Schools in Bedfordshire area - any info gratefully received(12 Posts)
We are moving out of London to the Bedfordshire area, and looking at the schools. Anyone got experience of Bedford school vs Bedford modern. Also do you know if it's possible to take your own packed lunch to either of those schools...DS1 quite fussy and would quite like to have packed lunches as think it would ease the transition (probably being a bit over protective!)
Both are owned by the Harpur Trust - it owns all private schools in the area. They're like most average private schools. They're highly selective taking kids who were going to perform well irrespective of where they went. They're both very snobby. I know people who've sent kids there - do well academically, but come out with a bit of a chip on their shoulder.
A friend's dd has just started in Year 8 at Bedford Girls School. My dd has noticed that she is quite materialistic now - some of her BGS friends take £200 out shopping on a normal Saturday, for example.
Lots of people are v rich and she is feeling the pressure to keep up with them. Some bitching too. I don't like the materialism, and that would really put me off.
However, pastoral care in the school seems good. And class sizes are small.
Oh that doesn't sound very enticing. We want a great education for our kids but we are very down to earth people. My husband was educated privately but I went to state schools, so it's a bit alien to me. I thought that they would be a bit less like that outside of London!
Harpur Trust makes Beds a funny area - they cream off the top 5-10% with scholarships and then make their money off the rest of the intake.
Good schools in Beds outside private sector - Sharnbrook is always first choice and a very good school but transport can be an issue there. Wootton has gone down the pan rapidly over the last few years and was lucky to avoid special measures. Avoid Biddenham and Bedford Academy - really bad, the latter hard evidence that no matter how much you spend on a shiny campus and rebranding you just cant polish a turd. Mark Rutherford has a really rough intake and results reflect that. St Thomas More has a good reputation but is usually full and near impossible to get in to. New Free School a bit uncertain still and location is shocking. Kempston schools are reorganising but historically - well do not touch with a barge pole. Going further out - Samuel Whitbread is good, Cedars is good, Redbourne is good.
Thanks that's really useful. We are looking at both private and state but it can be tricky to get into the good state schools when you join after reception so want to have both options covered.
I actually live in Bedford, work in one of the local schools (and worked in another one for a number of years!) and attended 3 of them as a student!
Bedford modern is more down to earth (of your private school options) in my opinion - it's mixed sex, and it is less expensive than Bedford school which means that the students tend to be more middle class (and possibly more down to earth).
Sharnbrook is the best state school in terms of results, although it is massive and as a result can seem impersonal.
Honestly, I would avoid biddenham and Bedford academy, results and behaviour are pretty poor.
Thomas more and the free school are good schools according to ofsted, similar in terms of results at GCSEs, Thomas more is Catholic and the free school is small with quite strict discipline.
Wootton have historically been seen as good but seem to be struggling recently. Good results last year though.
To be honest, the best thing to do is go for tours of the schools, you won't be able to get an idea until you have a look round and talk to staff/students.
Try Olney. Good first and middle schools and afterwards ideally located for choice of private in Wellingborough, Northampton, MK or Bedford. My children went to Pilgrims and Bedford School, both were good for us. Would not have thought it would be possible to have a packed lunch. Btw, didn't think BedMod was part of Harpur Trust but maybe I am out of touch. Would also agree with the materialism comment though this is in most private schools and particularly girls schools.
Kimbolton is worth a look at if you want to go private.
Not all the info above is accurate. There are three non-Harpur Trust private schools in Bedford - Polam (up to Yr3), Rushmoor (junior to 6th, was boys only but now mixed) and St. Andrews (nursery to senior, was girls only but now mixed). Rushmoor and St. Andrews merged recently and they are not academically selective, unlike the HT schools.
All the HT schools are very impressive, but it's true that they cream off the most able and that artificially depresses the results of the state schools. My kids are at BGS (which they love) and I don't recognise the mega-rich label from above - all the parents we know are very down to earth. As usual, you should tour the schools and make your own decisions.
Oh, quick point of order - I went to Sharnbrook and it's a fantastic school too. Comparing my experience to my kids, I'd liken it to Campus (Sharnbrook, self-contained) vs whatever-non-Campus-is (HT, integrated within the town). I also like to quote a friend who grew up in Glasgow - "People in Bedfordshire have no idea what a bad school is". YMMV.
If you want a top state school try Redborne Upper School, rated outstanding as it has been for many Ofsted inspection and it deserves it too. If your children are younger then Robert Bloomfield middle school in shefford is another really good school and some children from there go to Redborne, this school also has great feeder lower schools that have a lovely village atmosphere.
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