Dunhurst is a community with our founder John Badley's vision to educate 'head, hand and heart' at the very heart of it. From the outset, Badley was determined to shape the school around what was considered best for the individual child’s educational welfare and happiness.
We believe that happy children work hard and achieve, and we have a wellbeing tookit on hand to ensure that your child is well supported during their time here. Each and every child is known and cared for. We nurture and nourish children to ensure that they thrive.
'Work of Each for Weal of All'
The school motto underpins everything we do. All actions have consequences and we encourage every Dunhurstian to be a positive influence within the school community.
Pupils are asked to take a moment to think before an action and consider whether they are being 'ready, respectful and safe'. These three words form the bedrock of our expectations and act as a guide by which pupils and staff alike strive to create a community based on being the best version of themselves.
Every pupil is afforded the right to enjoy a childhood at school, but with this right comes a responsibility to be a positive influence within the Dunhurst jigsaw. We embrace individuality, but no one individual is bigger than the community. Dunhurst aims to create a sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself. The more you are immersed in the community, the better you feel.
The Dunhurst triangle
The phrase "it takes a village to raise a child" is nowhere more relevant than here at Dunhurst. We believe the success of a child's education is a team effort. It takes dedication from teachers, parents and pupils; everyone has an important role to play. The 'Dunhurst triangle' refers to this team effort.
We know and value every pupil for who they are. Staff are made aware of all new pupils and their individual needs before they start at Dunhurst so we can provide all the support they need, both academically and pastorally.
We are committed to regular contact with parents at all times, not just when things go wrong. We operate an open-door policy for parents who wish to speak to staff, and provide a number of talks each year on a range of subjects through our partnerships with organisations such as Teen Tips and the Sam West Foundation.
Communication is key; we believe all talking is good talking, unless it's gossip. A climate of openness and respect, which includes first name terms for staff and pupils, allows closer relationships to be formed. This is borne out in the mutual respect and collegiate approach between each member of the Dunhurst triangle. We genuinely work alongside each other towards a common goal.
The network of pastoral care at Dunhurst ensures there is plenty of support for pupils.
We understand that while a child is boarding - whether full or part time - Dunhurst is their home and boarding staff are acting in loco parentis.
Boarding staff provide a relaxed, friendly and safe enviornment 'on flat', separate from the normal school day. The staff team includes residential houseparents, resident and non-resident matrons, gap assistants and staff who live on site who assist with boarding duties.
Boarding staff share pastoral observations about pupils and houseparents meet weekly with the Deputy Head (Pastoral) to discuss boarders and their needs.
Every pupil is allocated a tutor for the academic year. The role of the tutor is to be responsible for pupils' wellbeing and progress. They are a child's support and advocate; they share the good times, the not so good times and guide the child through both. Tutors are proactive and approach situations with empathy and patience.
Tutors are the first point of contact for parents and particular emphasis is given to fostering that relationship. Tutors also meet regularly with teaching staff throughout the term to discuss pupils with an academic and pastoral focus.
'Tutor Time' takes place twice daily. As well as being a time for matters such as registration, it is also time for the tutor group to come together, share experiences, swap stories or simply just be. There is time for child-led activities, such as sharing a trip or an experience. At the end of the week, time is given to reflection and discussing topical issues as a group.
We have a dedicated school counsellor, Jenny Clare Yeates, who is available for pupils to speak to should they need it. Jenny introduces herself to pupils at the start of the year in assembly, and pupils can arrange to see her themselves or by referral.
Pupils have access to an independent listener who is available should they wish to speak to an adult outside the structure of the school.
The school can also provide access to other support networks if required.
Matrons provide medical care and support for all pupils. Any child can call or be referred to a matron is available and on duty, 24 hours a day. Matrons administer basic medical care, can refer pupils to a doctor or ask parents to pick up their child.
We have a school doctor, who is based at the Swan Surgery in Petersfield. We also have the support of the Health Centre at Bedales, which can support pupils and staff with medical needs.
We aim to support and teach skills to children to increase their awareness of emotional health and wellbeing, as well as their resilience, through the Wellbeing programme. The aim is to provide children with a wellbeing toolbox that they can dip into for the rest of their lives.
All pupils have a weekly timetabled Wellbeing lesson which is taught by a specialist teacher. The lessons take place in The Nest, a space right in the heart of the school that is a haven of calm amid the buzz of the prep school day. Sofas and cushions create a relaxed atmosphere and provide a space where any child - or adult - feels safe.
The Wellbeing curriculum is a spiral programme designed to instil skills in empathy, self-efficacy, self-worth and to help define each child's moral compass. It also contributes to pupils' personal development by helping them to build their confidence and resilience, identify and manage risk, make informed choices and understand what influences their decisions. The programme gives children the skills required to thrive in the modern 21st century.
The Wellbeing programme enables children to recognise, accept, and shape their identities, to understand and accommodate difference and change, to manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings. Developing an understanding of social and emotional intelligence alongside the ability to live cooperatively with others will help our children to form and maintain healthy relationships and better enjoy and manage their lives.
At Dunhurst, as part of Bedales Schools, we are committed to acting in the best interests of the child. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility; Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies are in place for staff to follow.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) at Bedales is Ana Simmons (maternity cover for Jen Moore). The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL) for Dunhurst is Graeme Thompson.