The annual Bedales coracle race took place on the school pond during the last week of term on the hottest day so far this year. The coracles, traditionally used as a means for fishing or transportation, were crafted by the students themselves, constructing a basketwork frame made by coppicing local willow and hazel during their Outdoor Work lessons.
In the Outdoor Work Bedales Assessed Course, students plan a practical project which demonstrates their effort and enthusiasm in overcoming any challenges that arise. This year student projects include the restoration of a wedding cart, making traditional oak gates, and the construction of a chicken coop.
Andrew Martin, Bedales Head of Outdoor Work, commented: “The coracle race is an enjoyable way for our students to utilise the skills they have learnt during their Outdoor Work lessons, and test the final product in the last week of term. Despite the temptation to cool off and jump into the pond, some great teamwork came to the fore and all the coracles made it back in one piece!”
Bedales introduced its own qualification as a more rigorous and challenging alternative to GCSEs; students have been able to choose a unique qualification in Outdoor Work in addition to a broad range of courses in the arts and humanities to supplement their core diet of IGCSEs in the sciences, maths and modern languages.
Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, Hampshire (UK): Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). The vision of Bedales' founder, John Badley, was to create a school which would be profoundly different from the public schools of his day. From 1893, when Bedales began, there was a determination to shape the school around what was considered best for the individual child's educational welfare and happiness. Two strands predominated: breadth ("Head, Hand and Heart") and the cultivation of the individual's intellectual and personal qualities ("Intelligence, Initiative and Individuality"). Many of Badley's early innovations are now mainstream: co-educational boarding (at Bedales since 1898); the emphasis put on the Arts, Sciences and voluntary service; the importance of pastoral care; and listening to students' views (the Bedales School Council was established in 1916). Even so, the contrast between Bedales and other schools remains strong. We believe that our informality engenders a genuine sense of partnership between teacher and student - a shared excitement about ideas and educational discovery. Educational innovation continues today with our Bedales Assessed courses. www.bedales.org.uk.