Saturday morning school is an important feature in Blocks 1 and 2 (years 7 and 8) at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst.
From Block 1, pupils have more lessons to fit into their timetables than in the Groups (years 4-6):
- Science becomes three separate subjects: Physics, Biology, Chemistry
- Humanities becomes three distinct subjects: Geography, History, Religious Studies
- Latin is introduced.
One of the key benefits of spreading the Blocks’ timetable over five and a half days is that we also introduce self-study periods known as ‘Greens’. In addition to using these to complete their prep, pupils will also have any additional 1-1 lessons such as academic support, LAMDA, dance, music, tennis etc. This enable pupils to individualise their academic and co-curricular programmes to suit their particular interests and needs.
‘Greens’ have proved be an excellent way to develop pupils’ independence within an overarching structure; it also prepares them for the additional level of self-management and self-motivation required at senior school.
The majority of sports fixtures are scheduled on Wednesday afternoons. Blocks’ pupils who are not participating in matches have the opportunity for some free time which they use for a range of activities: perhaps visiting Petersfield to do some shopping, down time in the Dunhurst café ‘Scoffs’, film club, spending time extending their skills in areas of interest (such as in Music, Art or Outdoor Work), catching up on academic work or going home to rest and have a mid-weak break; this is an important feature of the school week when pupils make decisions on how best to spend their time and which prepares them well for the additional freedoms offered when they progress to senior school.
We are sometimes asked why we have school on a Saturday morning. We consider it to be an important contributor to delivering the special ethos at Dunhurst. Without it we would have to reduce or eliminate ‘Greens’; increase the length of the school day or term; schedule 1-1 lessons during teaching time; prep would need to be completed in the evenings; and the overall development of pupil self-motivation and independence would be reduced.