Bedford Girls’

Bedford Girls’
School Type:
Bedford Girls’ School, Cardington Road, Bedford MK42 0BX
MK42 0BX
01234 361900
980, Upper sixth 65
The Registrar

Formed in 2012 from a merger between Bedford High School (founded in 1882 as a sister school to Bedford School) and Dame Alice Harpur (1882) – all part of the Harpur Trust. The school has modern buildings with gardens and playing fields, on a riverside site. Non-denominational Christian values of caring, understanding and respect for others are fundamental to the ethos of the school. Pupils come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The International Baccalaureate is now offered in addition to AS and A-level courses. Academic standards are high and examination results are accordingly very good. A wide range of subjects is offered, from traditional disciplines including Latin and Greek, to music technology and ICT skills. There is a strong commitment to the expressive arts including dance. Sports and games are well catered for (including trampolining and judo) and pupils play for county and regional teams; rowing is a particular strength. Numerous clubs and activities cater for most needs and there is keen participation in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Many activities, such as debating, music, drama, and CCF are joint with Bedford School.

School Head:
Head: Miss Jo Mackenzie, in post from 2010. Educated in Australia. Previously Deputy Head at Ipswich High School and taught geography and economics at several GDST schools.
GCSE: 90 pupils in Year 11, 99% gaining at least grade C in 8+ subjects. A-levels: 65 in upper sixth. Of the 80% taking A-levels, 28% passed in 4+ subjects, 70% in 3 subjects, with an average final point score of 357. The 20% pupils taking the IB gained an average of 36 IB points.
91% of sixth form leavers go on to a degree course (4% after a gap year), 5% to Oxbridge. 10% take medical and related courses, 22% in maths, science and engineering, 3% in law, 28% in humanities, social sciences and languages, 18% in vocational subjects such as architecture, education, management, business studies, 6% in music and performing arts. A further 3% of sixth formers typically go on to a non-degree course, eg art foundation, prior to a degree.
Music: Over 50% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Some 15 musical groups including choirs, orchestras, woodwind, wind, big bands, madrigal group, brass, strings, flute ensembles. Performances in Berlin on exchange visits. Girls regularly record BBC school music programmes. Drama and dance: Both offered and available to GCSE and A-level; LAMDA, RAD, ISTD exams may be taken. Many pupils are involved in school productions, and biennial dance concert. Art and design: Options in graphic design, textiles, ceramics, drawing and painting. Close co-operation with design technology department.
Some 15+ sports available, including swimming, hockey, netball, rowing, yoga, show jumping, self-defence. Many county, regional, and some national representatives in tennis, hockey, netball, lacrosse, athletics, rowing and swimming. Also bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; CCF (joint with Bedford School); community service. Up to 40 clubs, including computer, swimming, trampolining, gymnastics, judo, Christian Union, languages, design and technology, rock band, art, chess, junior writers, public speaking, classics, chemistry, Young Enterprise.
Bedford High School Guild and the Dame Alice Harpur School Association can be contacted via the school website.
Rosemary Rapaport (violinist), Steph Cook (pentathlete), Thea King (clarinetist), Dora Carrington (painter); Jean Muir (fashion designer); Sue Beardsmore (TV presenter); Loo Brealey (actress); Gail Emms (Olympic badminton player).