Outgoing BGS Headmistress Celebrated with Portrait
A portrait of outgoing Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) Headmistress, Miss Jo MacKenzie, was unveiled at the school last week.
24th August 2020 — A portrait of outgoing Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) Headmistress, Miss Jo MacKenzie, was unveiled at the school last week.
Miss MacKenzie has spent ten years building an outstanding school that encapsulates her vision of education; a community focused on developing young women who have the intellect, skills and motivation to make a real difference to the world around them.
The oil painting was created by talented artist and BGS alumna, Mihaila Kuveljic, who recently graduated with a Fine Art degree from Oxford Brookes University.
Inspired by photography, Mihaila’s use of rich colours and meticulous attention to detail helps explore themes such as beauty in creating a more enticing aesthetic.
Mihaila who left BGS in 2016 reflected: “When considering the composition of the painting, I firstly needed to see what ideas and concepts Miss MacKenzie wished to be portrayed within the piece. Her love of people, the school and gardening were all aspects which stood out to me the most.
“When considering the background of the painting, I decided to create a wash of greens with a slight blue tint to reflect on Miss MacKenzie's love of scents within a garden. The green contrasted nicely against the baby pink of her jacket, as well as reflecting the school colours.
“When I first walked into Miss MacKenzie's office, I noticed the delicate arrangement of baby's breathe on her desk. I decided that these were the perfect flowers to add to the composition, as it reflected her love of understated beauty within a garden.”
Miss MacKenzie said: “Lots of staff have seen the portrait and have said that Mihaila has captured my spirit in the eyes, and that I think is the hardest thing to do. The fact that Mihaila has done it so well is a credit to her incredible talent. It is so important to me that an alumna painted this portrait. The creative arts is such an important part of this school, and it’s really important for me that students see what happens as you pursue them as a career. I thank Mihaila from the bottom of my heart and am so proud she is an Old Girl of this school.”
The piece of art will join the collection of portraits of other former Headmistresses from the heritage schools in the Senior School corridor.
Bedford Girls’ School Achieve Excellence in all areas
The Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) has awarded Bedford Girls’ School Excellence in all areas, following their three-day inspection of the school in January 2020.
12th February 2020 — The Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) has awarded Bedford Girls’ School Excellence in all areas, following their three-day inspection of the school in January 2020.
A team of six Inspectors focused on two key areas of outcomes and concluded that both the Academic and other Achievements, and Personal Development of the students were excellent. Under the ISI framework this is the highest outcome that a school can achieve.
Miss Jo MacKenzie, Headmistress of Bedford Girls’ School said: “We are thrilled with the ISI findings. Our excellence stems from delivering a clear educational vision through our partnership with staff, students, parents and the wider community, as we all work together to ensure that we are providing an exceptional forward thinking education for our students. I am extremely proud of our staff and students and this report provides a great platform from which the school will continue to grow.”
The stand out headlines are that “Pupils develop excellent skills for learning for an early age” and that they make “rapid progress in developing knowledge, skills and understanding as a result of the high expectations and effectively prepared teaching”.
Looking beyond just academic achievements it highlights that the “Pupils excel in a wider variety of sporting, creative and academic extra-curricular activities.” Whilst also commenting that “the pupils excellent moral and social development is reflected in a community which is built on kindness and mutual respect.” The report also highlighted that “pupils develop excellent life skills throughout every stage of the school.”
In line with the school’s focus on integrating technology into education the report noted that “Pupils competence in using ICT to support their learning is outstanding.”
The inspection also included the compulsory compliancy inspection, where a school can only be awarded met or not met. Bedford Girls’ School achieved met for this element of the Inspection.
Bedford Girls’ School staff performing at Bedfordshire Festival
This year, it will not only be talented students taking centre stage at The Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech & Drama (7 - 14 March), but also Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) staff, who will be playing a Grade 1 piece on an instrument they haven’t played before in the Bedfordshire Festival Class 150 class on Wednesday 12 March.
11th February 2020 — This year, it will not only be talented students taking centre stage at The Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech & Drama (7 - 14 March), but also Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) staff, who will be playing a Grade 1 piece on an instrument they haven’t played before in the Bedfordshire Festival Class 150 class on Wednesday 12 March.
By stepping far outside of their comfort zones, the staff performers are demonstrating to our students the importance of life-long learning and highlighting a willingness to take on new challenges. Instruments will include bassoon, flute, piano, violin clarinet, cello, French horn, tenor saxophone and oboe.
The team are also raising funds Tibbs Dementia Foundation (TDF), a Bedford based charity who offer a wide range of activities, both for people with all stages of dementia and for those who support them. One of these groups is called Music for Memory, where people with dementia and their carers can sing, dance and laugh, with the added benefit of music aiding memory and communication.
The TDF was selected due to the support it has given BGS Visiting Music Teacher, Mrs Banning, who sadly lost her husband to early onset dementia in 2012. Mrs Banning said: “During this incredibly difficult time, Music for Memory was an invaluable source of support for us. Like most people with dementia, even as he began to lose the ability to communicate in other ways, Raymond could still communicate through music because the part of the brain, which stores our musical memories and processes music is often unaffected by dementia.”
