We have answered some of the most commonly asked questions below, however this list is not exhaustive. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if we have not covered your question below, we are always happy to help.

Admissions Process

Can we visit the school?

Yes, please do come and visit us, we would love to show you our school.

We offer regular Open Mornings throughout the school year and are very happy to arrange individual school tours and meetings with key members of staff during the school week.

Please email or phone the admissions team to discuss: [email protected] or 01234 361918.

Our next Open Day is Wednesday 8th May 2024 at 10am, please reserve your place here.

What assessment will my daughter take?

All candidates will sit age appropriate online Cognitive Ability Assessments (CAT4). These are a series of short computerised tests, covering verbal, quantitative, non-verbal and spatial questions. In addition:

  • Candidates in the Junior School will be asked to undertake a short creative writing task and participate in an activities session
  • Candidates in the Senior School (applying for Years 7,8,9, 10 and 12) will be interviewed by the Headmistress and appropriate members of the Senior Pastoral Team.
  • Candidates for Year 7 will take part in a number of activities throughout their day with us.
  • Candidates sitting for entry into Year 10 and above are also asked to complete a written task.
How should we prepare for the entrance assessment?

Your daughter does not need to prepare for our assessments; we just ask that she comes refreshed and ready to enjoy her time with us. We always keep the sessions as relaxed as possible to keep nerves at bay so that your daughter can do their best.

If your daughter is not familiar with verbal or non-verbal style questions it is possible to find age appropriate examples online to familiarise themselves with the type of questions they may be asked before they attend their assessment.

What score will my daughter need to achieve to be offered a place at Bedford Girls’ School?

We are a broadly selective school; successful candidates will have met our academic entry requirements. They will also have demonstrated ability and/or interest in the co-curricular areas and we feel they would benefit and have the potential to do well in the Bedford Girls’ School environment. Our selection process is designed to identify students who are able to benefit from our balanced and well-rounded education and who will make a positive contribution towards the life of the School. We do not give out our scores from the assessments.

All offers for places into the Sixth Form are conditional based on achieving our minimum entry requirement for our Sixth Form of five Grades 9 – 6 at GCSE with a minimum of a 6 in the subjects the candidate wishes to study at A Level or IB. All candidates are expected to have achieved a minimum of a Grade 4 in Maths and English. For some specific subjects a minimum of a 7 is required at GCSE.

Please refer to our Admissions Guide for further information. In addition, the Admissions Team is happy to answer any questions you may have about the assessments.

Do you make provisions for Special Educational Needs during the assessment?

Yes, we can make appropriate adaptations if we are made aware of your daughter’s needs.

Parents should alert us to any disability, special educational need or medical condition on the registration form and are expected to provide the School with any formal reports attaining to the child’s diagnosis or support plan prior to sitting the entrance assessment.

Once we are aware of requirements we will arrange for parents to have a conversation, prior to the assessment, with our Head of Learning Support to decide on what adjustments may be required and how we can best support your daughter.

Do you request a reference from my daughter’s current school?

Yes, as part of the application process we will contact your daughter’s current Headteacher to ask that they complete a reference form. This requests information about your daughter’s academic ability, cocurricular interests and any other information which they feel is relevant to her application.

When will we hear if we’ve been offered a place?

Offers from the January main assessment period are communicated by email in mid-February. Offers should be accepted by early March. The exact dates will be confirmed each academic year.

If you are sitting a late assessment we will inform you by phone of the outcome of the assessment within a few days and you have two weeks to accept the place from the date of offer.

What is the induction process for new students?

We run a comprehensive induction programme for all new students and parents to ensure the transition to Bedford Girls’ School is as smooth as possible. Our programme includes information evenings for new parents and pupils as well as induction sessions for new pupils to get to know their new teachers and peers.

Can we apply for a place outside of the main assessment period in January?

Yes, if we have spaces available in a year group, we will hold additional assessment sessions during the year to fill these remaining spaces. Please contact the Admissions Team for further information.

Fees & Financial

What is the school’s approach to the proposal of VAT on School Fees?

We are acutely aware of the need for you to understand our approach to Labour’s proposed policy so that you can consider how you would manage your ongoing financial commitments to the school.

The detail of this proposed policy may not be known until after the election but we always aim to be as transparent as we can with our parental body.

BGS is in a strong position. We have an extremely healthy roll and rank within the top 20 girls’ schools by size within the UK. We are financially secure without any external debt. We are committed to ensuring that we maintain an outstanding forward-looking education that develops the intellect, confidence, passions and attributes our young people need to navigate the 21st century world. 

