At Bewdley, we believe that the purpose of education is to create not just a readiness, but an eagerness to thrive in the adult world. Whilst grades are important, it is skills learnt through tireless effort, willingness to learn and serving and leading others with humility, which will carry our students into their adult life.

Head’s Welcome & Blogs


Our focus is on four key areas:

Scholarship – building curiosity, confidence and independent learning habits

Through challenging and supportive teaching, our students are stimulated and enthused to want to learn for the joy of new knowledge and skills. Though they see the utility of what they learn, they also see deeper rewards and develop a hunger for lifelong learning.

Character – developing skills and maturing personality to have a positive influence on the world

Individual growth is fundamental to education, its nature being shaped by the values of the school. Ready for life’s challenges with compassion and consideration for others, our students develop courage, resilience and humility through strong and lasting friendships.

Opportunity – ensuring a diverse range of opportunities, to speak to every child’s passions

Our well-rounded curriculum is elevated on a broad and rich platform of opportunity, through extensive partnership programmes and clubs. Overseas visits expand our students’ horizons whilst university projects and outdoor expeditions stretch and challenge their thinking.

Partnership – working as a team with our community, building social skilled young people

Community action takes our students into the heart of Bewdley, enriched and supported by local business and commerce. Our students are internationally aware and take opportunities to work with students from across the globe.

Dave Hadley-Pryce read Theoretical Physics at the University of Kent, completing a PGCE at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Worcester. He has held several leadership roles in Mid Wales and the West Midlands, becoming Head of Sixth Form in Llanidloes in 2001. In 2006 he returned to the West Midlands first as Deputy then as Head Teacher in 2008, in a series of challenging schools. He arrived as Head Teacher at Bewdley in January 2017.

He served in the Combined Cadet Force as Head Teacher of two schools, holding the rank of Squadron Leader from 2009 to 2016. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts since 2013. His wife, Kerry, is a writer and they have five children.


View my latest Head Teacher Blogs below:

  • March 2019 Blog 

    As we approach the end of a very long term, I write to update you on developments in school. Some of you are aware that schools have monies each year termed ‘Devolved Capital’ which can only be spent on capital costs such as the building, and cannot be spent on revenue costs such as staff salaries. This is usually of the order of £20,000 per year, which for a school of our size is not a huge sum.

    One of the projects we carried out at February half-term was to refurbish a disused bike store to make it weather proof for lockers. The site team worked tirelessly on this and the space that was cleared was used to create a conference room which we have been much in need of. This now means that all of the meetings to support students with specific needs or safeguarding concerns can now be hosted in school, which keeps our Heads of Year and Safeguarding team, including senior leaders, onsite and much more available for students, rather than having to attend lengthy meetings elsewhere with additional travel time wasted. We now also have a facility for staff training, external bookings and meetings for students – Debate Mate was held in there last week and the Youth Forum will also use it as a meeting space.
    Alongside this we have re-designated our toilets nearest to reception as for staff and visitors with toilets immediately above them for students. The existing arrangement was that the Disabled Toilet was also the staff toilet, as was the toilet upstairs. As we are the designated school for students who need an accessible site, including wheelchair users, this meant that in E block students who needed these facilities were having to share them with staff. From a safeguarding perspective, let alone the logistics, this was far from ideal. In addition to this whilst we were more than meeting our requirements for toilet facilities for students we were not doing so for staff and visitors. Alongside this change we are also reviewing all student toilet provision, which I will update you with on a future blog.

    We have identified a pressing need to invest and improve our Sixth Form provision as such I have appointed Mrs McDougall as Deputy Head Teacher to lead on this project over the next 3 years. This role includes relaunching the sixth form and a complete overhaul of “Bewdley Sixth Form” keeping the great parts and building strength where needed.

    Energy and Enthusiasm will only take us so far so to compliment this and make the sixth form the natural next step for our students and indeed for external applicants we need to make considerable capital investment in the buildings and facilities. To achieve this I have released from the budget a considerable sum of money (£50,000). I am able to do this as you may recall that the Chancellor in the last budget announced some ‘little extras’ money for schools which has been identified as ‘Devolved Capital’ and so can only be spent on the building.

