Situated in the Sussex village of Upper Dicker, with glorious views of the South Downs, Bede’s co-ed day and boarding school (there’s a nursery and prep too) is phenomenally proud of its inclusive, non-selective status. It tops the league table for value-added and aims to unlock the potential of each of its 760 pupils – bright-as-a-button academics, the super-sporty, the artistically talented – and help them cross the educational finish line.
This is partly thanks to its flexible academic options: in Year 9, a carousel of ‘The World’ lessons means that politics, religion and philosophy are taught alongside core subjects; in the sixth form, pupils can take pre-U, A-levels or BTECs in areas such as music technology and animal management (Bede’s has a zoological society – unsurprisingly, the school zoo, which is home to everything from snakes to squirrel monkeys, is incredibly popular).
Then there’s the Legat Dance Academy for keen movers who dream of becoming professional; an extensive training programme for elite sportsmen and women; and a wonderful activities programme that ranges from creating a sustainable garden to restoring classic cars. Drama is great; music superb.
This all reflects South African head Peter Goodyear’s holistic take on education (he is approachable, according to our source, and really listens on issues such as uniform changes, which were put to a vote). About 300 pupils board in five houses, each arranged in family-style groups of 10 that span different years.
More community-minded than competitive, this is a nurturing environment where children can really bloom....
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