A warm greeting from Dunannie and Dunhurst and a special welcome to all families starting in September.

Colin Baty, Head of Dunhurst

With summer holidays drawing to a close, we are ready to share with you information regarding your children’s return to school and introduce some ‘normality’ back into our lives. Everyone’s lockdown experience will have been different. I have heard it likened to us all being in the same storm, but in different boats.

During online learning at both Dunannie and Dunhurst, we spoke to the children lots about the metaphor of a butterfly. A butterfly develops in a cocoon and eventually, when the time is right, they open their wings and emerge feeling strong and ready for the world. The cocoon has expired and now your wings are ready!

This year will look and feel very different, but at the same time, every effort has been made to make sure the unique Bedales ethos is at the core of all we do. The senior teams at both Dunannie and Dunhurst have given a huge amount of planning and preparation time over the summer holidays to ensure that we are in the best position to start school life again, with all the learning opportunities and activities that occur whilst at the same time making sure we will be as COVID-safe as possible. We are closely following all the government guidance from the Department for Education and have adopted the Boarding Schools’ Association COVID-safe charter. We also have our own very well-qualified medical and health and safety experts supporting our teaching and pastoral teams.

Additional health and safety measures such as age-appropriate wearing of masks, social distancing, contact tracing and testing, are embedded in our plans so that the risk of contracting COVID on the Bedales estate is minimised. Whilst we cannot eliminate the risk entirely, we can mitigate it and that’s been at the heart of our work since the outbreak began, and particularly as we plan for the much-anticipated re-opening.

Keeping the school free of COVID will require a community wide commitment – or as our co-founder John Badley elegantly put it: the ‘Work of Each for Weal of All’. With the whole school community - children, parents and staff - playing their part, our chances for a successful school year will increase dramatically. We are hopeful that the protocols put in place will help us to avoid the same outcome that impacted all UK schools last term - school closure - and a return to remote leaning.

The planning behind opening for the Autumn term is thorough, but of course it will not be fully operational until children arrive. Even then, we will all need to be prepared to adapt as conditions change. Please take some time to read and digest this plan, and do let us know your questions or concerns if you have them.

I am very aware the information below is a lot to take in and may sound unfriendly. This is definitely not my intention. Dunhurst and Dunannie staff teams are, as ever, passionate and committed to everyone’s wellbeing and mental health; pupils, parents and staff alike. Being able to open the doors on 3 September has always been my goal, but for this to
happen smoothly, we must adhere to what is set out here. It is vital for our children to be back in school where they belong and the classrooms filled with laughter and fun once more.

Thank you for your understanding and commitment to this. My team and I are very optimistic about the coming year.

I wish everyone a fantastic term. Be kind to yourself and those around you.

Colin Baty
Head of Dunhurst

Download the Dunannie & Dunhurst Back to School Guide (PDF)