Bedales celebrates founder with community festival
14th October 2015

Bedales welcomed members of the local community to the school on Sunday 27 September for a festival of music, games, pony rides, sports, storytelling, African dancing, falconry displays and more, culminating in a firework display in the evening. The sell-out community festival raised a total of £1200 with all proceeds being donated to Mencap.

The weekend included a celebration of the school’s founder John Badley, where students, teachers and parents worked on various landscaping projects on Saturday such as clearing an overgrown area to help create a meadow for grazing cattle, the creation of a Peace Garden from pebbles at Bedales Pre-prep School, Dunannie, and planting bulbs and flower beds in the arts and crafts style at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst.



Following the outdoor projects Bedales students participated in a workshop delivered by Mencap representatives to raise awareness and understanding of learning disabilities.


Keith Budge, Headmaster of Bedales commented:

“We were delighted to welcome over 500 visitors to our first Bedales Community Festival, particularly guests from Mencap and the King’s Arms, and we are looking forward to developing further our relationships with these charities.”

Anna Olliffe, Regional Engagement Officer at Mencap added:

“It was wonderful to work with the students at Bedales in order to raise their awareness about learning disabilities and to provide them with tips for supporting people with a learning disability. The people we support really enjoyed the activities provided, the picnic lunch and the opportunity to interact with the young people helping to run the event. On behalf of the Mencap services and local groups who visited Bedales, I would like to thank all involved for a lovely day.”  



John Badley founded Bedales in 1893, and the school moved to its current 120-acre site in Steep in 1899 where it became the first non-Quaker co-educational boarding school in the country. Each year the school holds a Badley Weekend which includes a ‘Whole School Effort’ to exemplify the school’s motto ‘Work of Each for Weal of All’, and demonstrating what can be achieved collectively when a group of people focus on completing an ambitious task together in a short space of time. In recent years, projects have included building a pergola, up-grading the public footpath that runs through the school estate, and cleaning and garden clearance in sheltered housing. 

Click here for a short film of this year’s Badley Weekend.


About Bedales
Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, Hampshire (UK): Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). 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.