Congratulating excelling students

Put 40 Bedales teachers, each armed with data about their tutees’ academic performance, in a room and you have the basis for a Review meeting. Chaired by me or Dominic, the meeting shines a light on each student, however briefly. We spend most time on students whose work is faltering, least on those where things are going swimmingly, that it is simply a matter of deciding how they are to be congratulated. Crucial that in both cases there is action. In John Badley’s day it was a matter of being “seen” – a meeting with the Chief. A senior OB recounted to me how, when she had finally reached this pinnacle, Mr Badley simply commented “Good, just like your father.” (Incidentally, he was one of the school’s first students.) Now, those being congratulated are either seen, have a card or, if it is winterish, come to feast at mine and Moony’s house. The latter is a good innovation, suggested by the Student Teaching and Learning Group. We like it and they seem to as well. So, the arithmetic of the last (Block 5) Review goes like this: seen, without smile (by me or Alistair, Director of Teaching and Learning), 7;  congrats cards, 11; feasters, 31.  I am particularly looking forward to seeing some feasters who have previously been in the first category.

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.