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Weekly Newsletter

May 3, 2024

Headmaster’s Welcome

Dear Parents and Guardians,


Welcome to the third week in the summer term. The weather remains variable although it is getting warmer.

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Some cricket fixtures have taken place and I always associate the summer term with the very English sport of cricket.


I thoroughly enjoyed the Spring concert last Tuesday night in the Music School. The standard of music was very high and the joy on the faces of the performing pupils was a delight to see.


I am looking forward to the Year 13 performance examination on Tuesday night at 7pm in the Drama studio.


I would like to wish our Young Enterprise Companies, ACE and ASTRA, the best of luck at the Annual Awards event on Wednesday.


The annual Year 13 Leavers’ Ball takes place this evening in Tunbridge Wells. It is always a joyous occasion and no doubt everyone will have a great time.


Colin Powell was an American politician, statesman and diplomat. He once said “There are no secrets to success, it is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure”. He was a wise man.


I wish you all a most enjoyable bank holiday weekend.


Yours sincerely,


Francie Healy


Latest Bethany Blog

This week’s blog has been written by Mr Davies, Head of History and Politics at Bethany. He writes about visual learning by watching TV and films and how this can help with revising whilst not revising.

Revising Whilst Not Revising

I have now sat at my desk for thirty seven minutes, chewing my way through two pencils, whilst thinking about what to write in this, my latest blog. I may have to start on a third pencil shortly, because I’m still no nearer an answer. Thankfully, I have now alighted on a topic; whilst searching for a further pencil, I found myself in the living room and spied the TV in the corner, and then I thought that yes, I have it. I can write about TV. So here it is. At some stage in the blog I will work out why it is I am writing about TV and endeavour to make it clear, both to you and to me.


That paragraph was 121 words, so I’m progressing well. Haven’t said anything yet, but I’m progressing well.


Many pupils are visual learners. Inevitably, therefore, TV and movies can play a key part in their education, if we point them in appropriate directions. Our Year 11 and Year 13 pupils are currently revising hard for their GCSE and A Level exams, but they will need a break, and what better than to spend half an hour losing themselves in an historical world on TV?


Obviously, some series and movies play rather fast and loose with the facts, but there is a wealth of material out there which can reinforce and enhance the learning pupils have done in the classroom.


As I write this, I am extremely excited about the release this week on Disney+ of the dramatization of CJ Sansom’s Shardlake novels (and very sad about the author’s untimely death just two days before his hero hit the screen). I have been told by my daughter that I’m not allowed to watch it until she’s available to watch it too, so my excitement will just have to build for a while longer as she’s currently out. Alternatively I can finish this blog and then go and watch Episode 1 but pretend I didn’t and watch it again when she gets back in a couple of hours’ time.


For those GCSE and A Level History and Politics students in need of a break, here are a few top suggestions for revising whilst not revising (if you get my drift):


GCSE History

– Downfall (2004 movie about Hitler’s last days)

– Schindler’s List (all time classic 1993 Spielberg movie about saving Jews from the Holocaust)

– 1917 (2019 movie about WWI)

– All Quiet on the Western Front (2022 remake of the classic movie based on the 1929 book of the same name)

– Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003 mini-series covering the rise of the Nazis to 1934)

– Nazis: A Warning from History (1997 BBC documentary series)

– Swing Kids (1993 movie about youth opposition to the Nazis)

– Pain, Pus and Poison (BBC series about the development of medical treatments)

– Blood and Guts (a brilliant five part BBC series on the development of surgery – episode 5 is especially useful to our historians)


A Level History

– Chernobyl (2019 series)

– 1066: The Battle for Middle Earth (1999 Channel 4 mini-series)

– Castle (2003 Channel 4 series by Marc Morris, one of my favourite historians – although I have just discovered that he went to Oakwood Park Grammar School, which is very disappointing for a proud Old Maidstonian)

– Empire of the Tsars (2016 BBC series with Lucy Worsley, another of my favourite historians – and she didn’t go to Oakwood Park)


A Level Politics

– The West Wing (1999-2006 US series following a fictional Democrat President and his White House staff)

– The Thick of It (2005-12 BBC comedy about the workings of government – beware the swearing if you’re of a nervous disposition)

– Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister (1980-88 BBC series – rather more gentle than its later relative, but no less satirical for that)

– And a brilliant set of BBC documentary series that all came out around five or so years ago and cover US and UK politics:

  • + Inside the House Of Commons
  • + The Trump Show
  • + Blair & Brown: the New Labour Revolution
  • + Thatcher: A Very British Revolution
  • + The Cameron Years


In case you were wondering, my favourite has to be The West Wing, which is one of the greatest series ever made, in my humble opinion (along with M*A*S*H, Band of Brothers and, although perhaps slightly less historically accurate, Blackadder).


Please feel free to let me know if you have any suggestions of your own. My list just skims the surface. However, you’re going to have to excuse me as I need to go: I’ve run out of pencils and my daughter is just coming home.


Mr Davies

Head of History and Politics

Latest Sports News

Five cricket matches survived the variable weather this week, including the in-form Bethany 1st XI travelling away to Radnor House. In other sports, the Bethany Junior swimming squad impressed in the pool against Claremont last Friday afternoon.

Swimming | Bethany Junior Squad v Claremont

The Junior swimming squad hosted Claremont Prep in the first gala of the summer term on Friday 26th April.


With very impressive squad numbers and swimming standards, Bethany dominated the meet with outstanding swims in all races.


