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Bedales/Dunhurst - current parent's views

(6 Posts)
MuminHampshire Wed 21-Oct-15 12:54:05

I would really like the views of current or recent Bedales or Dunhurst parents as we are thinking of moving DS there.

He is currently in Year 6 at a very sporty prep-school. He is bright and interested in science/DT/history/computing/drama/art (not amazing at the drama and art, more of a keen interest but then there is very little opportunity at his current school) however he hates all the team sports. So much of the school day is taken up with it and it seems everything especially friendships seems revolve around how good you are at sport. He has very few close friends - he is not overly bothered by this, more like he feels he just doesn't seem to be on anyone's wavelength. He is fairly quirky/eccentric and mature for his age and has some mild issues with writing but does not have any specific learning difficulties. He is very well behaved at school.

We have looked round both Bedales and Dunhurst and really liked both of them and think it would suit him in terms of subjects available, learning style, wider variety of activities other than compulsory team sports etc etc. I would really appreciate some parents' views on what the school is like currently (particularly pastoral care for children who don't mix well socially) and views on whether it would be a good fit for DS based on my description.

Also, what is it like for day pupils versus boarders? He may want to board from Year 9 but we would have to play it by ear (we live locally so not an issue). I know there are a fair few day pupils, just wouldn't want him to miss out or be seen as odd for not boarding.

My other concern is the reputed unstructured nature of the school - he does struggle sometimes to be motivated to do school work outside of school so I have a slight concern that if left to his own devices too much he may not put much effort in. Is the school really like this? From the Open Day it seemed that this is more of a reputation than the reality and we were told pupils get plenty of monitoring and support, but would be interested to hear current views.

Any views from people with experience of the school, good or bad would be really appreciated.

Devilishpyjamas Wed 21-Oct-15 20:08:15

Sorry not your target but I have a quirky year 6 boy & have put down as first choice a school that reminds me of bedales. He is self motivated though.

I think with these slightly different schools you will find others opinions very polarised. I feel we're taking a bit of a risk with our first choice school, but also feel strongly that it's a risk worth taking (as it potentially offers something really different in a very worthwhile way). If it looks as if things are going pear shaped we will intervene in some way (change of school/tutoring/whatever) but my hope is that ds3 will blossom there.

Devilishpyjamas Wed 21-Oct-15 20:11:01

I did teach someone previously at bedales years ago btw & he complained about the unstructured teaching. He wasn't particularly focussed in my very structured class though grin He was a very charming/kind/reliable/thoughtful young chap though.

MuminHampshire Thu 22-Oct-15 12:51:19

Thanks Devilishpyjamas, all info useful at this stage!

trinity0097 Fri 23-Oct-15 13:48:50

Have you considered other prep schools in the area that may be a better fit, yet also provide the more structured environment that you think he would benefit from?

Where I teach we have some very sporty kids, but equally some that hate team sports and are on the more quirky side, no-one is forced to do contact rugby, but they all do the drills as a way of improving hand eye coordination and improving fitness for example.

Which year group is your son in and where do you live?

MuminHampshire Fri 23-Oct-15 17:19:45

We have thought of that but he is now in Year 6 so we are already thinking of his next school and as we are considering Bedales thought Dunhurst would make most sense rather than another Prep school for last 2 years. But we are aware that doing that would then (I believe) make it more difficult to move to him a different Senior School at Year 9. Would be interested to hear any suggestions though. We live between Winchester and Petersfield.

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