Lorraine Banning, Visiting Music Teacher – Cello, Emma Mackenzie, Marketing and Development Officer – Piano, Ben Atkins, Music Teacher – flute, Kit Davies, Computer Science Teacher – Clarinet and Julia McKinnell, Music Teacher – Tenor Sax.
Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) cycling sensation, Sophie Lewis (Upper Sixth) continues to build her reputation as one of Great Britain’s top young riders.
30th January 2020 — Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) cycling sensation, Sophie Lewis (Upper Sixth) continues to build her reputation as one of Great Britain’s top young riders.
Representing the Great Britain Cycling Team, Sophie claimed two gold medals at The Next Generation (17th – 19th January 2020) international competition in Apeldoorn, Netherlands and a bronze medal at the Senior National Track Championships (25th – 27th January) in Manchester. These are hugely impressive achievements as Sophie competed against the very best riders across the globe.
The 17 year old, who recently joined the Bedford based team, Flamme Rouge, reflected on her recent success: “The Next Generation event was really enjoyable with quite a relaxed atmosphere to kick start the year’s racing with the new riders in the team.”
“Being the competitive athlete I am, I didn’t do as well as I would have liked after coming down with an illness during the event. However, I still came away with a win in the Team Pursuit and Madison events and claimed top three in all of the other bunch races.
“Last Sunday, I rode one of my best Points Races at the Senior National Track Championships taking the bronze medal against a tough field. After leading for most of the race, I was a bit disappointed to lose the top spot in the final sprint. My team also got the second fastest time in the team pursuit, but we couldn’t take part in the gold/silver ride off as we were a composite team, so unfortunately we could not contest for a medal.”
Sophie is ranked number one by the UCI in the Junior Madison event and currently represents the Great British Cycling Team Junior Academy Programme. The programme is focused on developing the country’s best junior riders, ensuring that they are ready for life as full-time athletes.
Mrs Verity Mason-Mcleod, Director of Sport at BGS, said: “Striking a balance between studying, training and performing to a high level is no easy feat. However, Sophie has the correct mind-set to meet these demands, with a carefully planned training program and support structure at BGS. The whole school are immensely proud of everything Sophie has achieved and she certainly has a very exciting future ahead of her.”
The Chairman and Board of Governors of Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) are delighted to announce the appointment of Mrs Gemma Gibson as Headmistress from September 2020, when she will succeed Miss Jo MacKenzie.
7th January 2020 — The Chairman and Board of Governors of Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) are delighted to announce the appointment of Mrs Gemma Gibson as Headmistress from September 2020, when she will succeed Miss Jo MacKenzie.
Mrs Gibson has a wealth of experience in school leadership gained during an international teaching career. She will join Bedford Girls’ School from Harrow Hong Kong where she is currently Deputy Head (Academic). Prior to this, she served as Assistant Head (Teaching and Learning), at North London Collegiate School in South Korea. She was also on the Senior Leadership Teams at both Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School and St Ignatius College, London. Mrs Gibson initially qualified as a solicitor and practised for three years before moving into teaching.
Mrs Tina Beddoes, Chair of Governors at Bedford Girls’ School, said: “We are extremely pleased that Mrs Gibson will join BGS, she is clearly an advocate for a future-inspired education, and shares our ethos of an education focused on the development of young women who will go out and make a difference to the world around them. Jo MacKenzie has dedicated ten years to creating an exceptional school and Mrs Gibson has the experience and passion to continue building upon our success, ensuring an exceptionally bright future for BGS.”
Mrs Gibson added: “I am honoured and excited to be given the opportunity to lead Bedford Girls’ School. I share BGS’ vision for a 21st century education, and have been immensely impressed by the sense of enthusiasm, purpose and progressive spirit, which I witnessed throughout the school during the recruitment process.”
Miss Jo Mackenzie leaves BGS after 10 year as Headmistress to pursue other interests.
Bedford Girls’ School sisters to star at World Irish Dance Championships
Two sisters at Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) have a spring in their step after qualifying for the World Irish Dance Championships 2020, which takes place in Dublin (4th - 12th April 2020).
3rd December 2019 — Two sisters at Bedford Girls’ School (BGS) have a spring in their step after qualifying for the World Irish Dance Championships 2020, which takes place in Dublin (4th - 12th April 2020).
Ava, 10 and Áine Cunningham, 9, who dance for the Herlihy Burgoine School of Irish Dance in Milton Keynes, qualified for the prestigious finals with a winning Ceili team (Under 10) performance at the recent Southern Region of England Finals.
Both girls started dancing when they were just four years old and have won a host of regional and national awards.
Áine said: “I really enjoy dancing and cannot wait for the World Championships.”
Ava added: “We were thrilled to win the Southern Region Finals and we are really looking forward to showing what we can do on the world stage.”
Mrs Carolyn Howe, Head of the Junior School, said: “BGS and the wider community are extremely proud of Ava and Áine’s success. Making it to a prestigious World Championships is the ultimate goal for every competitive dancer and it is even more special that these two sisters get to achieve it together.”
The event is the most elite level of competition for Irish dancers, and will see thousands of competitors descend upon Dublin from all around the world for a week's worth of solo and team competitions.