About us

Central to a Dunhurst education is the setting – as stimulating as it is picturesque. Sitting within a 120 acre estate, we are surrounded by the beautiful landscape of the rolling South Downs, which we take every opportunity to explore.

Our curriculum is broad, and our commitment to encouraging creativity unswerving – a consequence, in part, of the close relationships we foster between our pupils and the adults who care for and teach them. I firmly believe that young people should be encouraged to aim as high as they can whilst also enjoying their childhood, and benefitting from as many opportunities and experiences as possible. I actively encourage muddy knees! 

Whilst Dunhurst is about helping the individual to blossom, this is not pursued at any cost. It is about being yourself, but also about community and mutual respect. Remembering the important things in life – manners, kindness, and the wherewithal to get along with others – is also high on my list. Developing and maintaining strong relationships with our parents is key to this. I am proud to be headmaster of Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, and to share with you the delights of a forward thinking and ambitious school. We would love to show you around, so that you can see for yourself what a unique place Dunhurst really is. 

Latest news

07 Jun 2024

Bedales students take on new musical

Bedales School in Hampshire is preparing to stage an innovative new musical as part of a creative collaboration with the the award-winning composer behind the 'EastEnders' theme tune.

07 Jun 2024

Bedales students take on new musical

An innovative new musical, written by the award-winning songwriter and composer behind the EastEnders theme tune, is set to be performed at Bedales School in Hampshire in June as part of a creative collaboration.

Rehearsals for the production are in full swing as students from Years 6-12 at Bedales Prep and Senior schools prepare to perform Rick in June.

Written by Simon May, who is best known for writing the music that has top-and-tailed the BBC soap opera EastEnders for nearly four decades, Rick explores themes such as neurodiversity, self-confidence, and resilience.

It tells the story of a young boy, Rick, who walks out of his lead role in a school production after being teased by his fellow cast members. Locking himself in his room, he falls into a deep sleep and – in a plot twist inspired by the classic American folk story, Rip Van Winkle – doesn’t wake up for 100 years. As he adjusts to life in the 22nd century, Rick learns to embrace his unique abilities and develops the confidence to return and successfully perform in his school production.

Having built a successful career as a teacher and composer writing music for television, Rick is Simon’s second foray into musical theatre. It follows Smike, a lively rendition of Charles Dickens’ celebrated novel Nicholas Nickleby, which has been performed thousands of times in the UK and overseas and was adapted for television by the BBC in 1973.

In an unprecedented move for licensed musicals performed by schools, Simon has given Bedales the freedom to adapt Rick for the stage. Bedales Senior’s Head of Drama, Hayley Cole, is leading the project for a joint Senior and Prep school production that celebrates the School’s strengths in creativity and innovation in the arts.

With a creative team that includes Bedales Prep’s Director of Music, Matt Blunt, Head of Drama, Simon Kingsley-Pallant, Bedales Senior’s Head of Dance, Liz Wood, and Theatre Manager, Joanne Greenwood, Hayley has adapted Rick to fit the artistic vision of the Bedales community. This collaborative effort not only brings Simon’s work to life but also gives Bedales students exciting, hands-on experience in a workshop musical theatre production.

As momentum builds around the project, Bedales’ workshop adaptation of Rick is set to be showcased to a live audience of agents, theatres, and schools with two ‘scratch’ performances. Simon, impressed by the talent and commitment of the Bedales cast, musicians, and technicians, is looking forward to seeing the culmination of the project on stage in June.

Head of Drama Hayley Cole commented: “Collaborating with Simon May on Rick has been an incredible journey for Bedales students, offering them the chance to develop and perform a scratch musical from the ground up. This unique project has fostered leadership, creativity, and a sense of community across our Prep and Senior schools, showcasing the talent and enthusiasm of our students. We’re excited to see where these performances will take the musical next and hope they inspire further development and success.”

Simon May added: “The enthusiasm and creativity of the students have been truly inspiring, and I am excited to see how this workshop production will shape the future of Rick. I am grateful for the incredible effort from the entire Bedales team and thrilled to see where this journey will take us next.”

Rick will be performed at Bedales Olivier Theatre on 27-28 June 2024, 7.30pm. The production is open to all. Tickets are available to book here: https://www.bedales.org.uk/event/whole-school-show-rick

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21 Mar 2024

Bedales Pre-prep makes waves with Red Nose Day swimathon

Children at Bedales Pre-prep have exemplified the power of teamwork and compassion, raising £850 for Comic Relief through a sponsored swimathon and an energetic obstacle course.

21 Mar 2024

Bedales Pre-prep makes waves with Red Nose Day swimathon

In an impressive display of collective endeavour, children at Bedales Pre-prep raised £850 for Comic Relief by diving into action and taking part in a sponsored swimathon on Tuesday 12 March.

