Ofsted’s Annual Report has confirmed Bedford Borough schools’ excellent standards, with an extremely high proportion of schools recognised as good or outstanding. 94% of all Bedford Borough schools (deemed primary or secondary) have been judged good or better for overall effectiveness. In terms of rankings, this places Bedford Borough 2nd in the region for primary pupils and 7th in the region for secondary pupils. Bedford Borough is home to the prestigious Harpur Trust family of independent schools which include Pilgrims PrePrep School, the Bedford Girls’ School, Bedford Modern School and Bedford School for boys. The schools offer an impressive and broad range of educational opportunities, collectively educating approximately 3,600 pupils, aged 3 months to 18 years.
In addition to running the schools, The Harpur Trust also support and promote other educational opportunities within the Borough of Bedford through grants programmes, joint initiatives with maintained schools, sponsorship opportunities or by accepting invitations to sit on school governing bodies and trusts.
They are also proud sponsors of Bedford Academy, a state funded independent school for students aged 11 to 18 with state of the art facilities and a dynamic and innovative approach to learning.
Bedford is also home to a number of other Independent Schools including St. Andrew’s and Rushmoor. Founded in 1896, St Andrew’s is a small Independent School with a co-educational Nursery and Junior School and a girls’ Senior School. St Andrew’s provides an education which combines traditional values with the best of current practice. Rushmoor which offer co-educational Nursery and Junior Schools as well as Senior Schools. Rushmoor is a school of mixed ability, race, creed and social backgrounds, reflecting both the nature of Bedford and the position of the school within the independent educational provision of the area. The diversity of the school is one of its strengths.
The St Francis of Assisi Academies Trust is a Multi Academy Trust which encompasses Bedford’s Catholic Schools. All the Trust schools possess either a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating. And, in 2011 St Thomas More was one of the first 100 schools nationally to be designated as a Teaching School.
One of the country’s top performing Free Schools is also situated right in the heart of the town. Bedford Free School is a secondary school taking students from Year 7 upwards. Within three years of opening it posted the second highest GCSE results in the Borough.
The successful Sharnbrook Academy Federation has consistently produced top results and prides itself on high academic standards which have been recognised on many occasions by Ofsted. Bedford Borough has a range of choices for higher education, including both A-Level and apprenticeships. Many Bedford Borough schools’ have sixth forms attached which offer a wide variety of options and courses.
Alternatively The Bedford Sixth form is an institution which is solely dedicated to sixth form choices – providing A-Level and BTEC study to full-time students.
For those looking to further their education, Bedford boasts one of the best Further Education Colleges in the country. Linked to international employers and offering a wide range of part-time and full-time courses including apprenticeships and degree-level study. The University of Bedfordshire has one of its campuses’ located in Bedford. The University offers four faculties as well as undergraduate, postgraduate and foundation degrees and also runs a number of Healthcare short courses and training programmes for prospective teachers.