Celebrating Badley and his values

Mr Badley or the Chief, as he was often known, was such a strong presence in the school that it must have seemed unnecessary to commemorate him with anything like the Badley Celebration Weekend, as we will shortly. Arriving here 12 years ago, it struck me as curious that there was no specific occasion in the year when the school’s founder and the values he stood for were celebrated in ways that reminded us all of the school’s founding ideals. Indeed there was nothing that carried his name explicitly. The Whole School Effort was then about a decade old and naturally became the central, communal event at the heart of the weekend. We placed the weekend close to the start of the school year, rather than in the summer term, because we wanted students new to the school to be experience it early on. Since the first Badley Weekend 8 years ago, the event has evolved –  very much in the Badleyan spirit of regularly re-fashioning things. As well as the communal efforts (which have led to things as diverse as the landscaping around the Orchard Building and a much improved path to Petersfield) we have had in recent years the 6.2 Legacy Project, without which we would not have the re-modelled Cecily’s Garden or the Sotherington Outdoor Theatre. This year  the 6.2s are landscaping the area around the Music School and building a pergola. Over recent years outreach and performance have also been strong features. It was good to see that this year’s celebrations will conclude with a community created performance in the form of a ceilidh – outdoors, in keeping with the theme of the Natural World, on Steephurst Lawn. As you would expect, as well as there being a strong communal element to the weekend there is plenty of choice of activities when it comes to choosing the one you sign up for. At the annual Badley Jaw at Dunhurst on Friday I will use this excerpt from Badley’s Jaw of July 1914: it says it all.

Another thing that I hope Bedales has grown to mean is the habit of service; of work done, I mean, not only for the pleasure of the doing (though that is a great thing), nor for any personal gain, but for the school’s good, to raise rather than in any way to lower its standards, and to leave it, if in any way we may, better than we found it; for those who have had this feeling at school, and worked for it in this spirit, will carry it with them, and find, wherever their lives are laid, many opportunities in service of their fellows.

J H Badley

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.