Helping pupils find their passions

Bedales Prep, Dunhurst

In an article for Beautiful South magazine, Head of Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst, Jane Grubb explains how the school challenges and supports its pupils to find what they love, and begin the process of growing into themselves.

Bedales founder John Haden Badley established the school as a humane alternative to the austerity of late-Victorian public schools. Today, Dunhurst continues to swim against the educational tide in making a world quite removed from the confines of Common Entrance and traditional prep school teaching, and the strictures of the national curriculum, over-testing and inspection.
Jane explains: “For some first time visitors to Dunhurst, the informal atmosphere and busy medley of lessons and activities that make up the school day can seem a little bewildering. We make no apology for this. Those expecting to find quiet, orderly classes hanging on the every words of teachers are likely to be disappointed. Instead, teachers are encouraged to be creative and to take risks – if the work is interesting, the school of confident that pupils will throw themselves into it, with rich reward. The school values learning through discussion and exploration, with adults far from being the only source of wisdom and ideas.”

Jane concludes: “If we want our children to be happy we need to help them to discover what they love, to experience the ‘joy of struggle’, and to understand and develop the craft of learning in service of the things that they have identified themselves as worthwhile and interesting.”

The full article is available online here, or you can download the PDF here, with thanks to Beautiful South magazine for permission to publish. Read Jane Grubb’s profile and find out more about Dunhurst’s approach to learning here.