This year’s competition attracted over 1,000 entries from aspiring young songwriters aged 8-18 across the world. The top three finalists of all categories will be announced on the 1st June and the winners will be announced on the 29th June.
The talented singer-songwriter who recently performed her song with other finalists at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill reflected: “The process of writing the song was thoroughly enjoyable and the concert was such a great experience to try something different. I loved performing in front of a live audience, and it has definitely been an experience in which my confidence has increased a lot!
“I started writing songs in around Year 5. A few of my friends and I created a mini choir/band, and we would write our own (very short) songs and perform them to our friends. It was only at the start of the second lockdown where I started writing proper songs, and using the garage band platform to create the music to bind it all together.”
“The song, Did I was written in lockdown after I wrote a poem about a bullying experience I had in a previous school. It was based on the feelings I felt about what had happened, and how it still affected me. Although that was the main base of what the song is about, I like to think it can be interpreted in different ways, according to how the listener feels when they hear the lyrics.
Bedford Girls’ School Music teacher, Mrs McKinnell said: “We are extremely proud of Isla for her fantastic achievement, being selected as a finalist in the prestigious Young Songwriter 2021 competition. This competition gives a wonderful opportunity for young people to express themselves through music, honing techniques in composition and vocal skills along the way. The finalists were described as standing out for their ‘creativity, invention and courage with lyrics’ and for illuminating the judges’ imaginations; this is a really high accolade from the likes of judges such as Tom Odell and Midge Ure. We look forward to watching a live performance of Isla’s song very soon.”
Bedford Girls’ School Upper Sixth student capped off a superb season by becoming a double gold medalist at the British Schools International Match at the Moorways Athletics Stadium, Derby on Saturday 25th September.
6th October 2021 — Bedford Girls’ School Lower Sixth student, Etienne Maughan, capped off a superb season by becoming a double gold medalist at the British Schools International Match at the Moorways Athletics Stadium, Derby on Saturday 25th September.
Following her impressive silver medal winning performance at the School Games at Loughborough University, the Bedford and County athlete won the U17 Girls 80m hurdles and 4x100m team relay. In a highly competitive hurdles final, Etienne ran a stunning race to finish more than four tenths of a second ahead of second place, in a time of 11.04 seconds - a time which ranks her 2nd in the UK this year, and 7th on the UK U17 all-time rankings.
Etienne reflected on her achievement: “I was extremely happy to end my season with my first ever win at an international competition. The Schools International competition provided me with another great experience that I can take into the under 20 age group.
“Going into the race, I was set on winning, especially after coming so close in the School Games; I was delighted I was able to put together my best hurdles race when it mattered most. I am grateful for the opportunities my hard work has provided me with this year and I aim to continue this into next season.”
Bedford Girls’ School PE teacher, Mrs Milton said: “We are super proud of this recent success for Etienne. Training for athletics is not easy and requires a great deal of perseverance. Races don’t always go the way you want, but on this occasion it did. Hard work, focus and dedication paid off. Many congratulations.”
Serena, a Bedford Girls’ pupil has been awarded the prestigious Junior Engineering 2021 prize for her Big Bang Competition project entitled DM2.Prevent. The app targets reversible risk factors for the disease and provides ways to reduce those risks.
28th June 2021 — A Bedford Girls’ Student (BGS) has been awarded the prestigious Junior Engineering 2021 prize for her Big Bang Competition project entitled ‘DM2.Prevent’.
Year 9 student, Serena Jacob, has created an app to prevent or potentially even treat Type 2 Diabetes.
The app targets reversible risk factors for the disease and provides ways to reduce those risks.
Inspired when a close family friend was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, Serena wanted to learn more about how it could be tackled.
She said: "I’m simply ecstatic to be chosen as Junior Engineer of the Year!
"I never thought that I could actually win this, especially as the calibre of entries was outstanding.
"I am really thrilled to know that all my hard work has finally paid off.
She continued: "I would love to thank all of those that have supported me with this project, especially the STEM Coordinator at BGS, Dr Swope, who has helped me throughout."
Serena has undertaken extensive research and received advice and support from former BGS parent, Mrs Charlotte Lucas, during the course of the year via video conferencing.
Mrs Lucas is a pharmacist and researcher with a specialty in Type 2 Diabetes prevention.
Dr Swope, Physics Teacher and STEM Coordinator said: "Serena is well deserving of this award.
"She has worked several hours each week since September putting together the pieces required for this app project.
"In the process, Serena has learned how to create and assemble app images as well as how to program and collect information from movement data with a microcontroller, and she has also furthered her programming skills in Python.
"Serena has also shown her resolve as a researcher and has developed a great working knowledge of Diabetes Mellitus 2."
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.