Educational attainment rates are excellent across the spectrum of Bedford’s schools. Performance standards are significantly higher than the national average, and levels are even higher at Bedford’s four renowned private schools (Bedford High School, Bedford School, Dame Alice Harpur School and Bedford Modern School), which are part of the Harpur Trust, the Bedford charity. Many of the local state schools, such as Sharnbrook and Wootton, are renowned for their academic success rates.
Education in the state sector is based on a three-tier system,with Lower Schools (ages 5-9), Middle Schools (ages 9-13) and Upper Schools (ages 13-18).
With the establishment of the Harpur Trust, an endowment made to the town in 1556 by Sir William Harpur, these schools are consistently able to attain pass rates in the high 90%’s at both GCSE and A-level standard.
Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council currently provide a shared service for School Admissions and will do so up until 31 July 2012.
Bedford Borough Council operates a three tier system of education. Children normally begin their primary education at a lower school which serves the area where they live i.e. the school serving the local catchment area. Children are normally admitted to lower school at the start of or during the Reception year, that is the school year in which they become 5. Many schools also have nursery units or nursery classes for younger children.
Children normally transfer at 9+ (the end of Year 4) to middle school serving the local catchment area and then at 13+ (end of Year 8) to the catchment area upper school. All upper schools have a 6th form and pupils may remain at the school up to the age of 18 or 19 years.