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Weekly Newsletter

November 10, 2023

Headmaster’s Welcome


Dear Parents and Guardians,


We had Remembrance Services for the various year groups throughout the week and due deference was paid by the pupils in each of the services.

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The Bethany Tanzania training weekend, which took place last Saturday and Sunday was very successful.


Year 8 pupils completed their Curriculum Project on Wednesday, and made some very impressive presentations to an exacting panel of judges, outlining their vision for the old swimming pool area. I was very impressed with the quality of presentations.


We have a very good number of prospective Year 7 pupils sitting Entrance Assessments this coming Monday at Bethany and I would like to thank you for your great efforts in continuing to spread the good word about Bethany. It is clearly having an effect.


Although it seems a long way away at the moment, I would like to remind you that the Carol Service takes place at St Dunstan’s Church, Cranbrook on Tuesday 5th December at 7pm.


I am pleased that the Year 11 pupils seemed to have coped well with their GCSE Maths Examinations this week and I wish them well in their mock examinations which start next Wednesday.


I am looking forward to seeing as many Year 11 pupils and their parents this evening at the Sixth Form open evening. Pupils who stay on for the Sixth Form at Bethany make terrific progress and they are then expertly set up for life after Bethany.


I came across this quote the other day, supposedly from a Year 11 pupil (in a different school) which made me smile. “Exams are good and make me realise I can sit idle for 3 hours without my phone!”.


Have a great weekend.


Francie Healy


Latest Sports News

The latest news from the Bethany School sports department, including an exciting update for talented netball player and Year 10 pupil, Olivia.


For the Bethany sports teams, a few fixtures succumbed to the elements this week, however, two football fixtures, a rugby fixture and our first swimming gala of the school year all survived the weather.

Netball | Olivia Selected For London Pulse

Congratulations goes to Olivia, Year 10 at Bethany, who has been selected as one of twenty athletes in the Kent Hub for London Pulse U15 Netball.



Olivia went on a trial for London Pulse back in September and received the good news to say she had been awarded a place in the U15 London Pulse Kent hub. There are four hubs across London, Kent, Middlesex and Essex, (80 athletes altogether), on a 20 week training programme which started in early October.



The coach for the London Pulse Kent hub is Kate Watts, who is also a coach for Langton and so will be coaching both Olivia’s junior and senior Langton teams this season. Another Bethany pupil, Sophie, is also in Olivia’s junior Langton team so they will hopefully build a connection which can be Bethany’s advantage when the school netball season offically starts next term!


Congratulations Olivia, and good luck!

Rugby | Bethany 1st XV v Ashford School

The 1st XV rugby team hosted Ashford School on Thursday afternoon.


Bethany started the game well, playing with pace at the breakdown and moving the ball swiftly along the back line into the wide channels. Ashford scrambled well with some last ditch tackling to keep the score line level. The visitors grew into the half with powerful running from their big physical pack and pressed for an opening score. Bethany defended superbly well as the pressure grew, covering teammates if the first line of defence was broken. Just before the break, a Bethany scrum five meters from their try line resulted in a charge down on the clarence kick and a race to the bouncing ball that was won by Ashford for the opening score and a 5-0 half time lead.


Bethany continued to defend very well in the second half as Ashford pressed for more scores, with good tackling all over the pitch and effective work at the breakdown from Will Edmeades Sterns and Tom Fyffe in particular. As the defensive effort began to take its toll, Ashford broke through from the halfway line and ran in a second score. Bethany continued to play with commitment, fast rucking and ball transition, resulting in several attacking positions inside the Ashford twenty-two after strong running from the forwards and in particular George Gardner who carried the ball very well all match. However, Bethany was not able to turn field position and pressure into points against a good defensive line. As the half entered the final ten minutes, a second charge down kick led to a third try under the posts for Ashford, and in the final minute, a quick pass from an attacking ruck and a charging run from one of the powerful forwards led to a fourth Ashford try.


Final score: Bethany 0-24 Ashford School

Player of the match: George Gardner

Coaches Player of the Match: Will Edmeades Stearns

Football | Bethany U13A v Claremont

Bethany and Claremont were lucky enough to play on as most matches were cancelled this week due to the weather.


