PRESS RELEASE - March 2024

Press Release March 2024 - High Expectations for Brand New Bedford Secondary School

High Expectations for Brand New Bedford Secondary School 

Baroness Barran, Minister for the School System, shares Bedford’s excitement as the Department for Education confirmed their intention for Advantage Schools to open a new secondary school in the town.  

Baroness Barran said “I am delighted to see plans for a new free school in Bedford which should provide vital places for pupils in the local area and build on the success of the first Bedford Free School. 

“Delivering good quality school places is a top priority and almost 1.2 million additional pupil places have been created since 2010, with many more in the pipeline.” 

Amongst its five schools, Advantage Schools already runs the highest achieving school in Bedford in Bedford Free School. This is also the highest achieving school for disadvantaged pupils in the entire East of England region. 

In a move that benefits pupils in a town with significant need for secondary school places, a previous free school project that was temporarily paused has been given the go-ahead to open in Bedford. 

Chief Executive Stuart Lock said “The huge demand for places at the superb Bedford Free School means that families have had to live increasingly close to be allocated a place – most recently within half a mile. This will allow us to bring our high-expectations, highly-disciplined form of education to more families in Bedford. I am delighted and look forward to working with the Local Authority and the Department for Education to open another excellent free school for the benefit of families in our town.” 

 Advantage Schools chair Mark McCourt said “What a moment for Bedford families! The work that our team has undertaken, in collaboration with the Department for Education and the Local Authority, has been extremely diligent. We will do everything possible to bring our excellent standards to as many pupils in Bedford as possible.” 

The decision, communicated in a letter from Regional Director Jonathan Duff, is dependent on the successful identification of a suitable and viable site. At the point of identification of a site, a provisional timescale for the opening of the new school will be announced.