ISI Compliance and Educational Quality Inspection 2022

Bedales School underwent a Compliance and Educational Quality Inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) in May 2022. Key findings are summarised below, where there is a also a link to the full report.

Educational Quality 

The quality of the students' personal development is excellent. 

Pupils seldom use the word spiritual but their comments show they have an intensely spiritual awareness of the everyday wonders and beauty of life​​​.

ISI Inspection Report, 2022

Students learn to know themselves well and so develop extremely high self-confidence and deeply rooted self-esteem. 

Their understanding of the importance of collaboration is strongly supported by school leaders’ emphasis on the school being a community of equals, all accepting the ethos of ‘the work of each for weal of all​​​​.

ISI Inspection Report, 2022

Students highly value the considerable autonomy they are given and the vast majority use it well. 

From the earliest age, pupils make decisions for themselves.​​​

ISI Inspection Report, 2022

Students have strong personal value systems based on an accepting and non-judgemental respect for all, irrespective of ability, gender or ethnicity. 

They describe themselves as learning to be inquisitive, fearless and ready to confront that which is unacceptable. The school is extremely successful in creating an atmosphere in which all pupils know that they are valued and respected as unique individuals.

ISI Inspection Report, 2022

Students show an excellent understanding of the school ethos and that a strong, mutually respectful community depends on all accepting responsibility and challenging the unacceptable. 

The pupils’ understanding of morality does not depend upon observing a set of strict rules, which would be seen by them as contrary to the school’s ethos. Their code of values is solidly based on respect for all...

ISI Inspection Report, 2022

The quality of the students' academic and other achievements is good. 

The majority of pupils develop good study skills, because of the school’s determination to break barriers between subject areas and focus on learning across disciplines, and encouragement for pupils to follow their natural curiosity.​​​​

ISI Inspection Report, 2022

Students make good progress and overall attainment in the school is good; in the Prep and Pre-prep, levels of attainment are often excellent. 

Standardised tests, and the school’s own assessment processes show that pupils in Bedales Prep make excellent progress, many working at levels above normal expectations for their age.

ISI Inspection Report, 2022

Students develop excellent communication skills and are exceptionally confident and articulate speakers. 

They grow to be assured speakers because of the many opportunities they are given and respect with which their views are received by their teachers.​​​​

ISI Inspection Report, 2022

Students achieve well in response to the innovative curriculum, which encourages learning through doing and breaks down subject boundaries. 

Pupils in Bedales Pre-prep and Prep develop their basic literacy and numeracy skills highly successfully alongside their understanding of other subjects in a cross-curricular and project-based approach ... The core of GCSE subjects alongside a choice of Bedales Assessed Courses enables Bedales pupils to develop their interests to high levels and prepares them well for A Level work.

ISI Inspection Report, 2022

Students are confident in the everyday use of ICT but less so in their ability to exploit its possibilities fully in their learning. 

Pupils throughout the school are highly skilled in working collaboratively and independently. Pre-prep and Prep pupils have an excellent attitude to learning. They have a strong work ethic and approach tasks with enthusiastic interest.​​​​

ISI Inspection Report, 2022


The school should make the following improvements:

  • Improve the pupils’ willingness to exploit the possibilities of using ICT to support their learning across the curriculum. 
  • Ensure that all pupils learn to maintain focus and a sense of academic purpose; to think beyond the obvious and to respond positively to advice and feedback. 

Regulatory Compliance

The school meets all the standards in the schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014, the National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools 2015, and relevant requirements of the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, and associated requirements, and no further action is required as a result of this inspection.  

The standards include the following categories: Quality of education provided; Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils; Welfare, health and safety of pupils; Suitability of staff, governors and supervision of visitors; Premises and accommodation; Provision of information; Handling of complaints; and Quality of leadership and management. 

Background on the ISI

The ISI is appointed by the Department for Education (DfE) to inspect independent schools in England. Its inspections report to the DfE on the extent to which the statutory Independent School Standards are met. Schools undergo a scheduled inspection, on average, every three years. Bedales’ previous inspection was in 2018.