Supporting Our Students

Our Staff
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We don’t just have high expectations for our students – they apply to our staff too.

BFS  is committed to employing exceptional education professionals who share the vision and values of our school.

Only individuals who firmly believe in, and are prepared to commit to ‘Going the Extra Mile’, by supporting and teaching students to achieve to the very best of their ability, are welcomed into the BFS community.

BFS employs very well qualified teachers who can deliver excellent sequences of knowledge driven lessons as standard.  We develop our staff to teach using the most up to date teaching methodology and they act as role models to inspire and challenge pupil aspirations.

At our school, staff are more than simply teachers – offering advice and support that doesn’t stop at the school gates.

Thanks to our enhanced curriculum and extended time in tutor groups, our staff develop much more personal relationships with their students, getting to know them as individuals, and being there for support throughout their school journey.

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Catch up Club

Students who are absent from school are supported to catch up with their work within the school day in a calm, supportive and supervised environment.


catch up club

Attendance at Bedford Free School

We know that for our students to gain the greatest benefits from their education, it is vital that they attend school daily. We expect our students to attend on time (lined up on the playground by 8.25am) every day unless the reason for absence is absolutely unavoidable. It is very important that parents/carers recognise their responsibility to ensure their child attends school regularly and on time.

We aim for 100% attendance for every one of our students i.e. to attend school every single day it is open.

You may think that 90% or 95% sounds like a high figure but to put this in perspective: whilst gaining 90% in an exam is great, for attendance it is not good at all.

90% attendance = ½ a day a week missed
90% attendance = 4 weeks missed every school year
90% attendance = ½ a school year missed every 5 years

On average, if attendance drops to 90% students see an entire grade drop in each of their GCSE subjects!

Headline Information:-

  • Attendance below 95% – Student remains in school until the normal home time of 4.00pm on a Friday
  • Attendance below 95% – Student attends Catch-Up Club instead of electives
  • Attendance below 95% – tutor input with student and parent/carers
  • Attendance below 93% – Pastoral Team will meet with parent/carers for a supportive chat
  • Attendance below 90% – Student attends Catch-up Club & Educational Welfare Officer support triggered – student is lawfully deemed to be a “Persistent Absentee”, fines   (Fixed Penalty Notices) and possible court action
  • Golden Time will only be awarded if a signed sick note has been sent following any period of absence


Support for absence

  • Catch-up Club is a support for students to catch-up on any work missed, including class and homework, learning of knowledge maps and reading
  • It is the students’ responsibility to gather and independently complete any work missed during their period of absence
  • Catch-up Club takes place in the elective periods and the last session on a Friday afternoon
  • Attendance is monitored in ten week blocks – as long as attendance is above 90% generally and above 95% in the last 10 weeks then students will no longer need to attend Catch-up Club
  • There are rewards for improving attendance!!! It is possible to gain back Golden Time even if attendance is below 90% your child will be allowed home at 3.15pm on a Friday (provided they have achieved the other criteria to gain Golden Time) once they have completed and sustain a full run of 20 days or more in school






Parent/Carer Responsibilities:

  • Every day your son/daughter is off sick please call the Absence Line on 01234 332283 before 8.15am to advise us why they are absent and when you expect them to return
  • On the day your child returns to school following any period of absence send a signed explanation letter into school
  • Only agree to your son/daughter staying at home if they are genuinely ill – we are happy to monitor a child here at school who is ‘under the weather’ and call you if necessary
  • Where minor ailments can be alleviated by painkillers we can administer medicines/pain killers in school as long as there is a covering note from the parent or carers
  • Make medical appointments outside of Bedford Free School hours – due to our same day detention policy it is advised this is after 5pm or better still in half term or holiday periods
  • Never take term-time holidays – A Fixed Penalty Notice will be issued to parents if students take holiday in term-time regardless of the reason
  • Talk to your son/daughter about their schooling and how they feel about it. If there are problems communicate openly with us – we are here to support you. They are more likely to attend and enjoy school if they feel supported and listened to.


What to do if there is a problem with your child’s attendance…

  • Remember – your child’s current attendance percentage is recorded weekly on their Achievement Card – you can monitor it too!
  • Contact their Tutor or Pastoral Leader to address the reason for any non-attendance
  • You are not alone – your son/daughter’s welfare is important to us. We can help you resolve issues and can offer lots of support for you and your child
  • Be supportive to your child in the run up to tests and be aware of coursework deadlines
  • Encourage your child to take full responsibility to catch up with all work – a missed day should not mean missed work or homework
  • Remind your child to make arrangements to collect work from the relevant subject teachers – they can complete this in Catch-Up Club

In order to help you understand the importance of excellent attendance, please refer to the Bedford Free School Attendance Diamond below. This outlines how we will deal with attendance as a school.

Who to contact for support:-

Your child’s Form Tutor or Pastoral Leader should be the first point of contact should you have any concerns about your child’s attendance.


Parents and Home School Agreement


At BFS, we believe all parents should be closely involved in their child’s education, helping the school and our teaching staff to form a greater and more personal understanding of a student’s home life.

To help you get more involved, the school holds regular discussions with parents, their children and our teaching staff to talk about students’ academic and personal progress. In addition, we provide reports every term on each student’s performance as a whole. The Principal also meets parents in a regular Parents’ Forum.

Furthermore, to encourage greater communication and involvement between the School and parents, BFS has a higher-than-average number of parent governors on the governing body.

Home/School Agreement

Central to developing positive relationships between the school and home is our Home/School Agreement, which parents of every student at BFS are expected to sign and adhere to.

The Home/School Agreement sets out the expectations that you and your child can anticipate from the school, as well as the participation and support that the school expects from home. We are all committed to creating and providing a learning environment in which our students can achieve their potential – this includes not just school life, but extends to home life too.

At our school, we believe that the better we know our students, their parents, and the family around them, the more effective we can be in developing learning that suits the individual student.

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SEN, Discipline and Behaviour

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

BFS is fully committed to supporting pupils who have been identified as having a Special Educational Need. We have an outstanding learning support team and also provide all the appropriate facilities and resources that ensure a high-quality education is experienced by all.

Discipline & Behaviour

The high expectations set by BFS extends to the behaviour of our students.

We have fostered a culture within the school where respect between and amongst students and staff is held in the highest regard. Our aim is for students to graduate from the school as active and aware members of society, with high standards of behaviour.

Although undesirable, the school will be prepared to take decisive action if a pupil proves disruptive even after our attempts to resolve ongoing problems, with exclusion considered as a last resort.

The safety and wellbeing of our students, and their expectation of and right to a positive learning environment, are crucial to the BFS vision and will not be compromised.