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Bedford High School for Girls - any knowledge or experience?

(60 Posts)
MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Feb-11 08:48:06

Was interested as they do the IB, and also close to grandparents if they end up boarding.

redskyatnight Fri 04-Feb-11 10:35:26

Don't have any personal knowledge ... but have posted to say that they are in the process of being merged with Dame Alice Harpur school (also a Harpur trust school for girls). The prep school has already merged (from Sept 2010) and the senior school will merge from Sept 2011. And the merged school (Bedford Girls' School) will not take boarders.

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 04-Feb-11 11:07:05

Well, that answers that one. Back to the drawing board. There is, unhelpfully, nothing about this on their website.

CheesedoffBedford Wed 20-Apr-11 20:12:09

Dear Mrsschadenfreude,
would look elsewhere if I were you, things aren't going too well, and that's before the senior school merged. Lots of girls have apparently left from High school to go to Bedford Modern. Have not heard a bad word about this school and very strong academically.
Girls from traditional catchment areas outside of Bedford going to alternatives such as Perse (Cambridge) Northampton High School and Kimbolton.

MillsAndDoom Wed 20-Apr-11 22:11:46

I was going to suggest Kimbolton if you want boarding or Northampton High School if you want a girls school.

Not sure which direction GPs are but there is also just outside MK

exclaremont Thu 12-May-11 21:38:24

Oh dear god don't go there. I went and was scarred for life. It was HORRIBLE. I then went to Kimbolton and had a great time - where would you rather be educated - next to a prison on a main road or in a Vanbrugh Castle with Adam gateway and more pubs than you could possibly believe for such a small town!

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 12-May-11 22:17:14

Right! That's Bedford crossed off my list. Have friends with DDs at Thornton, who are very happy with the school, so will have a think about that. Also thinking about having a look at Headington, and will look at Kimbolton too.

FozzieMK Mon 16-May-11 17:55:26

Given my own experience of Thornton I would look at Headington and Kimbolton first.

frogs Mon 16-May-11 19:41:00

Mrs S (are you the Mrs S who is friends with MI?) -- I would only choose Thornton if I had a dd who was a bit of a delicate flower, ie not excessively bright but in need of a lot of encouraging and nurturing to reach her potential. Headington is a COMPLETELY different kind of school -- PPH has a dd at headington, I think, though she posts under a different username now. She's still on FB I think. afaik they've been v. happy with H.

Kimbolton v. different again, though my info probably a bit out of date.

mrswoodentop Tue 17-May-11 08:47:36

Have you thought about St Helen and St Katherine in Abingdon or is that the wrong area ,we have friends who are very happy there ,they certainly used to do boarding.Or going the other way what about the cambridge schools

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 17-May-11 12:51:08

Frogs - yes! Have been in touch with PPH about Headington, and will definitely consider it.

Fozzie - oh dear - that doesn't sound great. Have friends with DDs at Thornton and they seem quite happy with it.

mrswoodentop Tue 17-May-11 14:08:08

Thornton is a lovely school but basically is not really for the academically able.I am sure it does have some very bright girls but is more for the gentle non academics I think

manicinsomniac Thu 19-May-11 22:31:10

Bedford has come in for a lot of criticism since the merger. At the prep school where I work at one family left for Bedford then came back!

We also lost several girls to Thornton at 11+. One has come back and I know of a few others who are planning to move on again or who have not settled well. I believe it is a lovely school though, just not for everyone (sport not that strong, only one drama production every other year etc).

manicinsomniac Thu 19-May-11 22:32:02

Have you thought about Bloxham or St Edwards?

ColdGlassofWine Sun 03-Jun-12 21:37:53

I'm replying a year after the original post but just wanted to give an update. Bedford High senior school has now been merged for a year and become Bedford Girls's School. It has gone from being a fantastic school to one which is truly appalling. The leadership is weak,the change in site has lead to atrocious facilities, huge class sizes and cost cutting at every opportunity. I don't know a parent who is happy with it. Don't touch with a barge pole , it's just not worth the money. Kimbolton, Bedford Modern, Northampton High would be far better choices for anyone living in this area.

JUBEE0412 Thu 09-Aug-12 10:58:43

Really couldn't disagree more with the comment above. The merger went seamlessly and my children within a week said they felt as if they'd been all together for years?! All of the parents I associate with also have had a good experience and are more than pleased with the leadership. I truly believe that when choosing a school for your child you need to see it for yourself anyway. This discussion just shows how opinions can be polar apart and you should trust your own instincts when deciding upon your daughters education.

