Bedford School and Polam celebrate wins at Independent Schools of the Year Awards

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Pupil wellbeing is a high priority at Polam School

Two Bedford schools were celebrating this week after wins at the annual Independent Schools of the Year Awards.

Bedford School beat off stiff competition from across the UK to be named ‘Independent Boys’ School of the Year’, while Polam was crowned ‘Independent Pre-prep School of the Year’ at the virtual awards ceremony that took place on  October

The winners were chosen from over 700 submissions by a prestigious panel of judges including the CEO of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), the CEO of the Boarding Schools’ Association (BSA) and five serving Heads.

The award-winning Bedford School

Jim Massey, who presented Bedford School with its award, explained that it was chosen for “its holistic school experience’ and that ‘students’ individual qualities are nurtured without inhibition and lived without awkwardness so that they be good men.”

Commenting on their success, James Hodgson, head master at Bedford School, said: “This is reward for the hard work of an entire community: over 1100 boys, their teachers, non-teaching staff, families, governors and Old Bedfordians, all of whom have played their part in making the school the happy, vibrant and successful place that it is today.

“I feel immensely lucky every day to be working here and contributing what we can to the town in which we all live.”

Describing itself as ‘Bedford’s best-kept secret’, Polam School, was commended for their outstanding commitment to pupil wellbeing and for their innovative immersive learning programme.

Based on Landsdowne Road, Polam is a small independent pre-prep and nursery for children aged 12 months to 7 years and headteacher, Darren O’Neil, said he couldn’t be more proud of the school winning the award.

“To get this level of national recognition for such a small school is a real testament to the great teamwork and the vision of the staff at Polam,” he said.

“On a personal level, to be the head of an award-winning school after just one year as headteacher is a real career high for me. I’m not quite sure how I’ll top it.”

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