Despite the adverse weather conditions, both sides attempted to and indeed managed to play a passing game of football. Bethany conceded two early goals before they settled into a solid rhythm of play. We defended and battled against a technically effective opposition, some of which were physically bigger, stronger and quicker than the majority of the Bethany squad.


We therefore defended in numbers making a very big pitch as small as possible, which helped us to contain the opposition for the rest of the game but hindered us when trying to create space and break the oppositions defensive lines at a high tempo.


When we won back possession we were very close to each other, allowing us to string several passes together in tight areas, on the odd occasion we managed to find Henry Greig on the left wing (who had a great game), he caused Claremont countless problems down their right hand side. Henry dribbled into the 18 yard box, unleashing a couple of shots as well as crossing to his teammates. Unfortunately, we failed to capitalise on his endeavours leaving Bethany trailing by two goals at half time.


We are blessed with some very good technical players, especially in the midfield areas, they and others will prove to be very effective in a few years time. In the meantime we will continue to adopt a passing game, trying our best to limit touches, as a pass and move game plan would allow us to retain possession as well as create more goal scoring chances.


Final score: Bethany 0-2 Claremont

Player of the Match: Gus Tuson

Coaches Player of the Match: Henry Greig







Football | Bethany U15A v Bedes (away)

Both Bede’s and Bethany were evenly matched throughout the entire game, with Bede’s having access to a couple of academy players at Brighton, who made life difficult for our midfield and defensive lines, thus scoring a great individual goal dribbling past a few of our players before scoring Bede’s first goal.


Bethany continued to press playing some delightful football, as both sides did throughout both halves. Having won back possession after a tackle on the sideline, we took a quick throw in down the line to Daniel Villa Garcia on the left-side of Bede’s middle third, with great pace he skipped past the resilient Bede’s defence to score Bethany’s first goal, drilling the ball into the Bede’s goal.


VIDEO: Daniel makes it 1-1


Bethany’s second goal also came from the Bede’s defensive left-side, with Jonah (who had a great game) collecting the ball in our midfield third to then find Daniel with a great aerial ball over the Bede’s left back. Daniel collected the ball, looked up to then cross the ball for Oscar Scott to swivel and volley the ball into the back of Bede’s net, great technique from Oscar giving Bethany the lead.


VIDEO: Oscar puts Bethany 2-1 up


Bede’s equalised after a few passes between their defenders into the midfield, where they found their best player, who turned to then dribble into our penalty area past several Bethany players. He then squared the ball into our six yard box for a Bede’s player to shoot and score into Bethany’s goal.


The second half was very much the same as the first, very competitive with both sides playing out from the back, and through the thirds when possible. Bethany slightly had the edge in this half having hit the post on several occasions.


However, the score remained the same, with both teams deserving something from the game.


The entire Bethany squad played very well. Our Captain Ollie Hughes giving his typical captain performance, leaving everything on the field of play.


A special mention to Hux Maunder-Allan, whose decision making was superb throughout, Sam Lobo, who read the dangers very well, making countless tackles and interceptions, to stop the opposition in their tracks. Lucien Franklin with his pace, giving Sam the confidence to drive forward to intercept and breakdown Bede’s progression.


Jonah Burrows who grew in confidence throughout the first half, making much needed tackles and passes. Oscar Scott, once again had a great game, scoring a very good goal. Lucien, Charlie Eddy and Chris Hanslip Ward all had a commanding presence.


Seb Baines was brilliant at Left Back, calm in possession enabling him to find teammates under pressure, which helped us to both win and retain possession in difficult areas of the pitch.


Final score: Bethany 2-2 Bede’s

Player of the Match: Hux Maunder-Allan

Coaches Player of the Match: Sam Lobo and Seb Baines


Watch full highlights from this match by clicking here







Swimming | Bethany Junior & Inter v Sevenoaks School (away)

The Bethany Junior and Inter swimming teams travelled to Sevenoaks School on Monday for their first gala of the year.


With twenty swimmers making up the teams, including several debutants, all travelled with excitement and enthusiasm to put their recent training efforts into race competition.


All swimmers performed very well against strong opposition, and it was commented on how much improvement the whole squad had made with their competitive swimming by the opposition coaches. All swimmers raced very well and pushed the Sevenoaks competitors for first placed position in several races.


Special mentions to Grace Holmes for outstanding first place positions in the individual medley and breaststroke races while Beatrice Kay achieved an excellent second position in the butterfly race.