FozzieMK Thu 09-Aug-12 15:41:24

I have a few friends with children at Bedford Girls, most of them are unhappy with the new school for the same reasons that ColdGlass lists. Quite a few girls from my daughters school used to go to either Dame Alice or Bedford High for sixth form, this year there is only one moving to Bedford Girls.

proudworkingmum Tue 14-Aug-12 16:03:53

Like JUBEE0412, I couldn't disagree more with the comments from ColdGlassofWine and FozzieMK, we think the new Bedford Girls School is fantastic.

The school has great facilities and vision - they've built a new purpose built music house and a friend on the PTA told me they're looking at a recital hall as well. Not only does the school have a swimming pool on site for PE lessons, but I believe they are keeping the old pool from the High School for elite swimmers for the next 10 years as well. There is a playing field is on site, which was not true for the old High School and they have access to another larger site a couple of miles down the road. The whole site is much more spacious and modern than the old High School which was landlocked next to the prison and didn't have a single blade of grass on site. The range of sports and the arts available to the girls is just fantastic (I wish I had the same opportunities, when I was at school!).

The Headmistress seems providing great leadership and direction to her team and they are focussing on girls' education by providing amazing opportunities such as offering both A Level and IB.

The thing we really noticed through the merger process is that the High School had very little computer equipment which we always felt was inappropriate for our girls in today's world. The new school has an interactive teaching board in every classroom and a virtual environment for homework and sharing ideas amongst the girls, the teachers seem really enthusiastic about using IT and how it can support the learning for their subjects.

We actually think the merger process which was unsettling for the girls and staff at both schools has been handled really well - none of our initial fears came to pass and the school is going from strength to strength. Both my girls have very close friends from both Dame Alice and the High School, there is no distinction now, it is very much one school.

If you're looking for a local school for your girls, you'd be doing yourself a real disservice to not look at Bedford Girls School and then decide for yourself which suits your girls best.

FozzieMK Wed 15-Aug-12 19:14:52

Well I guess you can only speak as you find proudworkingmum. As I said previously I have 4 friends with girls at the school who would completely disagree with your opinion. I also know parents at my daughters school who looked at Bedford Girls for 6th form and decided against it for virtually the same reasons that coldglassofwine stated. It doesn't hurt to pass on opinions to prospective parents so that they can be on the lookout when viewing schools. Personally I always find glowing reports slightly suspect.

50shades1 Wed 15-Aug-12 22:10:44

I'm afraid I was left with no option but to remove my daughter from Bedford Girls' school this summer term which I did not do lightly. I personally don't think the site is spacious , not when 1200 girls are crammed into it. My daughter had to queue to go up and down the stairs and at the end of the day rush to the lockers quickly to get anywhere near them , the girls call this 'locker crush' as the area is so overcrowded . Class sizes are 25 which i think is high for a private school.
When teachers were off sick on a number of occassions no supply
cover would turn up, when I complained about this to the deputy head I was told that it was impossible to know if a class had a teacher present if it was down the end of a corridor , friends and I listened to this comment in horror and suggest that a career change in PR would not be a good move for her ... The pool looks like some 1970's relic and the sports hall is from bygone era that I can't recognise. The sports facilities at the previous high school site were vastly superior . 17 members of staff left the school this summer term, sadly these tended to be the better ones and the fantastic head of the junior school left too ?!!!
I have many friends of ex high school girls who are desperately unhappy with the new school. The high school was a very special place with a distinct traditional ethos, gone are the days of singing Jerusalem, the new school has a projector that comes down and the girls clap like crazy to evangelical happy clappy songs- ahhhhh. My daughter was accosted by drunks when returning from the new music school which is down the road from the main site and during the summer term on the small patch of grass the school owns a man exposed himself and worse through the fence while a group of them enjoyed the sunshine !!!! So not the best year in my opinion !!! We're looking forward to moving on to pastures new in September.

thereinmadnesslies Wed 15-Aug-12 22:38:05

I went to Dame Alice ... It is devastating to hear that so much has been lost in the merger.

futureunknown Mon 20-Aug-12 07:25:44

I went to Bedford High back in the 1970s when it was very highly regarded. I was so proud of the place. Very sad to hear all this.

cheesedoffnow Wed 05-Sep-12 11:26:20

I also went to Dame Alice and am appalled at how the merger has been handled. By, the way, the person who commented on the swimming pool is spot on, my MOTHER helped to raise money to have it built when she was in the sixth form.

thereinmadnesslies Wed 05-Sep-12 16:02:19

cheesedoff when were you at DAHS? I left summer 1999.

cheesedoffnow Thu 06-Sep-12 10:13:36

Ooooh, much longer ago than that ... Having said that I was amazed that a couple of the teachers I had had were still there up to a year or two ago.

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