Bedford is a boarding school, first and foremost, with boarders and day boys alike benefitting from the strong boarding ethos. With 250 boys and around 40 staff living full-time on-site, the boarding community gives a heartbeat to the school in a way that nothing else can. The school lives, and permanently.

Whilst over 80% are from the UK, boys at Bedford School represent over thirty different nationalities which gives us a truly global outlook, something which equips boys well as they move forward in their lives.

Boarders make up around a third of the population of the Upper School and fill one specialised boarding house in the Prep, and their presence sets the tone for much of what drives the school.

From a practical perspective, the working week is longer, with Saturday school being an integral part of our set-up from Year 6 onwards. This extended week affords greater time to explore the countless opportunities that just would not be possible in a day school environment. It also allows for the school day to be less frantic and more evenly paced for the boys, which results in a calmer and more productive environment.

Our staff are appointed not only on their ability to teach and inspire in lessons but also on their commitment and drive to get involved with the wider curriculum beyond the classroom. We believe passionately that the interaction between teaching staff and boys outside the classroom is what makes our school environment and community so special. We are blessed with outstanding facilities, but it is the people, and the way in which they interact with the boys, who make Bedford such an excellent school.

Extending that involvement into the evening and across weekends means that staff really do get to know boys well and thoroughly understand what makes them tick. The bonds formed through time spent together, both inside and outside the classroom, lead to enhanced pupil/teacher relationships, across both boarding and day, providing benefits far beyond those achievable in a purely day environment.

We look to nurture each and every boy as an individual. Every child is different and should be celebrated for his own uniqueness. With our specialist knowledge of boys, of living with them 24/7, we have a real understanding and consequent ability to get the best out of all of them. And above all we want them to enjoy their time with us, to love their childhood because they only get it once.

It is our belief that every boy should be happy and successful, in that order, and our strong boarding ethos is fundamental to achieving this result.

In the Prep School

Within the Prep School, all boys join one of four houses: Bunyan, Harpur, Howard or Whitbread. In their houses, our younger and older boys happily mix together, learning from each other, enjoying a shared sense of belonging and, of course, friendly competition across all areas of school life from music to sport to fundraising, all for the hotly contested house cup. 

For our full, weekly and flexi-boarders, Eagle House is their home from home in the Prep School. Nestled right in the heart of the school grounds, Eagle House not only offers boys a place to relax and feel at home at the end of the school day, but a place to grow securely surrounded by an extended family of boys, Houseparents, Assistant Housemaster, Resident Tutor, our Matrons and of course the family pet, Wikket the dog. Boys can become weekly boarders from Year 3 and full boarders from Year 5. 

Eagle House also offers families of our day boys a flexible range of wraparound care options as well as occasional boarding. 

Find out more about Prep School boarding

In the Upper School

The house system continues in the Upper School, with six day houses and six boarding houses, each with its own distinct character, history and traditions. We operate an unusual system of ‘twinning’ which links each boarding house to a day house and encourages friendships to grow between boys across the school as they share strong bonds and invaluable experiences.

  • Ashburnham, twinned with Sanderson’s
  • Bromham, twinned with Burnaby
  • Crescent, twinned with Pemberley
  • Paulo Pontine, twinned with Redburn
  • St Cuthbert’s, twinned with Phillpotts
  • St Peter’s, twinned with Talbot’s

Within their house, boys also belong to a tutor group. These are organised vertically so that each includes two or three boys from each year group within the school.  This familial structure allows new pupils to develop alongside boys further along in their educational journey.  Acting as role models, older students adopt positions of responsibility and help younger boys to learn and thrive. And they all benefit from sharing their experiences, expertise and skills – older boys learn to mentor and younger boys learn what lies ahead.

To ensure continuity of care, each boy’s tutor remains the same throughout his time at the school. This long-term relationship allows each boy and his tutor to build strong bonds and a high degree of trust. Tutors follow each boy’s academic progress closely and, in partnership with parents, provide direct and individual support and guidance. 

Each day house in the Upper School is a tight-knit community with a Housemaster, House Tutors and Matron, all of whom are dedicated to ensuring the boys in their care thrive. Tutor groups meet daily and Housemasters and matrons are also available each day, giving boys the opportunity to discuss their progress and raise any academic or pastoral issues. Housemasters work closely with each boy’s tutor and stay in regular contact with parents. This close communication aids the development of pupils and promotes safety and wellbeing for all.

During the day, each house offers boys a place to meet friends and relax at break times, store bags in lockers, change for games and organise house teams. The houses all have full recreational facilities, including a common room, games room and locker room. There is also a kitchen area in each house for Sixth Form boys, and all our houses are equipped with pool tables, TVs and games consoles.

Our six boarding houses in the Upper School are situated either on the boundary of the school estate or within five minutes’ walk. Each house is distinctive, a genuinely warm and welcoming community with a character of its own.  Offering both weekly and full boarding, the houses are integral to the fabric of the school and offer boys the richest possible experience.

“If I could talk to younger boys now, I’d tell them to start doing it then (Year 9) so that you get as much time as possible doing it”
OB Boarder

While most families choose to board upon entry into the Fourth Form (Year 9) or Sixth Form, boys can opt to board at any time during their education at the school, and indeed change status from day to boarding, subject to availability. 

If you would like to enquire about boarding for your son, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Admissions team to find out more or for an informal conversation.

Find out more about boarding in the Upper School