    In addition to this we have secured further reinvestment from our catering supplier of £20,000 for the redevelopment of the sixth form Cafeteria. This level of investment allows us to complete a complete review and redesign of the sixth form facilities. As a fully consultative process students are already firmly involved in redesigning the Sixth Form Cafeteria, and these developments will be reported in full in one of my summer blogs.

    As one of many strands to this development, I will be launching a new society in school in the summer term, called ‘The Discovery Society’:

    Discovery
    Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist.
    They are wrong: it is character.
    Albert Einstein

    Purpose
    The Discovery Society has the following charitable object:
    To advance the education of the students at The Bewdley School by providing and assisting in the provision of facilities [not required to be provided by the local education authority] for understanding of and engagement in scientific research at the school.

    Background
    The school offers successful A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Maths and Physics.
    A Level Computer Science will be offered next year and A Level Geology will be offered when there exists sufficient demand. All subjects save Geology are also offered at GCSE.
    These offer a potential linkage to a wide range of scientific domains, including but not exclusively: Earth Science (Geology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Plate Tectonics), Atmospheric Science (Weather, Climate, Climate Change, Planetary Atmospheres), Ocean Science (Biological, Chemical & Physical Oceanography), Life Science (Ecology, Taxonomy, Evolutionary Studies) and Astronomy (Stellar/Planetary Evolution, Solar System Dynamics, Gravitation and Tidal Effects). Underpinning all of the research taking place are skills themes of Mathematical Analysis (Mechanics, Statistics, Mathematical Modelling) and Computer Science (Data Systems, Modelling Systems, Information Management).

    Activities

    • A comprehensive programme of guest speakers to present their research in school.
    • Involve students in extended projects (EPQ) across a range of fields/domains/themes.
    • Over time, develop the school’s own research centre as a home for the society.

    If any parents or community members have an interest in this kind of research and would like to be involved, please do get in touch. It is my hope to set this up as a charitable organisation, though some of you may be aware that this can be more complicated than it appears on the surface. It will, if not a charity, at the very least, be a society for students hosted by the school with the purpose as explained above.

    There has been overwhelming support and feedback from parents over the past year as we implemented a number of ways for parents to remain in contact with the school through either our social media, the website or our parent app. Following feedback from parents about what they would like to see next in the app, we are excited to announce that in April our brand new school app will launch. We hope this app connects parents to the school more than ever before, parents will be able to see their child’s attendance, behaviour, and key information as well as receiving whole school news and key dates.

    I would like to thank parents for their almost overwhelming support of our drive to ensure that students are properly equipped for their lessons. As you will be aware, we had a similar drive to ensure uniform was being worn properly this time last year. The motivation behind both of these
    initiatives is simply to ensure that we don’t waste learning time on arguing about things which don’t help children learn. We absolutely can’t make this work without parental support, so I repeat my thanks to those of you whose unquestioning support has made these simple practicalities possible. In connection with these issues we are refreshing our uniform and PE kit in line with our new logo and name.

    We have been eagerly awaiting the launch of our new PE kit. Mrs Davies and Mrs Parsons have been working tirelessly to bring together a modern collection of functional yet stylish PE apparel. The new PE kit will be phased in and available to purchase from Easter 2019. There is no requirement for parents/carers of existing students to purchase the new PE kit unless you wish to do so and the need arises. It will be available to purchase from our suppliers and details of how to order the kit will be released in due course. The compulsory items of PE kit for new students will be:

    1. Training shirt [will be available in a boys and girls fitment]
    2. Shorts or Skorts for Girls
    3. Socks

    Optional items available to purchase are:
     Hooded sweatshirt
     Girls leggings
     Slim-fit tracksuit bottoms

    We have received some extremely positive feedback from students regarding the new kit: “the new patterns really look nice”, “I really like the new PE kit 10/10!”, “I really like the PE kit”, “The material is nice and so are the colours”, “I love the skorts”

    All existing uniform will be rebranded with the new Swan logo and will go on sale towards the end of the summer term (in time for September). The blue (summer) polo shirts embroidered with the new logo will be available shortly. Again, there is no requirement for parents/carers to purchase the new uniform unless the need arises. These changes are a phased replacement rather than a wholesale change on a specific date, as we are painfully aware that for many families, uniform costs can be prohibitive, and we do not wish for perfectly serviceable clothes to be replaced or for families to have to bear unnecessary costs.

