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.
The dogs and I meet the lambers by the Black Barn on these rainy early mornings: students, Peter and Rebecca herding/carrying lambs and ewes out to the field for the lambs’ first soggy gambol. Last year fecundity was thwarted, with the cold snap of February 2011 causing the Jacob’s ram to underperform. This year, there’s no problem on that score – 17 lambs so far – but persistent rain is making some of the ewes reluctant to give birth. Pondering on the role of the farm for a moment, it should be difficult for any student, however urbanised, to conclude their time at this school without some element of the farm and agricultural cycles impinging on them – the lambing, haymaking, Hector’s and Spartan’s travails. Good stuff, but as ever, there’s always more to do, especially with gardening. The activity in the large, warm polytunnel out at the back of Outdoor Work– where I saw outdoor workers tying up our homegrown sweetpeas earlier in the week – is a sign of things to come: making gardens and gardening more part of the school’s consciousness will be the next step.
By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools