Little people can love big ideas just as much as bigger folk

Being very young doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy picking up very big ideas and running with them; am reminded of this as I hear from parents about the appetite in our pre-prep school, Dunannie, for philosophy: Clare Jarmy, the Bedales head of philosophy, sometimes takes the Dunannie philosophy club and discussion covers all sorts of complex and interesting things and people with unusual names, such as Descartes. Little people can love big ideas just as much as bigger folk. My sober reflection (grudge?) at the end of my time in the equivalent of block 4 (year 10) was that I had learnt nothing during the course of a whole school year; whilst many thoughts you have aged just 14 are plain wrong, I am pretty convinced that I was right – and that I learnt virtually nothing for the whole of an academic year; so often these middle years of schooling are a big disappointment after the explosive growth of the 11-13 period. This is one of the quiet resolutions that has stayed with me and makes me particularly alert to providing as many opportunities as possible to allow younger students to be stretched and challenged by school. Great then to see 14 Bedales block 4s (joined here by students from three other schools) attending an excellent talk given by Dr Rowena Archer, lecturer in medieval history at Christchurch, Oxford, for those interested in going to Oxford to read arts subjects, and to hear her advice to them on what they need to do to realise their ambitions – a four letter word: READ. Great as well to see on Sunday evening the first run through of the block 3 & 4 play, Treasure Island, and to see the degree to which director Jay Green expects his cast to take responsiblity as a company for their emerging work; great to see both actors and the musicians rising to the high expectations. No hint of condescension at either event.

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. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.