    New PE kit compulsory & optional pieces below, prices and ordering information will announced in due course.

    To see our New PE Kit Click Here

    We wish you a restful Easter break in the hope of continued sunshine.

     

  • July 2018 Blog 

    Another academic year has flown by, and as we ready ourselves for the long summer holidays (and hopefully some more of the sunshine we have already seen) we will be saying farewell to some much loved colleagues. Dianne James retires from teaching this summer having spent the last eleven years at this wonderful school. Bewdley was also where she spent her first year as a teacher, so her career as a teacher has come full circle in the intervening years.

    Dianne has been an inspirational Geography teacher and an incredible Head of Year. Every child in her year group knows that they will not only be held to the highest standard of behaviour and academic effort, but also that they will receive a level of personal care and support way beyond what they expect, never has ‘in loco parentis’ been taken so literaly. Dianne is a whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm for both Geography and for the learning and happiness of all of her charges. She will be greatly missed and we wish her a long and happy retirement.

    We also have 3 Teaching Assistants leaving us at the end of term.  Christine Horne is leaving us to go to Worcester University for a 3 Year course studying ‘Occupational Therapy’. Megan Ince is leaving us to take up promotion at an alternative school. The school would like to thank her for her commitment to and support of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and providing dance lessons for our students. Venessa Stephens is leaving to start up a business with a friend, teaching English. We would like to thank all of these colleagues for their work and dedication in supporting young people in the classroom.

    I would like to thank all students and parents who supported our open week from 9th to 11th July. Our Arts Showcase on Monday showed a stunning range and quality of Art and Technology coursework, our year 9 Food and Nutrition students providing a truly professional catering service of canapés and desserts. Sports Day on Tuesday saw some fantastic competition, all conducted in the best of sporting traditions. On Wednesday our Science Day, ‘DNA, What makes me, me?’ saw year 5 students extract their own DNA, with an amazing rush hour recital on Thursday, performed at All Saints Church by our incredibly talented Music students.

    A final note on our new House System. Following consultation with Bewdley Civic Society we are very pleased to announce our new House System, which was launched on Sports Day. We have 6 tutor groups in each year group in the school, so have elected to have 3 Houses:

    BALDWIN HOUSE – EQUALITY – THE WORLD’S FIRST GREAT DEMOCRACY, AND THE FOUNDER OF DEMOCRACY IN THE WEST

    Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister three times and also championed the votes for women campaign.

    House Colours: Black and Gold (or Yellow)

    RIBBESFORD HOUSE – HERITAGE – ONLY BY UNDERSTANDING OUR PAST CAN WE SHAPE OUR FUTURE

    The estate dates from the 11th century and has an incredible history, including connections with Oliver Cromwell, Rudyard Kipling, Edward Burne-Jones and Charles de Gaulle.

    House Colours: Red and Blue

    SEVERN HOUSE – STRIVING – EFFORT RATHER THAN RECOGNITION, IS THE KEY TO GETTING WHERE YOU WANT TO GO

    The river is the longest in England. Its unstoppable force takes it from the Welsh mountains to the Atlantic Ocean at Bristol and it has historically been a route for trade and central to the growth of Bewdley as a market town over the last 500 years.

    House Colours: Green and Silver (or White)

    The honours on sports day went to:

    1. Ribbesford House with 1167 Points
    2. Baldwin House with 1097 Points
    3. Severn House with 961 Points

    So congratulations to Ribbesford House for being the first sports day winners, and to the other two Houses for the fantastic opposition they presented.

    Have a wonderful summer break.

  • September 2018 Blog 

    As September closes and the nights draw in, our new school year is well underway. We have welcomed 180 new year 7 students to the school and year 5 and 6 students have attended our Open Evening, with many visiting during the school day. We welcome all year 10 and 11 students to join us for our post-16 Open Evening on Wednesday 7th November.

    One of the most pressing issues I have communicated with you about is that of school funding. This is not a political issue, but a statement of fact, that during the last 8 years school budgets have effectively reduced by 8% (https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/13143). Whilst assurances have been given that the ‘per pupil’ amount of funding has remained the same, the reality is that inflation has caused costs to rise and whilst there has been a freeze on Public Sector Pay for many years, there have been substantial increases in employer contributions to Pensions and National Insurance which have not been centrally funded. They therefore have to come out of the money provided to educate the children, hence the effective 8% cut.

    What does an 8% cut really mean? A typical Worcestershire secondary school with around 1,000 students will receive an annual budget of around £5,000,000. Take away 8% and that’s a reduction of £400,000, which would , for example, employ 8 or 9 full-time teachers. I took part in a march on Friday with between 1,500 and 2,000 other Head Teachers, from Parliament Square to Downing Street. We presented a letter to the Chancellor highlighting our concerns and requesting an urgent review of school funding in the next budget, with a view to restoring funding levels. To offer some context, in my eleventh year of Headship I have never done this before. Given that the average secondary school has around 1,000 students, between us we represented the interests of between 1,500,000 and 2,000,000 students. We do not take such action lightly.

    I have received criticism from some quarters that I was ‘on a jolly’ and should have been in school. May I give you my assurance that I was able to work from my laptop on the train in both directions, and met colleague Head Teachers who I was able to discuss a number of school to school collaboration matters with whilst on the march. Aside from the core purpose of fighting for our school budgets, it was not a wasted day. We were and are a relentlessly reasonable group of people who simply want the education of the children in our care to be properly funded. I was there with the full support of my Chair of Governors and it was most definitely a working day.

    The final point I make is about Sixth Form funding. When I started my first role as a school leader in 2001, it was to manage a Sixth Form at a time when lower school students attracted around £3,500 to £4,000 each per year and Sixth Formers around £6,000 to £6,500. Whilst lower school students now attract £4,500 to £5,000 a Sixth Former attracts a flat rate of £4,000. These same Sixth Formers then pay £9,000 per year for their tuition fees when they go to University. How can the cost of educating a Sixth Former be less than a lower school student, then suddenly more than double when they go to University? This surely cannot represent the true cost of educating our young people? The majority of Sixth Forms are heavily subsidised by their lower school, again an unfair burden.

    Onto other matters, our evolution as ‘The Bewdley School’ with our associated ‘Bewdley Sixth Form’ continues. I hope that you are as delighted with our new website as we are, which represents, along with Our Schools App, a transformation in our capacity to communicate with our community. I would also like to thank Worcestershire County Council for funding in full the new fencing and gates around the school, which make the whole site much more safe and secure for our students.

    I was honoured to be invited to the unveiling of the Statue of Stanley Baldwin on 27th September, a great event for the town of Bewdley. I was delighted to see our Young Mayor, Star Powell, and Deputy, Erin Boddice amidst the group of Mayors welcoming the Duke of Gloucester and other dignitaries to the town. I must also take this opportunity to thank the current (and fourth) Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, who has kindly consented to our newly formed Baldwin House using his family shield as its Coat of Arms.

    Thank you for your continued support of this great school, its exceptional support and pastoral care and wonderful teachers, who it is my privilege to work with.

  • November 2018 Blog 

    This month as the holidays draw closer, I would like to say a little about School Improvement. I was heartened to see this summer a change of emphasis in the school inspection framework on its way, with a greater emphasis on ‘Personal Development’. As part of our own school improvement planning process we are part of a Fellowship programme through our Schools of Tomorrow (SoTo); https://schoolsoftomorrow.org/ membership. I have mentioned the programme before with its emphasis on highest levels of achievement, well-being, family and community engagement and preparation for the future. I would like to explain a little of what this means in practice.

    We are partnered with the Wren School in Reading; http://www.wrenschool.org/ , which is a new school serving central Reading. It has a very different context to Bewdley and a key part of the programme is for schools to be partnered in a way that offers a completely different perspective. Each school has a core group consisting of the Head Teacher, a Lead Teacher, a Lead Student, a Lead Parent, a Lead Governor and a Lead Community Member. We have carried out visits to each other’s schools and started to talk about a focus project which each school will help the other to develop. Whilst Wren school have selected well-being as their focus, our project will focus on creating a whole school Family Support Strategy.

