that morning, so those who got their IB results today may also wish to come along. It will be good to see you all.
We say farewell to several staff members tomorrow at Speech Day – please be sure to seek them out at drinks, to which you are all invited, with your parents, at noon. They are Mssrs Green, Atkins, Herring, Tighe, Elliott, Campbell and Nicholl. To these and you all your magnificent teachers, we owe a great thanks for the year.
We end, as is traditional, with Domus Pater.