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Curriculum Vision

Our Curriculum

Our curriculum, like everything at Bedford Free School, is guided by our values of respect, honesty and high expectations. This means we hold dear the belief that every single child and young person at our school is capable of achieving something great. By providing a rigorous, academic curriculum that is rich in carefully sequenced knowledge, our goal is to enable pupils to take their place in the community of educated citizens.


Respect is embodied in our curriculum through the high value we place on subjects and our teachers as experts in their subject areas. We want our pupils to have access to the best that has been thought and said, and with this in mind our teachers think carefully about what to teach and how best to teach it. We want pupils’ future options to be wide, so we do not narrow the curriculum. Instead, we ensure pupils are exposed to a wide body of knowledge through a full Key Stage Three curriculum over years 7, 8 and 9.  We are not just concerned with preparing pupils for GCSE success, we also think carefully about those pupils whose formal study of a subject will come to an end in Year 9, and prioritise the knowledge that creates well-rounded, well-educated individuals.


Honesty is demonstrated through our evidence informed approach to planning and teaching. We believe pupils are more likely to remember all they have learned if the delivery of that knowledge has been carefully sequenced and planned. We work hard to ensure our curriculum is coherent, with learning building over time, which enables pupils to attach new knowledge to old in a manner that is efficient and sustainable. This means our pupils make good progress through our curriculum and are well prepared for their next level of study.


High Expectations are evident through the rigorous academic focus of our curriculum. At GCSE level, the vast majority are entered for, and perform very well in, EBacc subjects. By ensuring broad coverage of academic subjects, we ensure all pupils of BFS are not only prepared for GCSE but for life afterwards, including sixth form study and a great university for those who wish to pursue such a goal.

To view our curriculum, please use the links below.

Whole School Curriculum Overview

Home Work Timetable 2023-24

DFE Performance Data for Bedford Free School
Academic Curriculum Overview

The courses within this part of the timetable are traditional subjects. We use the National Curriculum as a starting point for the content we teach and teachers assess pupil progress using assessments that are twice-yearly.

A pupil’s timetabled lessons hence looks like this over two weeks:

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11
English & Literature 10 9 8 10 10
Maths 10 9 8 9 9
Biology, Chemistry & Physics 6 6 6 9* 9*
Languages 6 6 6 6 6
History 4 4 4 6** 6**
Geography 4 4 4 6** 6**
Art 2 2 4## 6** 6**
Music 4# 4# 4## 6** 6**
Drama 4# 4# 4## 6** 6**
Technology (Graphics) 1 2 4## 6** 6**
Computing 1 2 4## 6** 6**
RE 2 2 2 6** 6**
PE 4 4 4
Electives 4 4 4 4 4
  • Pupils who take Triple Science in key stage 4 also have over two hours extra compulsory science.
  • ** pupils currently take three of these subjects in key stage 4.
  • *** PE can also be taken as an option, making this 8 lessons a fortnight.
  • # music and drama taught on a carousel in year 7 and 8 for a total of 4 lessons a fortnight.
  • ## pupils study three of the five subjects here for four lessons a fortnight.

Distinctive features of our curriculum include:

Additional help and support for pupils who need it.  Pupils who join us with attainment in English and mathematics below that expected for their age, or who have difficulties making progress in subjects, will get extra support. These pupils receive additional intensive sessions to accelerate their learning, including guided reading, an intensive reading program, Lexia and Prep support.

An unashamedly academic curriculum

We have very high expectations, and hence if pupils are struggling, we offer support and intervention to enable those pupils to succeed. We think all pupils are entitled to academic subjects and we have very high expectations of all of them.

All of our pupils take mathematics, literature, English, biology, chemistry, physics, a modern language and humanities right through to age 16, regardless of their ability. This academic base is a right at BFS.


DEAR – Drop Everything And Read

All pupils read a classic work of literature every day for half an hour.  Teachers model expressive reading and all pupils read out loud in turn whilst the whole class follows the text.  Pupils who are weaker readers are able to do this in a supportive environment and all BFS teachers have been trained by experts to deliver these group reading sessions.  As a result, our pupils are confident reading even the most demanding language, which helps them get to grips with the kind of sophisticated texts they will reading at college and university.  Even more importantly, it ensures that they have the opportunity to experience the best that great literature has to offer; be introduced to vibrant characters, explore exciting worlds and discuss weighty themes.

Example Timetables

Example KS3 Timetable


School life for Jason…

“I’ve learnt so much since coming to Bedford Free School. I enjoyed my time at primary school, and was a bit nervous of moving, but the first week with just year 7 helped. It’s a small school, so I’ve made lots of new friends in the different year groups, especially as our Electives groups have a mixture of people from all over the school in them.

The other big difference here is my teachers. I’ve got to know them really well as they get to work with us in lots of different lessons – for instance, my English teacher takes us for public speaking sessions. I feel like they understand me properly, so can guide me in my learning better. I’m glad I’ll be here for five years as that way they’ll be able to advise me properly on what GCSEs to take and I think I’ll do better as a result.”

Please note that these timetables are examples and do not necessarily reflect the options that will be available for your child.

Example KS4 Timetable


School life for Jasmine…

“The first thing I noticed about Bedford Free School was the teachers. They put so much effort into everything they do – getting to know us, the lessons we have, and all the different clubs and activities that are on offer too.

I get into school for 8am, so my dad can drop me off on his way to work, and I have breakfast there. It’s a chance to catch up with friends before the day starts. I also stay back after school until 6pm so my dad can pick me up on his way home. This means I can get almost all of my homework done in school, and if I need any help there are staff around to help me.

I’m currently studing for my GCSEs. I’ve got lots to learn but I feel well prepared. My favourite subject is science. I’ve been inspired by my science teacher and her passion for the subject ever since I joined BFS in year 7. I also really enjoy my options subjects, especially Geography and History. Teachers at BFS have really high expectations and ensure we have the knowledge to succeed. My lessons are calm and quiet which means I can always focus on my work. I’m working really hard so I can achieve well in my GCSEs and attend a great Sixth Form. I want to go to university to study medicine. I feel really well supported at BFS and know my teachers are always there to help me.”

Please note that these timetables are examples and do not necessarily reflect the options that will be available for your child.