About Us

A brief history of Bedford Free School

Bedford Free School (BFS) is a state school set up by teachers, families and other members of the community in 2012. The founders were determined to make a positive difference to the educational landscape.

We continue to exhibit that determination in all that we do.

Like all state schools, BFS is open to all pupils regardless of income or ability. We are regulated and inspected by Ofsted, enter our students for GCSEs, and have our exam results published in league tables.

So just like all other schools, the performance of BFS is closely monitored to assure parents that their children are being provided with a high standard of education.

But there are some key differences that we believe make BFS so distinctive. Back in 2012, concerned parents and education professionals in the local community campaigned for something new in a school for Bedford and Kempston. Parents said they wanted their children to experience a better education, with smaller year groups, longer school days that fit in with modern family life, and a real commitment to getting learning right.

BFS was that school – founded and shaped by local people.

The first Principal (2012-2017), Mark Lehain, is local. He sends his oldest children to BFS, and his maxim – that if it is not good enough for his own children, it is not good enough, is shared by  all staff members.

BFS, shaped by the parents and the educational teams who support it, has freedom to direct resources where they are most needed, but also to design a curriculum which supports each student as an individual.

At BFS, we regularly receive visitors from all over the country. In 2017-8, over 150 school leaders visited BFS to see what makes it unique. We share everything, and ask two things of our visitors:

  • if you take anything away and make it better, please send it back so we can improve further
  • please give us feedback on what we do so that we can become even better

We believe that our combination of firm discipline, very high expectations, an academic knowledge-based curriculum, and a humble approach to feedback means that we can go on to be one of the highest-achieving schools in the country. We really do want to be a ‘grammar school for all’.

Our ambition is that every single pupil will be able to attend university, and most will attend the most selective universities. We are ambitious to be the best school in the country.

We believe that given the right circumstances, everyone can achieve extraordinary things.

info logo

To explore more about us, please click the links below.