Bedford College buys High School site

Friday 28 March 2014

Bedford College has bought the former Harpur Trust building it has been leasing as a Sixth Form for a figure of £3.25 Million.

The impressive establishment in Bromham Road was formerly the Bedford High School for girls but was leased to the college in 2012 and opened as a state Sixth Form in September of that year. By the following autumn intake numbers had risen to nearly 600 as 16 year olds flocked to study A-Levels and technical qualifications.

Principal and CEO of Bedford College Ian Pryce CBE said: “We were delighted that the Harpur Trust, who founded a legacy of educational excellence in this building, allowed us first to lease and now to purchase it, ensuring that it remains accessible to the community as a place of learning.”

David Russell, Chief Executive of the Harpur Trust, said: “When we established Bedford Girls’ School with greatly enhanced facilities on Cardington Road, we were very keen to ensure that the old High School buildings were put to good use.  We were delighted, therefore, when Bedford College took them on and ensured their continued use for education and access by the community to the facilities, including the swimming pool.  We think this is an excellent outcome for the people of Bedford.”

The site is a mixture of traditional and the very latest facilities. The grand Victorian Hall is now used by students for quiet study. Bedford College has invested in a modern learning resource facility linked to the authentic wood-panelled original library. The former church has been refurbished as modern restaurant. What was the S.P.A (sport and performing arts) is now Trinity Arts & Leisure – a community facility where a 25 metre six-lane swimming pool and gym is alongside a theatre used by local film club and acting groups. New IT throughout means that students can access online learning facilities.

Ian added: “We have been able to bring our expertise to bear to make this a modern learning environment, whilst retaining its important heritage and links with historical education for which Bedford has been famous for around the world. We hope our students and their parents will agree that making this available to the community of Bedfordshire as a Sixth Form is the right choice.”

The Bedford Sixth Form offers a £450 Travel Bursary to students to help with the cost of travel.