Reflections on parent/teacher afternoons

Parent/teacher afternoons should be encouraging occasions: for parents, teachers and students. Even if a student is struggling to make progress or being plain idle, there should be a sense that the problem is being gripped and a constructive way forward agreed. Thinking back to my many afternoons as a proper teacher when I had 20 or so parents to see, I always remember coming away with a much better understanding of the students I was teaching – and in particular the pressures on them. Appreciation, which doesn’t always flow naturally from the teenager, sometimes comes more readily via the parental proxy. In the cycle of Bedales parent/teacher afternoons, one of the most rewarding and illuminating contrasts is the seasonal one just past: between the Block 3 parents in early September, understandably nervous at the start of their child’s Bedales voyage, and this point, well through the first term, when, Ullswater under their belts, friendships and a working rhythm established, the students have gathered momentum and traction; relationships with teachers are firming up and passions for subjects ignited. Talking to a good number of parents during the course of the afternoon, it is great to see and hear of so many Bedales careers being launched so fruitfully.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales School


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.