Bedales School

Bedales School is a co-educational, boarding and day independent school in the village of Steep, near the market town of Petersfield in Hampshire, England. It was founded in 1893 by John Haden Badley in reaction to the limitations of conventional Victorian schools.

Bedales School
The Bedales School logo
Church Road

, ,
GU32 2DG

TypeIndependent school,
boarding and day school
MottoWork of Each for Weal of All
FounderJohn Haden Badley
Department for Education URN116527 Tables
HeadmasterMagnus Bashaarat
Age13 to 18
Former pupilsOld Bedalians

Since 1900 the school has been on an 120-acre (0.49 km2) estate in the village of Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire. As well as playing fields, orchards, woodland, pasture and a nature reserve, the campus also boasts two Grade 1 listed arts and crafts buildings designed by Ernest Gimson, the Lupton Hall (completed in 1911) and the Memorial Library (1921), and three contemporary award-winning buildings: the Olivier Theatre (1997) designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the Orchard Building (2005) by Walters & Cohen and the Art and Design Building (2017) also by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.[1]


The school was started in 1893 by John H Badley and Oswald B Powell after they had been introduced to each other by Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, whom they both knew from their Cambridge days. Their wives, Amy Badley and Winifred Powell were an essential part of the team. A house called Bedales was rented just outside Lindfield, near Haywards Heath. In 1899 Badley and Powell (the latter borrowing heavily from his father, the Vicar of Bisham) purchased a country estate near Steep and constructed a purpose-built school, including state of the art electric light, which opened in 1900. The site has been extensively developed over the past century, including the relocation of a number of historic vernacular timber frame barns. A preparatory school, Dunhurst, was started in 1902 on Montessori principles (and was visited in 1919 by Dr Montessori herself), and a primary school, Dunannie, was added in the 1950s.

Badley took a non-denominational approach to religion and the school has never had a chapel: its relatively secular teaching made it attractive in its early days to non-conformists, agnostics, Quakers, Unitarians and liberal Jews, who formed a significant element of its early intake. The school was also well known and popular in some Cambridge and Fabian intellectual circles with connections to the Wedgwoods, Darwins, Huxleys, and Trevelyans. Books such as A quoi tient la supériorité des Anglo-Saxons? and L'Education nouvelle popularised the school on the Continent, leading to a cosmopolitan intake of Russian and other European children in the 1920s.

Bedales was originally a small and intimate school: the 1900 buildings were designed for 150 pupils. Under a necessary programme of expansion and modernisation in the 1960s and 1970s under the headmastership of Tim Slack, the senior school grew from 240 pupils in 1966 to 340, thereafter increasing to some 465.


Bedales has educated boys and girls together since 1898. The school's particular emphasis on arts, crafts and drama can be seen as a direct and deliberate legacy of this early co-education theory, as explained by one of the school's most influential masters, Geoffrey Crump, in his book Bedales Since the War (1936):

"It is not enough to preach self control to a girl of fifteen who is just beginning to realise her power over the other sex, or to a boy of seventeen who is seriously disturbed by a girl of his own age. They don't want to be self-controlled. But one of the most valuable things that psychology has taught us is the importance of sublimation, and here is our chance. Adolescence is a time when it is natural to be active, and it is also an awakening to the power of beauty, beauty of all kinds – in colour form, movement, sound and spiritual aspiration. The boy and girl see these first in their human counterparts, and if left to themselves will hardly look anywhere else. But it is now that they are ready for the beauty of poetry, music, painting, drawing, and above all the earth around them, and these they must be given without stint ... The tendency of modern civilisation is to hurry on the awakening of sexual consciousness – a fact that is much to be deplored, and that makes the tasks of all schoolmasters and schoolmistresses far more difficult. Children now see erotic films and posters and read erotic books at an age when we had not thought about such things. They hear erotic dance-music, with its imbecile sentimental words, wherever they go. The attitude of a city-bred boy of fourteen to a city-bred girl of fourteen is quite different from what it was ten years ago."

Current management

The term 'Bedales Schools' incorporates Bedales itself (for ages 13–18), as well as Dunhurst (7–13) and Dunnannie (3–7). Since September 2018, Magnus Bashaarat holds the title of 'Head of Bedales Schools', although each of the junior schools has a separate Head as well. His role involves overseeing management and directing the long-term future and ethos of the school.[2]

Bedales (senior) School also has a Senior Deputy (Operational and Pastoral), Louise Wilson (BA, PGCE London (King's College), MA Bath); a Deputy Head (Academic), Rick Cross (MA Edinburgh; MA King's; PGCE London; NPQSL Cambridge); a Deputy Head (Co-curricular), Phil Tattersall-King (BA London (Royal Holloway); MPhil Birmingham; PGCE Warwick); a Deputy Head (Staff), Ed Mason (MA Oxford (Trinity); MA Open University; QTS Canterbury Christ Church; MSt Cambridge (Wolfson)); and a Director of Learning and Innovation, Alistair McConville (MA Cambridge (Fitzwilliam); PGCE Gloucester).[3]


  • 1893–1935 John Haden Badley
  • 1936–1946 Frederick Alfred Meier
  • 1946–1962 Hector Beaumont Jacks
  • 1962–1974 Tim Slack
  • 1974–1981 Patrick Nobes
  • 1981–1992 Euan MacAlpine
  • 1992–1994 Ian Newton
  • 1994–2001 Alison Willcocks
  • 2001–2018 Keith Budge
  • 2018- Magnus Bashaarat

Old Bedalians


  1. "Bedales School Campus". Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  2. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Faces of the Week, BBC, 21 July 2006.
  5. "Simon Anholt, Old Bedalian & Foreign Office Public Diplomacy Board". Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  6. "Simon Anholt". Simon Anholt. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  7. "Sebastian Bergne". Sebastian Bergne. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  8. Lucinda Schmidt, Profile: Peter Hall, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 2010
  9. Sale, Jonathan (19 February 2009). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Roger Lloyd Pack, actor". The Independent. London. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  10. "Tom Lodge, Old Bedalian and Zen Master". Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  11. Annan, Noel; Ferguson, James (30 May 1996). "Obituary: Teresa, Lady Rothschild". The Independent. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  12. Wetherell, David. "Biography – Camilla Hildegarde Wedgwood". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 15 July 2012.


See also Bibliography for John Haden Badley.

  • A quoit tient la superiorité des Anglo-Saxons? Edmond Demolins
  • Bedales School; A School for Boys. Outline of its aims and system J H Badley; Cambridge University Press, 1892
  • Notes and suggestions for Those who Join the staff at Bedales School J H Badley; Cambridge University Press, 1922.
  • Bedales: A Pioneer School J H Badley; Methuen, 1923
  • Bedales Since the War Geoffrey Crump; Chapman and Hall, 1936
  • English Progressive Schools Robert Skidelsky; Penguin, 1969
  • John Haden Badley 1865–1967 Giles Brandreth & Sally Henry; Bedales Society, 1967
  • Irregularly Bold: A Study of Bedales School James Henderson; Andree Deutsch, 1978.
  • The Public School Phenomenon Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy; Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1977
  • Bedales 1935–1965 Memories and Reflections of Fifteen Bedalians HB Jacks; The Bedales Society, 1978
  • Bedales School – The First Hundred Years Roy Wake, Pennie Denton. Haggerston Press, London, 1993

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