The Block 3 (Year 9) year is designed to instil the right appetites and dispositions to achieve success further up the school. In addition to work in the classroom, students have prep assignments to complete in their own time. Prep can be done at various times in the week, some of them designated and supervised. During the course of Block 3 it is expected that each student will establish effective working habits and an appropriate balance between academic work and other pursuits.

Bedales has a long tradition of leading the way in educational change. Our determination to do what is right for our students has led to the creation of a unique curriculum: the Bedales Humanities Research Project and most notably the Bedales Assessed Courses (BACs) for Blocks 4 and 5 (Years 10 and 11), where students choose from a range of innovative courses designed to complement a core of I/GCSEs. Students study a compulsory group of five core I/GCSE subjects plus a choice of up to five Bedales Assessed Courses and/or other GCSEs. They also take two additional non-examined courses.

We introduced BACs in 2006 and they are well regarded by universities and employers and recognised by UCAS. Importantly, they are popular with students: the content of BACs is broad and stimulating, offering significant cross-curricular and independent-learning opportunities. Since we aim to develop a broad range of skills through the delivery of BACs, internal assessment includes a mixture of written assignments, presentations, projects and performances, together with examinations as appropriate. Each course is externally moderated.

In class, and particularly in the Bedales Assessed Courses, students are encouraged to question, to challenge, to think for themselves – visitors comment on a ‘no fear’ classroom atmosphere.

Curriculum choice examples

In addition to the core of English Language, Mathematics, one Modern Language and Double or Triple Award Science:

  • David chose Spanish as a second language and BACs in Theatre, English Literature and Dance.
  • Harriet chose BACs in English Literature, Outdoor Work, Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) and History.
  • Alice chose Triple Award Science and BACs in Geography, Art, Global Perspectives and Fashion Design.
  • Molly chose French as a second language alongside BACs in Art, Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (PRE) and Product Design and did Further Maths.