It is fantastic news to hear that Bedford Free School (BFS), with so many Kempston pupils, has achieved fantastic results on its first ever original cohort of GCSE examinees. The results are the best state school results in Bedford & Kempston and the second best within the whole of Bedford Borough. See the headline figures here:
- 57% achieved 5 or more A*-Cs including English & maths (the Borough average is 52% and the national average is 53%)
- 27% achieved 5 or more A*-Bs and just under 10% achieved 5 or more A*-A
- 80% achieved a C or better in English; 65% C or better in Maths
- Incredibly strong progress in the fundamental subjects of English and Maths
- Top performing student achieved 11 A* and 1 A; half a dozen on track for Oxbridge
- Fantastic performances by students from all starting points
The Free School policy, brought in by the Conservative-led government in the last parliament, is a defining characteristic of the modern political dividing lines within our country. Whereas Labour, nationally and locally, are opposed to giving families the opportunity to break free from the clutches of the ‘put up with what you’re given’ mentality, Conservatives have allowed communities to provide alternative options and freedom of choice to families.
People such as Mark Lehain, BFS’s Principal, and those who have supported this new school have taken the opportunity to effect positive change in their local communities rather than indefinitely put up with what children are given – their attitude of action and improvement is a phenomenal credit to the teaching profession. Suddenly, under a Conservative government, the opportunity to have greater choice and access to higher quality standards of education is not just the luxury of wealthy Labour Councillors sending their children to public school – people now have a greater chance to break free from the control of politicians and local authorities and try something different and potentially better for their children.
Given local Labour and Lib Dem Councillors fought tooth and nail to block BFS from even existing, and are politically opposed to providing choice to families who could not otherwise afford it, I doubt you’ll hear much bluster from them following this fantastic news for BFS’s pupils.
For all those pupils now with A*s and As running through their CVs, and indeed those on Cs rather than Es, and Bs rather than Ds: what a brighter future they have now achieved. I’m proud to serve some Kempston families with exceptionally talented and gifted children at all schools, and I’m proud to support a party that is willing to relinquish politicians’ central power, offering them choice and the opportunity of activism within our local community. On this score, I’m really looking forward to seeing Hastingsbury become an Academy soon.
My Labour predecessor as Borough Councillor publically suggested that Mark Lehain should give up on the project of BFS altogether and settle for applying for a headship in a mainstream school. For the sake of all those children with those higher grades and brighter futures, thank God people are tired of the outdated, languid socialism that held them back for so long. Thank God Lehain didn’t listen.
Congratulations to all pupils of Bedford Free School, and particularly those from Kempston! Also, congratulations to the great successes of a number of Hastingsbury pupils, including Amber Morris with a whopping 9 A/A* grades, and those studying even further afield!