In 2008 Badminton celebrated the 150th anniversary of its foundation in 1858. The School was started by Mrs Miriam Badock to educate girls, many of whose parents lived abroad, and to offer girls the same educational opportunities as their brothers. Even in its early days, the curriculum at Badminton was broad and extra-curricular activities, including sport, were encouraged, very unusually for girls in the mid 19th century.
The School grew steadily in size and in 1924 moved from Badminton House in Clifton to its present site, under the Headship of Miss Beatrice May Baker. Miss Baker was fundamental in shaping Badminton’s ethos. She encouraged the girls to be aware of world affairs and internationalism. She was a pioneer in many educational fields, insisting on the rights of young people to freedom of expression and encouraging a questioning approach to learning. The international outlook she pioneered continues to this day.
Badminton girls still take part in Model United Nations and Politics Conferences, just as their predecessors took part in the Peace Conferences and League of Nations student meetings of the 1930s.
In 1958, the school celebrated its centenary with the opening of the new Science Centre by Countess Mountbatten of Burma. Dame Sybil Thorndike was President of the School at that time and a new cantata called “The Crown of the Year” by Michael Tippett was specially commissioned to mark the event.
In the last 50 years, Badminton’s successive Head Teachers and Governors have all continued to stay true to the original educational ideals and principles of its founders. Regular reviews of the curriculum are undertaken to maintain the provision of a broad education based on intellectual challenge and plenty of scope for individual growth. Extra-curricular activities are encouraged and pupils and staff are busy people.
Continuity with the past is coupled with the on-going development of facilities to ensure that the girls continue to live and work in modern and well-equipped surroundings. The building of Sanderson boarding house, the indoor swimming pool, the Sixth Form Centre and is subsequent extension, the Music School, the Creative Arts Centre, the all-weather pitch and new Fitness Centre and the refurbishment of Bartlett House for Junior Boarders have all added to the quality of life and educational provision at Badminton without compromising on the beauty of the campus.