Bedford School is probably unusual as a Senior Public School in that (in addition to a weekly Chapel service) the Head Master holds two full school assemblies in the Great Hall each week. Each Monday there is a talk from the Head Master and then a talk from another member of the community (often a staff member, but sometimes a current pupil or old boy or indeed visitor) on Friday.

The aim of these assembly talks is to get boys to think, but the talks also encourage groundedness and a sense of gratitude for what they have.  Topics are regularly values-based (not only our four core values of integrity, responsibility, endeavour and curiosity; but also kindness, empathy and the ‘old-fashioned’ values of duty and respect).  However, speakers also draw on current affairs, ethical issues, our sense of shared history and (as part of our wider UK educational duty) ‘fundamental British values’.  We hope these assemblies convey an idea of Head Master’s own values and interests, whilst also providing something of a record of weekly affairs in the school and the wider world.

During the warm heights of the summer holidays, my wife sent me off to...