    Family support can encompass a very wide range of possibilities, so we shall be working with our community and our partners to offer as comprehensive a range of support strategies as we can. We are already working closely with the William Mills Foundation; https://thewilliammillsfoundation.org/, a local charity which I will tell you more about in future blogs. The aim here is to provide targeted support for young people who are disengaged from education, in order that they can find positive meaning in their schooling and build fulfilling and productive lives. If you have any ideas which you feel might help us to provide appropriate and meaningful support for our families please do tell us.

    Another aspect of our work with SoTo is the dimension of education beyond the school gates. It is impossible to understate the importance of this and a key part of our development work with SoTo has been our partnership with a school in China, No.4 Qingdao Middle School, which you may have read about in Mr Chauhan’s press release following his visit at half-term. The plan is for an exchange to be set up next academic year with students from each school visiting the other for a cultural and educational exchange visit, enriching deeply the lives of both groups.

    I must also congratulate Mrs Newbold who is forging ahead with our other international partnerships. Our Interact Club supported by Bewdley Rotary are doing a fantastic job in their Planting for Hope: Uganda project, with the initial fundraising target of £1,000 almost achieved already after only a few weeks. The project has inspired one of other partner schools in Palestine to fund raise for a desert school which has no building and where the children sit on tyres to learn. It is truly inspiring to see our young people spread out these positive messages of hope across the world as ripples on a pond.

    I have also been incredibly impressed by the extent and quality of our Duke of Edinburgh offer at the school, and am taking the plunge this weekend with Lowland Leader training so that I can offer more practical support. Whilst it is wonderful that we have such a calm and reflective school in which students grow, develop and learn, it is these additional dimensions that help to bring the educational experience to life, and I would like to thank all of our fantastic staff who give above and beyond to make these wider life experiences possible.

    Thank you for your continued support for the school, and please do share with us any simple, practical ideas you have relating to how we can best support you and your children.

  • December 2018 Blog 

    With only a day until the end of term, the pace of life in school seems as hectic as ever. As staff and students turn from studies and exams to Christmas preparations, it is heartening to see the focus many of our students have on thinking of those less fortunate. In addition to our ‘Planting for Hope: Uganda’ project which you will have heard about through our social media, the school is also very active in collecting for our local food bank. This living embodiment of our values of being considerate, caring and compassionate are central to our ethos as a school.

    It has also been a very busy term for visitors, with many students joining the school and their parents commenting on the politeness of our students, their prepared to learn attitude and punctuality to lessons as they tour the school. This is reflected in the fact that our years 7, 10 and 11 are full with waiting lists, and only a handful of places in year 8 and 9. The simplicity of our expectations in wanting our students to be Ready, Respectful and Safe offers a very clear structure on which to base our day to day values. On our many trips and visits we have had consistently positive feedback, and I would like to congratulate our students, the overwhelming majority of whom are excellent ambassadors for the school and the town.

    We have very recently finalised the design for the Coat of Arms of Severn House following a year 8 design challenge, which will be based loosely on the Bronze Age heritage of the Bewdley area. This will join our existing shields shown below. I would like to sincerely thank Lord Baldwin of Bewdley for consenting for us to use the Baldwin Coat of Arms to represent Baldwin House. We shall be using the Herbert Family ‘3 argent Lions rampant’ on a red and blue background to represent Ribbesford House. We also congratulate Scarlett Holloway and Keira Beaumont, whose excellent designs were the basis for the Severn House Coat of Arms you see below:

    BaldwinRibbesfordSevern

    The outstanding artwork of both Hunter De Palo and Ethan Hardwick was also highly commended by the judges.

    As I reach the end of my second year as Head Teacher at the school, I would like to thank all of the town’s people for their unstinting support. I am immensely grateful to Star Powell, our Young Mayor, and Erin Boddice, her Deputy, for their amazing representation of the school and town this year. I thank all of our partner organisations, who are too many to name individually, for the fantastic support we continue to receive in enriching and bringing to life our curriculum. Last but by no means least, I thank our incredible team of teaching and support staff, who make this not only the warm and nurturing environment that it has always been, but also a vibrant hub for learning and the beating heart of the town.

    I wish you all the brightest and happiest of Christmases and a peaceful New Year

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