Bedford Modern School (often called BMS) is a Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) independent school in Bedford, England. The school has its origins in The Harpur Trust, born from the endowments left by Sir William Harpur in the sixteenth century. BMS comprises a junior school (ages 6–11) and a senior school (ages 11–18).
The school has had four names. In 1873, it became Bedford Modern School in order to reflect the School's modern curriculum, providing an education for the professions. BMS provided education not only for the locality but also for colonial and military personnel abroad, seeking good education for their young families.
|Bedford Modern School|
|Type||Public School and Independent day school|
|Motto||Floreat Bedfordia |
(May Bedford Flourish)
|Established||1566 as part of the endowment of The Harpur Trust by Sir William Harpur, although separated from Bedford School in 1764|
|Department for Education URN||109728 Tables|
|Age||7 to 18|
|Houses||Oatley, Mobbs, Tilden, Farrar, Rose, Bell|
|Colour(s)||Black and Red|
|Publication||The Eagle/ The Sports Eagle/ The Eaglet|
|Former pupils||Old Bedford Modernians http://www.obmclub.co.uk|
|School Song||"School of the Black and Red"|
|Unofficial Motto||"Modern 'till I Die"|
Bedford Modern School has its origins in The Harpur Trust, born from the endowments left by Sir William Harpur in the sixteenth century. Since the separation of Bedford School and BMS in 1764, 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. BMS provided education not only for the locality but also for colonial and military personnel seeking good education for their young families.
In 1834 BMS moved to buildings designed by Edward Blore in Harpur Square, Bedford. The successful growth of the school meant that the buildings became increasingly cramped and in 1974 the school moved to new premises in Bedford. The Foundation Stone for the new building was laid by Margaret Thatcher. On 11 May 1976, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a commemorative panel at the new school building during her visit with H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh.
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 chorus of 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 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 Old Bedford Modernians who had gained national or international recognition in their field.
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.
Monitors are selected, following a written application process, from students in the Upper Sixth. Each team of monitors works with a specific year group, and are led by two Senior Monitors, appointed by the Head Master. Senior Monitors, along with the Heads of School, are entitled to wear 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 skirt 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.
BMS competes against Bedford School, Berkhamsted School, Bishop's Stortford College, Eton College, Hampton School, Harrow School, Kimbolton School, Haileybury, Merchant Taylors, Oakham School, Oundle School, St Albans School, Stowe School and Stamford School in rugby union or rowing. Other sports include cricket, hockey, athletics, fencing, rugby fives, football, swimming, table tennis, tennis and water polo.
Bedford Modern has had former students going on to compete at national and international levels including two former Captains of the England Rugby Team and a former Captain of the England cricket team:
Each year, the school puts on two productions, normally musicals, with full orchestra and set, in its 300-seat auditorium. It also hosts its own Shakespeare Festival, in which local schools are invited to take part. The Sixth Form has its own theatre company, Theatre in Transit, which puts on a piece of theatre each year at professional venues. In September 2014, the Chamber Choir performed The Armed Man at the Royal Albert Hall as part of Sing UK's 'A Mass for Peace'.
The School's CCF has existed since 1863. BMS is one of very few schools in the UK to have all four arms of the Service within its Corps: Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Royal Marines. The Royal Marines section of the CCF is set to close in July 2017. Bedford Modern CCF invites students from nearby Rushmoor, St Andrew's and Bedford Free School to be part of the Corps.
The Eagle has been published mostly biannually since 1881 and doubles as an archive of life at the school during that year. The Eagle is predominantly designed and edited by sixth form students, and since 2000 is printed as a glossy magazine with around 48 pages. It often also includes feature articles and interviews from former students.
In addition to The Eagle, other publications include The Eaglet, which, until recently, was included as part of the main magazine, and includes articles from the Junior School. Another publication is the Eagle News, which is published for the benefit of OBMs. It includes School news, and follow-up articles of former pupils.
The following have been Head Masters of Bedford Modern School.
|Name||Years as Head Master|
|William Henry White||1821–1831|
|Rev. Robert Burton Poole||1877–1900|
|Cecil William Kaye||1901–1916|
|Canon Arnold Cecil Powell||1917–1922|
|Henry Weddell Liddle||1922–1946|
|Rev. John Edward Taylor||1946–1965|
|Peter John Squire||1977–1996|
Former pupils of the school are known as Old Bedford Modernians.
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