Block 3 (Year 9), the students’ first year at Bedales, is unique in that there is no preparation for external exams. We have instead embraced an interdisciplinary, ‘real-world’ approach to our study of the humanities. Rather than perpetuating artificial subject boundaries, we have designed our courses around content that borrows from different disciplines and addresses compelling questions about contemporary issues, aiming at practical outcomes presented to real audiences wherever possible.

After a short introductory project in which students explore different aspects of the school’s ethos, history and practice, so that they can understand their own place in our tradition, they take each of the following six projects on a rotating basis:

  • Project 1: Who made my clothes?

  • Project 2: Was it for this the clay grew tall? Remembering the First World War one hundred years on

  • Project 3: Democracy and ‘Julius Caesar’

  • Project 4: Coming of Age Literature and Philosophy of the Self

  • Project 5: Refugees, racism and diversity

  • Project 6: The art of story in oral traditions

We learned about the injustices faced by refugees worldwide every day and other challenging issues in modern day society... we also planned a fundraising event with a local refugee charity, learning about the processes of organising and hosting a public event

Block 3 (Year 9) student