The Bethany team achieved first and second placed positions in several of the 25m sprint races with some excellent times, followed by continued success in the 50m races. The meet was completed with victory in the 4x25m relays for the boys’ and girls’ teams.


All swimmers have developed their technique, stroke efficiency and water speed to a very competitive level during the last twelve months and the gala success is well deserved for all their hard work.


The junior squad now look forward to attending the Dulwich Prep invitational meet on Tuesday 14th May, followed by the junior and inter squads hosting Battle Abbey School at Bethany on Monday 10th June.




Cricket | Bethany 1st XI v Radnor House (away)

Bethany 1st XI cricket team travelled to Radnor House on Thursday, and after Bethany won the toss they elected to bat first.


Charlie Thorne provided a very good start for Bethany, opening the batting with finesse and scoring a quickfire 53 runs off just 26 balls at an impressive strike rate of 200. His aggressive innings set the tone for Bethany’s batting performance. Tom Fyffe added momentum with a flurry of big hits, while Jake Sales provided a finishing touch with an unbeaten 38 runs. Bethany concluded their innings on a strong note, posting a competitive total of 160 for the loss of 5 wickets.


In response, Radnor House came out all guns blazing, scoring at a rapid rate of 10 runs per over in the initial overs. However, Bethany’s bowlers fought back valiantly, with Josh Hughes putting the brakes on Radnor’s scoring while also picking up crucial wickets. At the halfway mark, Radnor seemed well-placed to chase down the target.


However, the momentum shifted significantly with the introduction of Ollie Hughes into the bowling attack. Ollie produced a sensational spell, wreaking havoc with figures of 2.4 overs, 2 maidens, 5 wickets, conceding no runs. His exceptional performance essentially sealed the game in Bethany’s favour.


Final score: Bethany 160 for 5 – Radnor House 92 all out
Player of the Match: Ollie Hughes
Coaches Player of the Match: Charlie Thorne

Cricket | Bethany U15A v Dover College

Bethany U15A hosted Dover College on Tuesday afternoon, Bethany won the toss and elected to bat first.


Bethany’s batting performance displayed discipline and composure, delivering a collective performance that impressed throughout the innings, only losing one wicket, showcasing their resilience and determination at the crease. The highlight of the innings came from Maisie Frankum’s elegant cover drive. Bethany finished their innings on a total of 287 runs, setting a challenging target for Dover College.


In reply, Bethany’s bowlers put up a stellar performance, maintaining tight lines and lengths to keep the extras to a minimum. Bowling with accuracy and control, ensuring that wides and no-balls were kept to a minimum, exerting pressure on the Dover College batting lineup. Despite Dover College’s efforts, Bethany’s disciplined bowling prevented them from building significant partnerships. As the innings progressed, Dover College found themselves falling short of the required run rate.


Final score: Bethany 287 – Dover College 226
Player of the Match: Ruby Peters
Coaches Player of the Match: Maisie Frankum

Cricket | Bethany U15B v Dover College

The U15B Cricket team hosted Dover College on Tuesday afternoon. This was the teams first game of the season, and they demonstrated all that they have practised over the past few weeks.


Winning the toss and selecting to field first, Bethany bowled well keeping wide and no balls to a minimum. Amelia Bickford made an excellent contribution getting 2 wickets in 6 balls. Special mention should also go to Leah Carnegie who bowled a maiden over and to Olivia James who also bowled consistently well. This left Bethany chasing a very achievable 221.


All of the Bethany pairs batted excellently, running well between the wicket and keeping the runs safe. Daisy Riddiford and Evie Pope scored 19 off of 2 overs and Leah and Amelia scored an excellent 27 runs to help build the Bethany final total of 263 and securing the victory.


Final score: Bethany 263 – Dover College 221

Bowler of the Match: Rose Pettit

Batter of the Match: Amelia Bickford

Cricket | Bethany U15B v Ashford School (away)

On another early and cold summers day, the U15B team travelled to take on Ashford School. Winning the toss, the U15B’s put the opposition into bat.


The opposition never really got away and with some stand out bowling from captain Oscar Scott, Jago Veale, Dominic Holmes and leg spinner, Jacob Chesterton – all of whom took well deserved wickets. The bowlers were backed up with good fielding performances from everyone, in particular from Seb Baines, who was determined not to let anything get past him on the fine leg boundary. As well his good bowling Dominic Holmes backed it up with taking two good catches. Ashford finished on 94 for 5 from 20 overs.


The start of the U15B’s reply didn’t start well with Winston Boudet-Fenouillet being run out from the first ball and without facing too! However, Winston’s intent to put the opposition under pressure from the start must be encouraged. Despite losing regular wickets, a sensible partnership between Dominic Holmes and Oscar Scott (finishing on 42 not out), ensured the U15B’s completed the victory with 6 overs to spare.


Final score: Bethany 97 for 6 beat Ashford School 94 for 5, by 4 wickets.

Coaches Player of the Match: Dominic Holmes

Cricket | Bethany U13B v Ashford School

The Bethany U13B team hosted Ashford School in their first match of the season on Wednesday afternoon.


An inexperienced Bethany side bowled first, restricting the opposition to 124 runs, which is a great effort for their first game of the season.


In reply, Bethany posted a respectable total of 83, however Bethany ran out of time in the run chase. A good first game to the season with lots of excellent things to work on for next week.


Final score: Bethany 83 – Ashford School 124
Player of the Match: Oscar Hughes
Coaches Player of the Match: Harry Jermyn