History of Beaudesert

Beaudesert Park stands in beautiful grounds high up in the Cotswolds, commanding magnificent views over the surrounding countryside.
The School was founded in 1908 by Harry Richardson, in a country house in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, named after a Normandy castle nearby. It was a boarding school for just 30 boys, charging around 100 guineas per year.

With a vision for a larger school in their sights, the School moved to its present site adjacent to Minchinhampton Common in 1918. The private residence featured a Victorian mock Tudor mansion, known as ‘The Highlands’, and 30 acres of land surrounding.

In the decades since, the School expanded, taking on more pupils and purchasing outbuildings to cater for the School’s growing population. In 1921, the Richardsons bought 10 acres of land from the National Trust to serve as the School’s Playing Fields, which are just a short walk across the Common.

Harry’s son, Austin, joined as joint Headmaster of the School in 1934. His other son, Barton, took over from Harry in 1950 when he passed away. The brothers were later joined by brother-in-law Vincent Keyte, giving the School three Headmasters.

In 1968, Beaudesert Park became an educational trust and a board of governors was appointed. The trust bought the house and grounds from the family and soon after, in 1970, John was appointed as the School’s one and only Headmaster.

This was a period of transformation for Beaudesert. Under John’s watchful eye, day children were accepted and weekly boarding was introduced. A small number of girls had attended Beaudesert previously (family members of staff), but girls were officially accepted in 1981, and the Pre-Prep department was opened in 1987. What began as 80 boarding boys became 80 boys, 80 girls, 80 day pupils and 80 Pre-Prep children by 1995.

An extraordinary amount of redevelopment and building work took place under John tenure, as the school expanded to house its growing population. This included new science laboratories, an extension of the Pre-Prep and an indoor swimming pool.

James Womersley took over as Headmaster after John retired, and brought the School into the 21st century. His headship saw the School switch from a majority full boarding, to day and weekly boarders. Beaudesert Park was one of the first schools in the country to launch flexi-boarding, allowing families to choose which nights they boarded.

The School launched its nursery in 2012, and its state-of-the-art Performing Arts Centre was opened in 2015.

Since 2018, Chris Searson has taken the reins at Beaudesert Park, steering the ship through the covid years and looking ahead to Beaudesert’s bright future.

Gloucestershire’s biggest independent prep prides itself on being non-selective. Any child can thrive here.

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