Bedales was founded by J H Badley in 1893 to be a humane alternative to the authoritarian regimes typical of late-Victorian public schools.

Although Mr Badley's ideas were highly radical for England at that time, in retrospect he can be seen as part of a wider European reform movement (he was the contemporary of Montessori and Steiner).

The school became fully co-educational in 1898; students were given a formal voice by 1916, when the School Council was formed.

In line with Bedales' tradition of tolerance, we welcome all faiths and denominations. We have no chapel, but we have a Quiet Place open to all.

The school is named after the house in which it began, in Hayward's Heath. Bedales moved to its rural Hampshire site in 1900. Dunhurst, the prep school (8-13), was founded in 1905, and Dunannie, the pre-prep school (3-8), in 1953.

The three schools are located in 120 acres of farmland, woods, orchards and playing fields. Students still follow Mr Badley's ideal (quoted from John Ruskin) of educating 'head, hand and heart'.

The strong practical element of Outdoor Work, for example, includes work on the landscape, ranging from hedge-laying to tending the school's flock of Jacob sheep.

The Memorial Library (1920s) and adjoining Lupton Hall (the original assembly hall, built in 1911) are Grade-1 listed. The Olivier Theatre (1998) and Orchard Building (2005) have both won awards for the quality and originality of their architecture.