Happy New Year to you all, though in mid-January, maybe a rather lovely Swedish phrase which I have just come across for this time of year – “god fortsättning”: “good continuance” – may be more appropriate. I do hope that this start of year letter finds you and your families well.
We are certainly in good heart at your old school. We start 2020 in a very healthy position, with numbers strong and a busy, happy and thriving community. Such are the challenges facing the World at the moment, that (as I said to all staff on their training day this week) it feels good to be back in an environment where we can all do something about the future. Contrary to what you might read in the press, or occasionally see from time to time with your own eyes, this next generation is in so many ways so impressive. It is a great privilege to be working with some of the best of them; but also, as we all know, a huge responsibility to bear when so much rides on their actions and decisions in the coming decades. They certainly have a global awareness, a social conscience and determination to live life responsibly, as well as to the full! I hope that I might be able to welcome many of you back to Bedford in 2020 to witness this at first hand, and (if you like) to participate in our development of the boys in whatever area of expertise you can offer.
One current area that all OBs can play a part in without too much time being consumed is to contribute to our new network of people associated with the school. You would not be committing to anything at all, but as the world generally becomes more and more connected, this offers another way to do so and to be part of something which will connect you not only to your childhood but to the future too.
“Eagle Connect” is our new global online digital networking platform designed to bring the Bedford School community closer together which went live in mid-December. It enables Old Bedfordians (OBs) once they have left the School to stay connected and support each other in their university, business and social lives, but also allows individual year groups of all ages to stay in touch effectively. We have been delighted with the response to the launch with over 550 OBs already signed up. New and existing connections have been made, jobs advertised and the newsfeed populated. Over 80% of those who have signed up have agreed to help other OBs through introducing connections, career advice, mentoring, answering specific industry questions, offering work experience, reviewing CVs and attendance at the annual OB careers fair. During the next few months, we’ll be widening the membership to current and past parents to ensure that we have the broadest possible reach. This second stage, I hope, will be particularly attractive to OBs, as our current and past parent body will bring a further breadth and wealth of career experience, as well as genuine love of the School, to add to that which is already clearly evident amongst OBs – and therefore this has the power to be a most useful and supportive network. Our next milestone is to reach 750 members by the end of March, but the dream is that several thousand people who love this school can stay (and get) in touch with one another, even if infrequently, then at least extremely easily.
It is so hard to summarise in a few words the sheer breadth of a Bedford School education, but if you have time to have a quick look at one particular (and relatively short) publication, “A Year in Review 2018/9”, please do – it provides a really good snapshot into the school and I hope will simply add to your pride in it!
Finally, may I wish you all the very best for a happy and successful 2020.
With all best wishes from your old school.