Bedford Modern School

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Bedford Modern School
Bedford Modern School - Crest.jpg
Motto Floreat Bedfordia
(May Bedford Flourish)
Established 1566 (Harpur Endowment)
Type Public School and Independent day school
Religion Interdenominational
Headmaster Michael Hall
Location Manton Lane
MK41 7NT
DfE number 822/6011
DfE URN 109728 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1207
Gender Coeducational
Ages 7–18
Houses      Oatley,      Mobbs,      Tilden,      Farrar,      Rose,      Bell
Colours Black and Red          
Publication The Eagle/ The Sports Eagle/ The Eaglet
Former pupils Old Bedford Modernians
Head Boy Perry Liu
Head Girl Isobel White
Bedford Modern School should not be confused with Bedford School.

Bedford Modern School (often called simply BMS) is a British Public School in the Harpur area of Bedford, in the county of Bedfordshire, in England.

Bedford Modern comprises a junior school (years 6-11) and a senior school (years 11-18). A wide variety of subjects are taught to GCSE and A-level standard.


Bedford Modern has its origins in the Bedford Charity, born from the endowments left by Sir William Harpur in the sixteenth century. Originally it was known as 'the Writing School', teaching copper plate handwriting in what is now the old Town Hall in St. Paul's Square, Bedford. It was originally situated "side by side" with Bedford School and opened in 1566.

In 1834 BMS moved to prestigious mock Tudor Gothic premises, designed by Edward Blore in Harpur Square, the frontage of which is now part of the Harpur (shopping) Centre.

Bedford Modern School-Old School

The School has had four names – the Writing School, the English School, the Commercial School and finally Bedford Modern School, the last change being made in 1873 to reflect the School's modern curriculum, providing an education for the professions. Until the Second World War BMS provided education not only for the locality but also for many colonial and military personnel seeking good education for their young families. Since then BMS has grown considerably. It was a direct grant school until becoming independent in 1976, and became a coeducational day school in 2003. BMS celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2014 to commemorate its separation from Bedford School in 1764.

In 1974 BMS moved to purpose-built premises on Manton Lane in Bedford.

School houses[edit]

Following a tradition of over a hundred years the Senior School Houses of BMS were: North, South, East, West, County and United Boarders. This last comprised the combined boarding houses: Culver, Shakespeare, and School House. The day boy houses often, though not always, reflected the parts of the town or county from which the boys hailed and were mentioned in the school song.

A decision was made in October 1997 for the House system to play a more central role in the School and to reinvigorate internal competition whilst upholding its fine traditions. Six Heads of House were appointed from the staff under the direction of a Senior Head of House, with the brief to establish a modern House system to be integrated into a new school structure and working week, beginning in September 1998. A competition was launched to establish the new house names. The Houses were named in honour of six OBMs who had gained national or international recognition in their field.

     Oatley,      Mobbs,      Tilden,      Farrar,      Rose,      Bell

Each house has its own tie which consists of stripes of the three school colours and their own house colour. Inter-house sports cover all major and minor sports run by the school, at both Junior and Senior level, and range from rugby and hockey (major sports) to shooting and fencing (minor sports). There are also non-sporting events such as quizzes and Music and Drama competitions. Students take leadership roles as House Captain or House Deputies.


Year 13 Students have the option of becoming Monitors (prefects) for their final year. Each team of monitors works with a specific year group, and are led by two Senior Monitors, appointed by the Head Master. Senior Monitors have a red trim on their blazer.


Boys in years 7 to 11 wear their house tie and school blazer alongside black trousers and a white shirt. Girls may wear the school shirt or black trousers with the school blazer (girls' blazers have a red and black braid). Sixth form students wear a business suit.


Until 2003, BMS was a day and boarding school for boys. Following 12 years of discussions, Bedford Modern School closed its boarding houses and became coeducational in September 2003. In 2013, BMS celebrated 10 years of coeducation, with a play written by Mark Burgess commissioned to celebrate the event.

Sport and the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics[edit]

Bedford Modern School Boat Club Rowing Blade

BMS has extensive sport facilities. The school was selected as an official training site for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The school offered facilities for Table Tennis teams training for the event, and complemented other training sites in the Bedford area.[1][2] The Maldives National Olympic Committee based its competing athletes in Bedford, while Paralympic athletes from Angola, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Jamaica, Lesotho, Morocco, Niger, Pakistan, Senegal, Tunisia and Uganda were also based in the area. With the exception of Weymouth (which hosted various sailing events) Bedford accommodated more Olympic teams in 2012 than any other town or borough in the UK, even London.[3]

Notable Old Bedford Modernians[edit]

List of Headmasters[edit]

Other masters[edit]


  • Underwood, Andrew (1981). Bedford Modern School of the Black and Red. Bedford Modern School. ISBN 0-9507608-1-1. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°08′53″N 0°28′55″W / 52.148°N 0.48181°W / 52.148; -0.48181