Boarding and Day School for boys aged 7 - 18 years

ISI Inspection Report 

Executive Summary

The following is the school’s response to the ISI Inspection Report issued following Inspection in November / December 2010. It contains quotations from the main body of the report. To read it in full, please click here.


The report is of a ‘Standard’ Inspection: this means that the School was visited for a two day Inspection of compliance followed by a return visit a month or so later which focused on the delivery of education by the School. As well as checking the School met all regulatory requirements in full, the process is concerned with three main areas: the achievements of the boys, their personal development, and the impact of governance and management.

We are delighted with the outcome and are particularly pleased that the strong ethos of the School, the personal development of the boys and the rapport with staff are praised so obviously, alongside the ‘excellent’ rating for achievements inside and outside the classroom. Alongside the Ofsted Boarding Inspection rating of ‘outstanding’ (the equivalent of an ISI ‘excellent’), this is further pleasing affirmation of the School’s success. The School was found to be fully compliant with all regulatory requirements.

Main Findings

‘The quality of pupils’ overall achievements is excellent. Throughout the school pupils are well educated and enjoy a rich educational experience that reflects the school’s aims. The wide curriculum and extensive extra-curricular programme make an excellent contribution to pupils’ achievements and personal development.’

Bedford Prep

‘Pupils, including those with LDD or EAL, are attentive, concentrate well and from an early age demonstrate their ability to work independently, reason and think for themselves.’

‘The quality of pupils’ personal development is excellent. They thrive in a happy, caring and purposeful atmosphere. From the youngest in Year 3, pupils grow in confidence and the school buzzes with activity. Relationships throughout the school community are supportive, friendly and backed by clear expectations of behaviour.’

‘The quality of pastoral care is excellent, and effective systems identify and respond to individual needs. The experience of boarding makes an excellent contribution to personal development, growing independence and self-reliance.’

‘Governance is effective and strongly supportive of the school, ensuring that its aims are central to its work. Governors have good arrangements to oversee the work of the school and are ambitious for its continuing success. Teamwork at core management team (CMT) level is strong, and there is a powerful commitment to continuous improvement’

‘Links with parents, guardians and carers are excellent. The views of parents who responded to the pre-inspection questionnaire are overwhelmingly favourable across the full range of the school’s provision and arrangements. The inspection team agree with parents.’

The school is advised to make the following improvements:

1. Communicate more effectively to staff the school’s strategic vision.

2. Share best practice in teaching and learning across the whole of the school.


Other selected comments on the school:

‘led with great energy and passion’

‘Pupils . . . have excellent attitudes to learning’

‘Pupils display excellent levels of knowledge, understanding and skill’

‘Pupils’ educational experience is greatly enhanced by a rich and varied extracurricular programme of the highest quality, which is underpinned by dedicated staff and coaches’

Bushcraft CCF Iceland Trip

‘Pupils are polite, courteous and articulate, and are well grounded without arrogance.’

‘pupils are fiercely proud of their school’

‘Staff go out of their way to provide support in a friendly and approachable manner’

‘Relationships between staff and pupils are excellent and characterised by mutual respect and genuine warmth.’

‘Pupils have a heightened sense of the moral principles of right and wrong’

‘The curriculum is excellent in its coverage of all areas of learning. It is wide ranging, challenging and suitable for all ages, abilities and needs.’

‘excellent rapport between pupils and teachers was a common feature’

‘the excellent standard of behaviour and application to work demonstrated by the vast majority of pupils . . . is a significant strength of the school’

‘Pupils speak with confidence, expressing their ideas cogently, and they are good listeners’

‘Success arises from the pupils’ hard work and perseverance, and from the quality of teaching and sports coaching.

Prep Hockey Music Theatre Art on the Roof

‘overall quality of teaching is good and in a significant number of lessons it was excellent’

‘Throughout the school, pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is excellent’

‘Pupils have a strong sense of spiritual awareness’

‘Pupils are confident and grow in self-esteem . . . their self discipline and calm purpose are evident . . . mature in their outlook, pupils value the non-material aspects of life’

‘appreciation of the value of honesty is central to the school’s culture and enhanced by its code of sportsmanship.’

‘the school is an inclusive community where pupils look after one another and offer support to those having difficulties. This is at the core of the school’s value system’

‘Pupils demonstrate excellent social awareness. They are fine ambassadors for the school’

‘Opportunities for leadership and to take on responsibility are relished’

‘Cultural development is marked by the good relationships and interaction of pupils within the culturally diverse school community’

‘The quality of pastoral care, welfare, health and safety throughout the school is excellent . . . structures are tailored to the needs of pupils of different ages and provide valuable guidance that enables them to grow up to be confident and reliable young adults’

‘Sixth-form pupils are seen as older brothers. Pupils are open, friendly and considerate of one another, of teachers and of visitors.’

‘Pupils understand the school’s expectations for good behaviour. They said that harassment or bullying are not a cause for concern, and that these are dealt with promptly and effectively on the rare occasions they occur.’

‘The quality of boarding is excellent’

Boarding Boarding House Singing  

‘Boarders are happy, secure and well cared for’

‘Governors provide clear strategic guidance and . . . have a good insight into the present provision and future needs of the school’

‘the school community is vital and enthusiastic across the full range of its activities’

‘Consultation and teamwork are strong features of (the CMT’s) work, and there is a powerful commitment to continuous improvement and doing the best for pupils’

‘The school’s sense of community is strengthened by the effective work of the highly committed secretarial, administrative and other non-teaching staff who contribute much to the smooth running of the school’

The quality of the school’s links with parents, carers and guardians is excellent, strongly supporting pupils’ achievements and their personal development. The relationship is constructive and mutually supportive, promoting the school’s aims to develop a community of staff, boys and parents.

‘parents who replied to the pre-inspection questionnaire singled out for particular praise the curriculum, the extracurricular opportunities, the promotion of worthwhile attitudes and values, the management of the school and the provision of information . . . [they] did not raise any significant concerns.

Areas for Improvement

Alongside the two main recommendations for the report (see above), there are obviously areas for improvement that are mentioned, often implicitly, in the main body of the report. As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we will be systematically addressing each of these and reporting back to parents before the end of the Spring Term with a response to every point and on the action taken.

The report has some specific split of the Prep School and the Upper School in terms of comments where time allowed the Inspectors to reach more substantive separated judgements. The core management team will reflect on all elements of the report with reference to each part of the school.

We welcome any comments or feedback on the report and thank all those involved: parents, boys, staff and Governors.

John Moule
Head Master

January 2011

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Bedford School is part of The Harpur Trust: a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England: Company No. 3475202.
Registered Office: Pilgrim Centre, Brickhill Drive, Bedford, MK41 7PZ. Registered Charity No. 1066861.