Throughout our planning we are working on the assumption that the VAT would be 20% as this is the stated pledge by Labour. We are committed to the principle of sharing the impact of VAT with our parental body, so the additional cost to you due to VAT is reduced. Our plan is for the school to mitigate a substantial percentage, more than half, of the cost of VAT, if it is introduced. 

We will provide you with more clarity on what this will mean in practice once details and timing of the proposed policy are known

How do I apply for a bursary?

When you complete our online registration form, please indicate that you wish to apply for financial assistance. We will send you a link to the online bursary application form. It is very important that this application is completed promptly. The next opportunity to apply for a bursary is for entry in September 2025. The bursary application for September 2025 will open in September 2024. The deadline for applications to be submitted is Monday 2nd December 2024.

Do I need to pay a deposit?

Yes, you are required to pay a deposit of £500 when you accept your place. This is refunded when your daughter leaves the School, minus any outstanding costs.

How do I pay the fees?

School fees are invoiced on a termly basis by The Harpur Trust. Parents can choose to set up a termly or monthly Direct Debit payment or to make payment via card payment of bank transfer before the start of each term. Any additional costs such as lunches and school trips will be added as extras to your termly invoice.

Do you offer scholarships or bursaries?

We do not offer scholarships. We are committed to widening educational opportunity and offer a limited number of means tested academic bursaries annually to families who would otherwise not be able to access a BGS education.

Bursaries are available from Year 7 upwards and are only offered during the main assessment period. Please read the bursary FAQs carefully or call us so that we can explain the process to you.

If my daughter is awarded a bursary, are there other costs that would still need to be considered?

Bursaries are means tested. This means that bursaries can be awarded to cover up to 100% of school fees. If a partial award is made, the parental contribution that parents are expected to pay will be clearly outlined. A bursary award will also provide a contribution towards the cost of school lunch, at the same % as the award. Families are also provided with a voucher towards the cost of school uniform. The cost of a school iPad is also included in the bursary award. The cost of school transport, for example bus travel, is not included in the award.

School Life

How big are your class sizes?

In the Junior School (Years 3-6) class sizes are a maximum of 20 students; in the Senior School (Years 7-11) form groups can be a maximum of 25 students, although as students progress through the school subject groups are often smaller. The nature of the individualised student programmes in Sixth Form means that class sizes vary.

What are the transport options?

The Harpur Trust schools are well served by an extensive network of private coach services; please refer to the information here.

Please note these services are run independently of the School and parents need to contact the bus providers directly to arrange transport. We suggest you do this as soon as you confirm your daughter’s place at BGS.

Older students may consider train routes to Bedford.

Our pupils travel from a wide area, including Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire. We are well positioned close to a number of major road networks including the A421 which links quickly to the A6, M1 and A1.

Are music and drama lessons available, and is there an additional cost?

We offer an exceptionally wide range of co-curricular opportunities most of which is included in the fees. However, there are the options of paid for individual music, dance and speech & drama lessons.

Full details of the paid for co-curricular classes can be found here.

Full details of all of the wonderful co-curricular clubs and timetables can be found here.

What trips are available for my daughter?

Our trips and excursions programme focuses on developing, over time, personal, physical and intellectual skills in a range of environments both locally and internationally. An extensive list of trips are offered each year, including Junior School residential trips, an international ski trip, language immersion trips, sport camps and subject based day trips in the UK.

For more information on recent trips that have taken place please see our Trips Blog here.

How do I buy the uniform?

Our uniform is very easy to purchase through our online uniform provider Schoolblazer. They can help with sizing and name labels and offer a rapid delivery service.

In addition, The Association (our PTA) runs regular nearly new uniform sales which are a very effective way to top up on essential items.

As part of the induction programme we will provide you with uniform lists and are happy to help advise what items are required for the start of your daughter’s education at BGS.

Further details of our uniform and how to order can be found here.

Can I request that my daughter is in a class with a friend?

You may request that your daughter is with a friend when you accept the place, however we cannot guarantee it will be possible. We ensure that through the admissions process we get to know your daughter, finding out about her interests both inside and outside of school. We also request a reference from her current school. We take all of this information into consideration when deciding on classes and form groups to ensure that your daughter is placed in the best group for her.

Do you offer school lunches?

Yes, Green’s Kitchen offers a wide range of nutritious, well-balanced and freshly prepared dishes, sourcing as many local ingredients as possible. Fresh fruit and salad are always available. We offer bespoke catering for students with allergies or dietary requirements. Students can choose between having a school lunch or a packed lunch from home. The termly cost for school lunches is added to your invoice for school fees, the current daily charge for lunch is £4.90.

Further information about Green’s Kitchen and current menus can be found here.

Our Sixth Form students have the exclusive use of their all day café Chequers, which offers an array of freshly prepared hot and cold food options, together with barista coffees.