The environment’s influence on character

Inspection, a dry but very important word for any school, is much on teachers’ minds here as we digest the visit of an experienced, shrewd and friendly inspector on Tuesday who came at my invitation to talk to teachers across the three schools about what they should expect from the new form of integrated inspection, which is designed to streamline the process of inspection by incorporating all the different elements of inspection into one, integrated four day process. The most cheering and less known element of these inspections, conducted by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) is the emphasis they put on the individual student’s experience – his/her work, activities, feelings (even). So, I find myself thinking about the influence of many students in the 24 hours running from Tuesday evening’s extraordinary performance in the Theatre by visiting jazz band BLINQ, through to the end of assembly on Wednesday and thinking about the influence of environment on how you turn out – character, Badley would have called it. Experiencing the unabashed vim, musical brilliance and versatility of BLINQ will make many students see music and performance differently; Wednesday’s assembly starts with Callum A’s fine playing of a piece of Mozart which is preceded by a lucid explanation from Nick Gleed about the impact of Mozart’s life on his work. The music is followed by a 6.2 presentation on Amnesty International and the history of the school’s longstanding involvement with Amnesty (good archive material from the early 1970s) – a good, insistent call to arms. And, of course, the experience of all those lessons, chats, activities is the meat in the middle. It is multiple, varied experiences like this recent 24 hour slice that leave such an imprint.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music school. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.