The vision of Bedales’ founder, John Badley, was to create a school which would be profoundly different from the public schools of his day. From 1893, when Bedales began, there was a determination to shape the school around what was considered best for the individual child’s educational welfare and happiness. Two strands predominated: breadth (“Head, Hand and Heart”) and the cultivation of the individual’s intellectual and personal qualities (“Intelligence, Initiative and Individuality”).
Many of Badley’s early innovations are now mainstream: co-educational boarding (at Bedales since 1898); the emphasis put on the Arts, Sciences and voluntary service; the importance of pastoral care; and listening to students’ views (the Bedales School Council was established in 1916).
Even so, the contrast between Bedales and other schools remains strong. We believe that our informality engenders a genuine sense of partnership between teacher and student – a shared excitement about ideas and educational discovery. Educational innovation continues today with our Bedales Assessed courses.
Bedales Schools’ five aims:
- To develop inquisitive thinkers with a love of learning who cherish independent thought.
- To enable students’ talents to develop through doing and making.
- To foster individuality and encourage initiative, creativity and the appreciation of the beautiful.
- To enable students, former students, parents and staff to take pride in the community’s distinctiveness and to feel valued and nourished by the community.
- To foster interest beyond the school: engaging with the local community and developing a national and international awareness.