Bedford School: Exploring Reviews, Rankings, Fees, And More

Welcome to our comprehensive review of Bedford School, an esteemed independent boarding and day school for boys aged 7 to 18. Nestled in the heart of Bedford on a picturesque estate, this historic institution blends tradition with modernity to offer exceptional education and character development. Join us as we delve into its academic excellence, various extracurricular activities, and vibrant community life, uncovering what truly sets Bedford School apart.


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Key Features of Bedford School

  • Local authority: Bedford (1.5 hours from Heathrow Airport)
  • Established: 1552
  • Pupils: 1,111 boys, aged 7 to 13 for Prep and 13-18 for the Upper School
  • Gender: Boys
  • Ages: 7 – 18
  • Fees: Day: £25,695 Boarding: £42,015 – £44,238 pa
  • Recognition: Five Star Rating within Fortune’s World’s Leading Boarding Schools of 2023, Winner – Independent Boy’s School of the Year (2021)

Bedford School Results

GSCE Results (2023): 

  • 46% achieved grades 9 – 8
  • 69% achieved grades 9 – 7

A-Level Results (2023):

  • 44% achieved grades A* – A
  • 72% achieved grades A* – B

International Baccalaureate (IB) Results (2023): 

  • Average score of 35

Boarding Experience in Bedford School

At Bedford School, the boarding experience is designed to be both comfortable and enriching, truly a home away from home. With six senior boarding houses, four located on-site and two just a short walk away, each adapted Victorian villa has its own unique character. These houses are bright, roomy, and exude a welcoming, fraternity house feel that immediately puts boys at ease. 

Each boarding house accommodates between 32 and 54 boys, with dormitories varying from single rooms for upper sixth formers to shared spaces for up to six students. The housemasters and assistant housemasters, who live on-site with their families, are highly praised for their approachability and dedication.

Communal areas within the houses are attractively arranged, achieving a cosy atmosphere despite accommodating numerous sofas in a single room. The boys have plenty of entertainment options, including Xboxes, pinball machines, pool tables, and chess tables, ensuring there’s something for every interest.

Boarders follow a structured routine with roll calls and two hours of prep each night, divided into two sessions. This helps maintain discipline and keeps the boys well-informed. Many boarders are former day boys who opted for boarding to avoid the daily commute, enjoying the freedom to come and go throughout the day. With around 65% of the boarders being full-time, weekends are very lively indeed.

The boarding community at Bedford School is diverse, with students from local areas and international backgrounds, representing 24 countries across Europe, Asia, and Russia. This mix adds to the vibrant and dynamic environment. While the compulsory Saturday school might be a surprise to some, it ensures that the boys are kept engaged and productive.

Extracurricular Activities in Bedford School

Bedford School offers an impressive range of activities that cater to a wide variety of interests, ensuring every student finds a passion to pursue.

  • The modern music centre was designed by award-winning architect Eric Parry. The music programme features choirs, orchestras, bands, and ensembles, including the renowned 50-strong chapel choir. The facilities are top-notch, with a music technology suite, recording studio, rock room, and recital hall. 
  • The school’s theatre is an architectural marvel, built on the site of a former Moravian church. With its own box office, reception area, bar, seating area, and grand piano, it seats over 280 and is a bustling hub of dramatic activity. The theatre hosts events ranging from BedFringe, a mini Edinburgh festival, to a 10-day July festival celebrating everything from comedy to jazz. 
  • The stunning artwork displayed around the school demonstrates the boys’ comfort with the printing facilities. The Design Technology (DT) department is equally impressive, encouraging students to solve real human needs with innovative projects such as a laptop cooler, bike work stand, thermo-kettle, and self-heating baby bottle. Notable projects include a lamp designed for a children’s hospital and a beautifully crafted wooden box for a boy’s grandfather with dementia. 
  • From the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and shooting club to electric guitar and debating society, there’s something for everyone. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is popular, and the CCF offers all three branches in conjunction with Bedford Girls’ School. 
  • The school has in place a close relationship with the Bedford Astronomical Society. This allows students to have a first hand experience in the field of astronomy, especially those that are interested. 

Admissions Process: Entering Bedford School

The admissions process at Bedford School is designed to welcome a diverse range of students while maintaining high academic standards. Each year, around 60% of the 140 boys who join Year 9 transition from Bedford Prep School. For the remaining 50 or so places, feeder schools include Aldwickbury, Beechwood Park, Kingshott, and Lockers Park, along with students from the state sector.

Prospective students have the option to take the ISEB pre-test in Year 6 or 7, which can lead to a conditional offer. This offer is then confirmed by Bedford School’s own online entrance examination in Year 8. There are a few additional places available at 14+, for those looking to join the school later.

For those interested in joining the Sixth Form, about 25 places are available each year. Applicants need to have achieved six good GCSEs, with at least grade 6 in the subjects they wish to study at A Level or for the International Baccalaureate (IB). For more demanding subjects such as maths, computer science, and sciences, a grade 7 or higher is required, in addition to a minimum of grade 5 in maths and grade 4 (or 5 for IB) in English.

SEN Support at Bedford School

The school is equipped to handle a wide variety of special educational needs, including but not limited to:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Aspergers
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia

Bedford School Testimonials and Reviews

Despa Cheato

Actually a really good school all the teachers are great and there are amazing facility’s available the only thing I would change is removing Saturday school. I understand Saturday school is a key part of the school and is going no where in a long time but it truly draws the life out of you knowing that everyone else is enjoying themselves, sleeping in or playing games with their friends while you’re stuck in biology being shouted at not to fall asleep .that feeling over the course of years people spend at this school gradually gets worse until it starts affecting much more of your life than just school, some people seem to have no trouble with it so maby I’m just weak in that way


Lovely venue & very helpful staff!

Charlotte Denny
Watched a few cricket matches here. Has lovely grounds
Ngozi Enwere


Frequently Asked Questions

Boarding schools in the UK are educational institutions where students reside on campus, away from their homes. These schools offer full-time boarding options, where students live and study during term time, typically returning home during holidays.

Boarding schools offer a nurturing and immersive educational experience. Benefits include a structured environment for academics, access to a wide range of extracurricular activities, the development of independence and life skills, and a close-knit community that fosters lifelong friendships.

No, boarding schools in the UK welcome students from all over the world. Many schools have a diverse student body with students from various countries.

Boarding schools prioritise the safety and well-being of their students. They have trained staff, supervision protocols, health services, and designated staff members to address students’ emotional and social needs.

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