Boarding is at the heart of Bedales: it is based on the principles of sharing, responsibility for self and others, and community living. Virtually all dormitories are therefore shared: in the two main boarding houses mixed-age dorms ensure supportive friendships across year groups and encourages students to take responsibility for each other, regardless of age.  Years of experience have taught us that valuable lessons of tolerance and empathy can be learnt in this way, and the tendency for individuals to be isolated is minimalised. We do not organise or encourage competition between the boarding houses, preferring to encourage students to think of themselves as members of the whole Bedales community. Health and safety regulations necessitate a minimum number of rules, but the majority of our time is still regulated by the expectations of our founder.

The Bedales School Rules as written by our founder, John H Badley, are as follows:

These are things that all members of every community must try to avoid:

  • Needless labour to others
  • Needless exposure of oneself or others to danger or infection
  • Waste or damage of property, whether belonging to the community or to an individual
  • Annoyance to others in the community, or to neighbours outside
  • Everyone must try to carry out whatever has been found necessary or helpful for preserving order and promoting the health and well-being of all concerned

These rules are intended to ensure these things.

We feel that these simple statements are still relevant today and that they should form the framework for any social interaction, whether this is at school or beyond.

Bedales is organised into three boarding houses: Steephurst for girls in Blocks 3 to 6.1 (Years 9 – 12), Boys’ Flat for similarly aged boys and a co-educational house for 6.2 (Year 13): the latter has segregated sleeping areas and bathrooms for boys and girls.

6.2 students, as their age demands, enjoy greater freedoms and are expected to take more responsibility for themselves in preparation for leaving Bedales and the type of community living they will experience at university.

The boarding houses are staffed by residential house masters and mistresses, residential tutors, residential matrons and visiting duty staff. As well as being assigned a designated house master or mistress, students are encouraged to turn to any member of the boarding staff including the matrons.

Instead of prefects, we have a system whereby all sixth formers take a share of defined duties and responsibilities within the boarding house. House staff monitor these students and meet with them at regular intervals to ensure they are fulfilling their roles.

If you have any queries on Boarding at Bedales, please contact Janie Jarman.