Feedback from current parent (and Old Bedalian) of two boys
We chose Dunannie as we were keen for the boys to experience all three schools at Bedales and our decision was also underpinned by my positive school life at Bedales. It undoubtedly stood out against other schools we had visited.
Dunannie offers outstanding pastoral care for the children and has excellent hands-on learning. The resources and their staff are fantastic. Dunannie instills a love of learning into the child and this is reflected daily in the happy school environment.
In addition we strongly feel that Dunannie really takes time to understand each child - their strengths and weakness - and brings the best out in that child. There is also still a sense of discipline within Dunannie and respect from the children.
We have found Dunannie outstanding for both our boys. They have flourished in such a short time and it has been wonderful to see them so happy and to enjoy learning..! As an Old Bedalian I owe so much to the school where I developed many of my skills as a musician and producer. It's very fulfilling to see your children flourish in the same way you did, with the unique ethos of school still very much in play. Long may it continue!
Feedback from current parent of one boy and two girls
We moved from London to Hampshire in August 2015 and our children started at Dunhurst and Dunannie that September going into Group 1, Year 2 and the nursery.
We chose Dunannie for its size, the orchard, the barn, the emphasis on enriched learning with understanding, the way every child smiled and was so happy and looked me in the eye at open days and on school tours, not only answering my questions but initiating conversation (without being precocious).
All three children skip into school every morning and have asked if they can go back to school during the school holidays – they loved their London school but never with the need to go there on a Sunday! They have become more confident in themselves, they are less anxious about the rigours of the school routine, they look people in the eye, say good morning to people unprompted. They are happy. They are learning a huge amount and developing academically in line with my expectations and the expectations their previous school would have had of them. Academic pursuits in English, Humanities. Maths, Science, IT/coding are being followed but with a deeper understanding brought about by some truly wonderful experiences (ransacking a church as a Viking in year 3, my daughter and her class sailed their homemade long boats to the huge class built church which they set alight and watched as it burned). Each child of every standard is being supported and extended from the less able to the extremely able.
There are clear expectations of behaviour but without any pettiness. There is no stressful drama about an untucked shirt. The first name terms seems to create a mutually respectful environment.
"There are clear expectations of behaviour but without any pettiness"
Having had two children go through a very good nursery in London this was the move I was the most anxious about, but The Barn, as it is called, gave my smallest an absolutely wonderful, idyllic start to her learning life. Not only did she cover all the fundamentals of learning at this stage (beginning to think about numbers and letters, art, tidying up) but, amongst many things, she gardened (planting sunflowers, beans, sage), she harvested (potatoes, blackberries, apples) and she made (pressing apple juice with Dunhurst Outdoor Work, cooking crumbles, roast potatoes and molding bird seed balls). She regularly visited the Bedales pigs, piglets, alpaca and sheep. She often went for walks around the Bedales estate. There was always an allowance to deviate from the well-planned curriculum – one nursery teacher found a dead mole and brought it in to Nursery for the children to study and draw. My daughter danced, sang and she was an angel in the Nursery nativity.
"The nursery staff could not be more delightful or cosy or well experienced."
In Reception (where my son and daughter in London were sitting at desks and getting an hour’s play outside a day) my youngest is still dancing, playing in the home corner, singing and cooking. She is also swimming and learning to play the violin with her class. She performed as a parrot in Dunannie’s play The Tempest. She has also learnt to read and do all the things that my other children could do in their wonderful, albeit very formal, London school. She is confident, happy and has a wonderful mix of friends.
Years 2 and 3
"I asked my daughter what she liked about school and she said ‘absolutely everything’"
I asked my daughter what she liked about school and she said ‘absolutely everything’. During years 2 and 3 she has learnt so much - from mini beasts, to Victorians, to Vikings but it has been so much more than dry project work. She has developed a real love of language and poetry and she has asked for a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets for Christmas. Her vocabulary and use of language is burgeoning. She is challenged and extended and she feels confident and respected. She plays the cello and performs regularly in the performance platforms – as every child is encouraged to do of every standard. She had her first speaking role in the Dunannie Christmas play – everyone in year 3 had equal parts – the same child doesn’t get the leading role year in year out. She plays netball and has had a match against another school and she’s got really into playing football after school with the Pompey coach.
Parents' evenings and reports are so thorough and constructive – absolutely everything is covered – they know the children so well. In the school report teachers know children like I’d like my child to be known: anecdotes, details, pages and pages – they make every child seem like the most special child.