The school day
Lessons begin at 9am. After a short break from 10.10-10.25am, followed by an opportunity for catch-up time with tutors, extra-curricular lessons, homework support or down-time from 10.25-10.50am, lessons continue until lunchtime, which begins at either 12.05pm, 12.40pm or 1.15pm, depending on students' timetables.
Lessons resume in the afternoon and there is an afternoon activity slot (Badley Time) from 3.05-4.05pm. We expect students to choose a range of activities, including service opportunities, loosely organised into 'Head, Hand and Heart' categories in Badley and Powell Time (7-8.15pm) sessions, which are named after the founders of the school.
After the last class ends at 5.30pm, day students - like their boarding counterparts - take part in handshaking at assemblies and enjoy the many events and activities that take place in the school every evening, including Jaw and Civics. Depending on their activity slots and assemblies, Day students are free to leave from 6pm.
Later start to the day
In September 2020, we introduced a new 'later start' timetable, with lessons starting a full hour later than previously. This pilot year - which was extended for the 2021/22 academic year - was designed to test if students benefit from the flexibility of more sleep in the mornings, to better prepare them for a full day of teaching and learning, and enhance their wellbeing. Following a review of the pilot, the later start to the day remains in place for 2023/24 with the slightly earlier start time of 9am.
We introduced the initiative after extensive research into the science of sleep and the development of the teenage brain, and consultation with academics, students, teachers and parents.
Circadian rhythms – our biologically set schedule of sleepiness or wakefulness – shift progressively later during adolescent years so that the impulse to go to sleep starts later at night, and the need to remain asleep lasts longer into the morning. The last phase of a full night’s sleep is the most important for memory consolidation, and if we cut it off by pulling teenagers out of bed too early, the ‘download’ from the hippocampus, where short term memories are stored during the day for transfer to long term memory at night, is incomplete. This has a negative impact on learning effectiveness and mental health.
The name 'Jaw' is believed to have been coined by Oscar Wilde, when visiting his son Cyril at Bedales. Jaw is a Bedales institution, taking the place of chapel in more traditional independent schools. Held fortnightly, it engages students in moral and spiritual concerns, usually through visiting speakers. Sometimes this involves marking a point in the faith calendar or a student-led debate.
Read more about Jaw here.
The Civics programme gives students the opportunity to hear views and opinions from highly regarded personalities from a variety of backgrounds, industries or professions. These events are very popular for the students as it gives them a real insight into other lives, worlds, issues and potential careers. Civics events are also open to members of the public via the Bedales Events programme.
Recent speakers include The Economist's US Editor John Prideaux, historian and journalist Tim Bouverie, CogX co-founder Tabitha Goldstaub and British contemporary poet Deanna Rodger.
On Wednesday afternoons, all students have free time to use as they wish. They can choose to study, attend a rehearsal, play sport, volunteer, or walk into Petersfield in small groups.
Day students can get involved in any of the activities at school on a Wednesday afternoon or, if they prefer, they are welcome to go home after their final commitment of the day.
Badley Day, Powell Day and Garrett Day are termly community days named after key figures in the founding of the school. On each of the community days, students and staff work together in a ‘whole school effort’ to practise the school motto – ‘Work of Each for Weal of All’ – on a range of projects as a celebration of the school’s foundation.