Archive for the ‘Bedales’ Category
Bedales School – a progressive, co-educational public school in the heart of Hampshire – is well-known for its famous alumni. Lily Allen, Sophie Dahl and Minnie Driver were all educated there, and celebrity parents include Mick Jagger, Jude Law, Jeremy Paxman and Boris Johnson.
Such an institution, and such a clientele, will inevitably attract media attention. It is no surprise, therefore, that the school frequently has to endure the ignominy of having its dirty laundry made public. When six students were thrown out for drugs offences last year, the story made the national headlines; when two more were expelled last summer for “having sex in a sandpit,” it caused even more of a furore.
The novelist Amanda Craig – who herself went to Bedales forty years ago – was among the most vociferous critics of her former school. Writing in the Daily Mail, she recounted how she was sexually assaulted by a gang of boys while walking back from an evening assembly. From then on, she writes, she was “relentlessly bullied,” and became “tense, white-faced and desperately lonely.”
Last week, as Bedales’ writer-in-residence, I had the opportunity to assess it from the inside. I spent five days leading workshops, speaking to the literary societies, meeting children of all ages for one-to-one tutorials, lecturing and advising staff. And although I concede that my time there was limited, what I saw had little in common with the Bedales of Amanda Craig four decades ago. Continue reading on the Independent website