Bedales offers a supportive and caring environment for students, enabling them to build self-worth, resilience and a sense of community. We aim to create an environment where questioning, divergent thinking and the freedom to learn from mistakes are all encouraged.
Every student at Bedales is valued as an individual and encouraged to be themselves. We promote the mental and physical health and emotional wellbeing of our students by fostering individuality and encouraging initiative, creativity and an appreciation of the beautiful.
We recognise and promote key qualities that are fundamental to good mental health and wellbeing, including quality sleep, regular exercise, healthy eating, time for relaxation and social activity, community values and helping each other, and appreciating the nature around us.
The network of pastoral care at Bedales ensures there are plenty of opportunities for students to access support if they need it.
Houseparents and Matrons provide the daily face of support within the boarding houses, which are set up to provide a homely and informal environment. Houseparents are easily accessible to students on a daily basis and through informal gatherings, and Matrons’ surgeries provide a place where students can congregate for informal chats and advice.
Day students have their own dedicated relaxation space in the Day Common Room, in the middle of which is the office for Day Houseparents, making them easily accessible for students.
In these informal settings, early signs of mood or behaviour change may be noted and the cosy family environment lends itself to disclosure if a student has any concerns. Houseparents meet weekly with the Deputy Head (Pastoral) to share confidential concerns and action plans to support students.
For Boarders, mixed-age dorms encourage a big sister/brother approach and help integration of different age groups, encouraging peer support.
In 6.1 (Year 12), students have the opportunity to volunteer as a Badley Mentor, receiving training to share their knowledge, experience, social or practical help with other students.
All Boarders and Day students have allocated Tutors whom they see on a regular basis, including one-to-one sessions, where they are able to form strong ties for support in all aspects of their school life and personal life if they choose.
There are two School Counsellors based at Fairhaven on the Bedales site. Students can refer themselves directly via email or phone. Referrals can also be made via the Health Centre, Houseparents or other members of staff.
Boarders also have access to a local independent listener, appointed with the input of previous Head Students from Bedales. The local independent listener is available for students to contact should they want an external person to talk to.
Bedales has two dedicated NHS GPs, Dr Kate Bush and Dr Thomas Cattell, who hold weekly surgeries at Bedales Health Centre, and a team of dedicated School Nurses.
Open from 8am-10pm (with shorter hours at the weekends), the Health Centre offers a drop-in service for any urgent needs or if students are feeling unable to cope in school. There is a nurse on call 24 hours a day throughout term-time.
In the Health Centre, students have a quiet space to talk and the School Nurses can link them to self-help options, the School Doctors, external counselling, referral to local Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHS) or private psychotherapy services.
Bedales aims to support and teach skills to students to increase their awareness of emotional health and wellbeing, as well as their resilience, through the Wellbeing programme. All students in Blocks 3-5 (Years 9-11) have a weekly, double timetabled Wellbeing lesson.
The Wellbeing curriculum is designed to instil skills in empathy, critical thinking, resilience and meta-cognition. It also contributes to students' personal development by helping them to build their confidence, resilience and self-esteem, to identify and manage risk, make informed choices and understand what influences their decisions.
The Wellbeing programme enables students to recognise, accept, and shape their identities, to understand and accommodate difference and change, to manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings. Developing an understanding of social and emotional intelligence alongside the ability to live co-operatively with others will help our students to form and maintain healthy relationships and better enjoy and manage their lives.
At Bedales we are committed to acting in the best interests of the child. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility; Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies are in place for staff to follow.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) at Bedales is Ana Simmons (maternity cover for Jen Moore).