Harry Sweeting achieved an outstanding first position in the butterfly and backstroke races while Jack Le Vine and Hamish Henderson swam very well in the front crawl and backstroke races.


The squad continue to train hard and look for to hosting Claremont and Dulwich before Christmas and then returning to Sevenoaks School in the New Year for galas against Sevenoaks, Lingfield College and St Olaves, before hosting Sutton Valance School.


PICTURED BELOW: The swim squad training hard in the Bethany indoor pool


Latest Bethany Blog


This week’s Bethany blog has been written by Mrs Shapland, who is the Head of English and Media Studies at Bethany School. She writes about the additional skills learnt from completing homework and not just the homework task itself.

The Value of Homework: Is it worth the fight? 

Whilst I write this for you all, it is particularly the Year 7 parents I think of. As many of you know, I too am a Year 7 parent. The transition to senior school has been utterly exhausting in our house, not least because of the change in homework patterns and trying to balance this with all of the exciting opportunities that are on offer in terms of extra curricular clubs: whole school production rehearsals and line learning are far more exciting than science recall quizzes, history essays, reading comprehension or spelling practice, apparently! To say there have been moments of dispute about priorities and effort is a bit of an understatement. 


Add in the fact that my own enthusiasm for homework is somewhat lacking (probably killed off by lockdown learning), forgive me for confessing that I can often be found shouting, “THIS IS POINTLESS,” into the void. 


So why bother? Why bother setting it, why bother doing it, why bother supporting our children with it? Especially, if all it appears to do is take away time from more pleasurable and equally valuable activities? 


The answer to this is somewhat complex.  


Whist we always aim to set tasks with a real value for learning at Bethany, actually the soft skills being learned with homework far outweigh the benefits of the tasks themselves. 


In the English and Media Department we have chosen to dedicate one of the two timetabled Key Stage 3 reading homework tasks over to spelling, from this week. We are using a programme many pupils are familiar with from their previous schools called EdShed. The gamification of the learning means the pupils are keen to give more challenging spellings a go and can work completely independently. So whilst, we obviously value pupils spelling and seek to help them improve, actually the value gained from challenging themselves and controlling their own learning is probably far higher than being able to recall the number of fs in professional – especially in the digital age of autocorrect and spell check.  


And what of the reading prep on the timetable? I have espoused before on the value of reading for pleasure. However I also know, as a parent, asking if a reading homework has been completed usually takes the pleasure out of the process. It mystifies me how one evening I end up with a protracted negotiation about “lights out and please stop reading now” and the very next night reading the very same book for just 10 minutes because it has been set as homework is an absolute abomination. One the one hand, parent me probably needs to stress less: so long as reading is happening I can sign it off as done. On the other, particularly when there is a lull in reading activity, I resort to the advice I give parents as a teacher: read together. Actually, there is so much more value to be had from reading together than reading alone, particularly for struggling readers. The discussions around characters values, whether the text is interesting and enjoyable all add to both the pleasure of reading and the development of communication, not just about the text but about the wider world.  


And finally to my own anathema: the written homework. Oh the fights I go through at home. Oh the pile of marking I procrastinate over starting at work. And then I remember my why. 


One day, in the very near future our young people in Key Stage 3 become young people in Key Stage 4 with exams to pass. 20 minute tasks migrate to 40-50 minute tasks because learning really does need consolidating so that exam taking is successful. Then, of course, our young people in Key Stage 4 become young adults in Key Stage 5. Key Stage 5 contains much more complex material to get to grips with and pupils have much more time on their hands to self manage. Homework becomes not just about passing exams but about learning to become self sufficient, successful adults running homes and enjoying fulfilling careers. A 20 minute reading comprehension might not seem that important but when a young person has learned to self start that task, complete it independently, seek guidance on corrections and been prepared to make changes and develop their ideas, they have learned far more than whatever was in the text they read: they have learned skills that will one day make them self-starting, independent adults that know how to be the very best version of themselves.  


Do I hate homework? Yes.


Do I hate fighting to get it completed (as a teacher and a parent!)? Yes.


Is it worth the fight, the detentions, and the marking? Indisputably, yes.  


Every tasks intrinsic value goes way beyond the task set.


Mrs Shapland

Head of English and Media Studies