Last Friday we held the inaugural FBS ‘Eisteddfod’. An Eisteddfod is a Welsh festival of literature, music and performance that dates back to the 12th Century. Some cynics thought it was just my desperate attempt to infiltrate Welsh culture into London! However, even the biggest sceptics were won over by the end of the day.
Over the last few weeks, boys have been competing in off-stage competitions in every subject. These included an ‘Urban Landscapes’ project in Geography, creating a poster showing the key moments in the life of Moses in RE and explaining what makes a good composition in Music. The History competition was to make a movie about the Battle of Hastings while boys were asked to produce a display explaining how science and maths related to their favourite sport. Those receiving literacy support wrote book reviews. Certificates and House points were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, and points given for boys not quite making the podium, but deserving recognition.
On the day of the Eisteddfod itself, boys competed individually and in Houses in Music and Drama. The four houses also competed on stage in French, reciting Baudelaire’s poem ‘Le Chat’.
There were vocal soloists, singing groups, bands, rappers, piano soloists, bass, guitar and drum solos. Boys acted out revolting rhymes based on Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. There was also the inter-house choir competition.
There were some quite brilliant performers as well as funny bits and moments that warmed your heart. It was a real ‘feel good’ occasion. Staff enjoyed it and boys left the school on Friday buzzing. They were still talking about it on Monday morning.
The climax was the ‘chairing of the bard’. This was for the boy who had written the best essay in the Oliver Twist writing competition. We wanted to show the importance we attach to literacy, and the kudos of being able to read and write well.
The best aspect was the boys’ attitude. If a boy made a mistake, he didn’t fall apart, just started again. Boys in their house rallied around, encouraging before and after they had performed. The ‘can do’, ‘have a go’, ‘take a risk’ attitude was prevalent everywhere.
It was one of FBS’ high days and a tradition that will continue every year. I have no doubt history will record the best thing to come to FBS from Wales was the Eisteddfod!