Join the Bellevue New Year Challenge!


Join the Bellevue New Year Challenge!


The first week of 2021’s spring term has presented unprecedented challenges for schools in the UK. But, in keeping their spirits up, Bellevue staff have been setting their own personal New Year Challenges – from increasing their step count, to learning to play new musical instruments.

Group Education Director Steve Wade will be learning to play the piano, with support from his 13-year-old daughter, Clara.

‘I’ve chosen to make a start on this because I’m the only person in my household of five who doesn’t know how to read music, or play a musical instrument!’ says Steve. ‘Clara will certainly tell me if I’m getting better or not. Hopefully I’ll be able to play some pieces that are vaguely recognisable by the end of it, and indeed enjoy it.

‘It’s something quite different for me – I’ve never played a musical instrument before – and a good thing to get going with during lockdown.’

Bellevue’s Head of Digital Development, Adam Atkinson, and Group Marketing Officer (Creative), Charlotte Burton, have both opted to challenge themselves to walk 10,000 steps a day.

‘During the last lockdown, I was sitting at my computer a lot, and I was lucky if I did 2,000 steps a day,’ Adam comments. ‘Some of the benefits that I’ve noticed [from walking 10,000 steps a day] is that when I get back from my walks, I’m in a much better mood, and I’ve also managed to solve some of the problems that I’ve been working on during the morning.’

Jessica Gaskell, Year Four teacher at Brabyns Preparatory School, has also set herself an exercise-based challenge.

‘I have set myself the challenge of completing ten runs and ten bike rides during January. In the face of lockdown, I have also decided to make sure I walk for 20 minutes during my lunchtime.

‘As teachers we are always on our feet, moving around the classroom. However now we are teaching online, we are less likely to be as active as we previously were. Luckily, we as teachers are versatile and adaptable, and so like our shift to virtual teaching, I have had to find new ways to ensure I stay still active during my working day.

‘My long-term goal is to run a half-marathon once is it safe to do so.’

Head of Seniors at The Oratory Preparatory School, Nigel Todd, will be hoping to reignite his enjoyment of running by taking part in the ‘Couch to 5k’ challenge. He will be comparing his attempt this year to last year’s attempt, having since completed spinal surgery.

Head of The Hampshire School, Chelsea, Dr Pamela Edmonds, will be taking up the saxophone as a new saxophone tutor joins the school later in the term.

Meanwhile, Eleanor Mayes, who teaches French at Wandsworth Preparatory School, aims to train her new puppy, Lupa.

‘Over the next few weeks, I’m planning on covering all the basics; sit, lie down, heel… but for now I’ll be happy if we can go a few hours without a puddle on the floor!’ she says. ‘Thinking long term, although Best in Show at Crufts might be a little ambitious, I’d love to take Lupa to a terrier fun day and show off some of her new skills.’

Finally, Louise Knowles, Year Six teacher at Forest Preparatory School, has set the challenge to her school to keep safe, and to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible.

‘We’ve worked as a team, we remain strong, we are resolute we will see it through to the end, and we will do our best, as we always have done,’ Mrs Knowles says. ‘Hope is there for the future – for our future.’

Hear about more New Year Challenges from across the Bellevue group in our video below.