Children in Years 1-3 worked together to collectively swim a total 1,870 pool widths – equivalent to 18,870 metres – to raise money for the charity, which supports local community organisations in the UK and across the globe. The swimathon was a heartwarming demonstration of teamwork and perseverance, with the children supporting each other every stroke of the way.

Out of the water, the Pre-prep’s youngest learners in Nursery and Reception completed an obstacle course for their contribution, displaying determination and resilience as they completed as many laps as possible.

On Red Nose Day itself, children were invited to wear wearing something red to mark the occasion. The day also provided an opportunity for children to deepen their understanding of compassion and community by reflecting on ways to help others and hanging their own expressions of compassionate wishes – written on ‘red noses’ – on a ‘compassion tree’, symbolising how such wishes can serve as seeds from which acts of compassion grow.

Fiona Read, Head of Bedales Pre-prep, commented: “We are so proud of what the children have achieved – both the distance they swam and the obstacle course laps completed, and their united effort for such a worthy cause. This is testament to what can be achieved when a community comes together, filled with determination, boundless energy and a desire to make a positive difference to the lives of others."

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25 Sep 2023

Bedales’ Big Bursary Walk for the John Badley Foundation

Bedales held its annual 'Badley Day' on 20/09/23: a community day where the whole school comes together for a cause. This year students, staff and parents participated in a sponsored walk to raise money for the John Badley Foundation.

25 Sep 2023

Bedales’ Big Bursary Walk for the John Badley Foundation

Bedales held its annual ‘Badley Day’ on 20 September, raising funds and awareness for this year’s chosen charity: the John Badley Foundation (JBF). Students, staff and parents took the day’s wet weather in their stride to complete several sponsored walks covering over 5,000km, which has so far helped to raise more than £11,500 plus gift aid. The registered charity provides full bursary places for students in Block 1 (Year 7) to 6.2 (Year 13), widening the opportunity for young people to thrive in the unique educational environment at Bedales.

Named after the school’s founder, Badley Day is a community day celebrated by staff and students where members of the whole school come together in a collective endeavour for a cause. This year, 760 students, staff and parents set out on their walks in the scenic South Downs, totting up a distance of 5,000km in aid of the chosen charity, which has funded full bursaries for 29 children to date. Due to the extreme weather, walking routes had to be adapted. Students in the Sixth Form embarked on a 13km walk exploring the Ashford Hangers, near Froxfield, with younger Senior School students (Years 9 to 11) walking a slightly shorter route.

Students at Bedales Prep (Years 4 to 8) and Pre-prep (Nursery to Year 3) also contributed to the day’s combined distance by completing their own fundraising walk around the school’s estate. On their way round, the younger children paused at various activity stations set-up by 6.2 (Year 13) students, where they excitedly collected bee stamps and engaged in activities such as ‘pin the tail on the pig’ and tree bark rubbing.

In addition to the sponsored walks, another of the day’s highlights was the return of three former Bedales students: Roly Botha, Esme Allman and Albie Waterton, who were themselves recipients of full bursaries. Roly, an actor, composer and sound designer, Esme, a poet, theatremaker and facilitator, and Albie, an applications engineer in CAD design, were welcomed back to speak of their own experiences at Bedales. The former bursary holders offered their time to the whole school by delivering Q&A sessions to the Prep students, reading stories about community and friendship to Pre-prep children and speaking at the Senior School’s evening assembly. The trio spoke fondly of their time at Bedales and how the opportunities they had to pursue their interests have positively shaped their lives, as well as voicing their desire to give back to the school community.

Other events on the day included a talk on social mobility by Deputy Head (Co-curricular & Operations) Alex Kerr and a 50-year reunion lunch for Bedales alumni.

Older students rounded off Badley Day by participating in ‘Bedales’ Got Talent’, where 24 varied acts performed in front of an audience and panel of students and staff. The show highlighted the school’s array of talents with acts of magic, dance, contemporary music and a winning rendition of Candi Staton’s Nights on Broadway.

Following the day’s theme, the evening also welcomed JBF supporters to a reception to celebrate the charity’s progress and to hear of the ambitions to further expand the number of bursaries offered to young people.

Speaking about the day, Head Will Goldsmith, said:

“It’s amazing how much we can pack into a day when we take the students off-timetable to focus on a single cause. I was impressed how young people from Reception to Sixth Form all joined in and embraced the walking, fundraising and other activities. We have ambitious plans to double the number of fully funded places we offer to create more transformational opportunities for young people. This year’s Badley Day helped spread the word and mobilise support for this ambition.”

Tanya Darlow, Head of Development at Bedales added:

“It was wonderful to see the whole school get behind the John Badley Foundation and put the time and effort into understanding its work. I am delighted that students of all ages had the chance to meet Albie, Esme and Roly. I hope these encounters will stay with them in the years to come and inform their own philanthropic passions and endeavours. Thank you to all those who took part and donated.”

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