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Five year old opens new Art & Design building at Bedales


The school with the arts at its heart has opened its eagerly awaited new Art & Design building.

On Saturday 25 June, Bedales’ new two-storey timber clad building opened to cheers from parents and students in a ceremony incorporating an orchestra and choral singing as part of its annual Parents’ Day celebrations.

The building combines all the Art and Design disciplines taught at Bedales under one roof – painting and fashion, industrial design and sculpture, woodwork, jewellery, ceramics, print-making, sculpting and drawing. A large oak tree dominates the development and the building backs onto the Outdoor Work department, which the school hopes will encourage collaboration between disciplines and engagement with the outdoors.

A school fundraising campaign raised £1,157,000 towards the £4.5m Art and Design project. The architects were Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios who had previously designed the school’s award-winning timber-framed theatre which opened in 1997. Construction company Beard built the new facility.

The opening ceremony included speeches by Headmaster Keith Budge and Chair of Governors Matthew Rice. Music based on Charles Hamilton Sorley’s poem Expectans Expectavi was composed especially for the occasion by Director of Music Nicholas Gleed. Four students, one from each of the three Bedales Schools (Pre-prep, Prep and Senior) and alumni body, cut the ribbons covering the front of the building.

Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools, said:

“Last Saturday marked an exciting new chapter in Bedales’ Art & Crafts heritage. The event was a wonderfully fitting finale to the construction project which has enjoyed such fantastic collaboration between all those who helped create this beautiful new building, for which the school is immensely grateful. I particularly enjoyed our students’ involvement in the celebration: Bedales musicians provided a suitably inspiring start and it was fitting for one of our former students, Katie Shannon, to represent the Old Bedalian community – as a sixth former she led the student consultation for the building and is now reading Architecture at Edinburgh University. Star of the show, however, was five year old Bedales Pre-prep child Max who cut the ribbon and declared the building open with such aplomb.”

Other events on the day included a roaming barbershop quartet, orienteering challenges from the Geography department, science demonstrations, a photo exhibition of early Bedales in the library, a meet and greet with the livestock in Outdoor work, plant sale, a performance of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, alumni reunions and the final concert of the school year which provided a rousing finale to Parents’ Day 2016.

click here for more details or to contact Dunannie Nursery, Bedales