'Work of Each for Weal of All' in action

Affectionately known as ODW and a core curriculum subject for all pupils since the birth of Bedales, Outdoor Work is a unique and indispensable part of the Bedales journey.

The aims of ODW are to encourage and nurture self-confidence, passion, empathy and teamwork. Badley knew 125 years ago that society needs an awareness, appreciation and knowledge of the natural environment - the bedrock being respect for each other and for nature.

The most important characteristic of ODW is a belief that everything the children do is for the benefit of others; that might be their classmates or year group – or the whole school. It can also mean the local community – through our Community Service scheme, or the global community through our charity work.

And it’s not just humans – it’s working for the benefit of the flora and fauna too!

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Dunhurst ODW

Nature & conservation, horticulture, animal husbandry, bushcraft & country crafts

Throughout the year, the children enjoy a huge variety of seasonal tasks and activities.

  • On the vegetable plot we sow, grow, weed, pot up, pot on, dig, graft fruit trees, arrange & press flowers, propagate, compost and harvest.
  • We also build and construct shelters and dens (using natural materials); this includes coppicing, weaving, using hand tools and learning a variety of knots & lashings.
  • Cookery, bush craft, carving, whittling, fire lighting, conservation, plant & animal identification and pond dipping (amongst many other things) are also studied throughout the year.
  • The children are actively involved in the care of our chickens, ducks and bees, and also have opportunities to feed and care for other livestock on the Bedales estate.

Children in the Blocks also have the opportunity to use their ODW skills to help in the local community through the Community Service scheme. Projects include helping to create an outdoor learning area at a local school and redesigning the garden at our local NHS GP surgery.

Dunhurst ODW Curriculum Map 

 Dunhurst ODW on Twitter 

 Dunhurst ODW on Instagram

Head of Department

Ryan Walsh, Head of Outdoor Work