The vision of Bedales' founder, John Badley, was to create a school which would be profoundly different from the public schools of his day. From 1893, when Bedales began, there was a determination to shape the school around what was considered best for the individual child's educational welfare and happiness. Two strands predominated: breadth ("head, hand and heart") and the cultivation of the individual's intellectual and personal qualities ("intelligence, initiative and individuality").

Many of Badley's early innovations are now mainstream: co-educational boarding (at Bedales since 1898); the emphasis put on the Arts, Sciences and voluntary service; the importance of pastoral care; and listening to students' views (the Bedales School Council was established in 1916).

Even so, the contrast between Bedales and other schools remains strong. We believe that our informality engenders a genuine sense of partnership between teacher and student - a shared excitement about ideas and educational discovery. Educational innovation continues today with our Bedales Assessed courses.

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The schools’ five aims

  • To develop inquisitive thinkers with a love of learning who cherish independent thought.
  • To enable students' talents to develop through doing and making.
  • To foster individuality and encourage initiative, creativity and the appreciation of the beautiful.
  • To enable students, former students, parents and staff to take pride in the community’s distinctiveness and to feel valued and nourished by the community.
  • To foster interest beyond the school: engaging with the local community and developing a national and international awareness.

The ways in which we achieve these aims are described in The Bedales Difference.

 The success of our children’s education depends on a fruitful partnership between school, children and parents - view the Bedales Schools' Partnership Principles.

Click here to read more about Bedales staff.

Bedales School is a registered charity, number 307332.