In the penultimate week of term, 67 pupils from Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst -comprising the entire block of Year 8 pupils – spent a day helping businesses across Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex as part of the school’s annual work shadowing day.
The first experience of the world of work for the majority of pupils, the day provided them with an opportunity to build relationships within the community independently of school and home, and also the chance to learn new skills.
The participating businesses varied greatly, ranging from local shops including Tesco, Rhona Russell, No Added Sugar, Sports Locker, Owen’s Cycles and One Tree Books, to local schools including Steep Primary, Bedales and Dunannie. Pupils interested in nature spent the day outdoors at farms and Queen Elizabeth Country Park and West Dean Gardens, while others worked with animals at Amberley Kennels, Canine Partners and the Cats Protection League.
One student, Rory Browne, spent the day at Bedales Senior School to understand how the school manages its external communications. He visited Petersfield to interview other students on their work shadowing assignments and took photos, before returning to the office to write a short article:
Anastasia Sheldon worked at The Blacksmith’s Daughter, a florist in the centre of Petersfield. She spent the day learning about the different types of flowers, before arranging them and wrapping them. She also worked on flowers for a wedding which took up most of her day. She said the whole experience was “really good”.
Molly Beardall worked in the next door shop, Cocoa Moon chocolate shop. She learnt how to welcome customers into the shop; she loved using the price tag machine, selling the delicious ice cream and filling boxes with chocolates. But the highlight of her day was making the gift boxes which were full of chocolate and neatly put together with ribbons and cellophane. Her one quote was ‘Fun!’
Felix Delano, who worked at Petersfield Exhaust Tyre Services “enjoyed every minute”. He learnt how to change exhausts and tyres and helped with MOTs.
Tilly Excell worked at Sue Ryder, a charity shop. She did things like arranging and pricing items, and dressing mannequins. She needed to have very good organisation skills as the day was full on. The shop’s manager said “She’s been fantastic” and Tilly revealed “that is was better than I expected”.
The experience resulted in the majority of the year having fun and getting an idea of what a day at work is like.
Jane Grubb, Dunhurst Head, commented:
“We are so grateful to the local businesses for providing this really valuable experience for our senior pupils at Dunhurst. The pupils have been fully involved in communicating with their placement hosts and getting ready for the day. Work shadowing is not so much about trialling a possible future career path but about experiencing someone else’s professional life and seeing inside a working environment. The pupils return with so many stories to tell and are always very positive about what they have gained from the day. It is almost a rite of passage and such an important part of the final stages at Dunhurst before they move on to Bedales.”
Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.