Polam School
Catchment Area, Reviews and Key Information


This school has 5 parent reviews

45 Lansdowne Road
MK40 2BU
01234 261864
1 - 9
Other independent school
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Independent preparatory schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum or submit test results to the Department for Education so there is no individual school performance data or star rating.

Visit the school's website to learn more about their unique curriculum, policies on testing and common leaver destinations (a good indicator of pupil progress). See our About page for information on Choosing A Prep School.

Boarding Type
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Leaver Destinations


School Description

Polam School is a small independent preparatory school located on a quiet Victorian avenue in the heart of the established market town of Bedford. Founded in 1923, the school remained a family concern until it was bought by Cognita and merged with a similar sized pre-preparatory school in 2008. The school now occupies two large Victorian houses, which have been significantly extended to provide some impressive facilities for a school of its size, including a large gymnasium and indoor swimming pool. The setting receives early years funding. The school provides education and care for children aged from twelve months to nine years, having recently reintroduced Years 3 and 4. This extension to the age range enables those children not quite ready to move on to the local preparatory schools at the age of seven to continue in a small, nurturing environment. It also enables the school to offer parents the choice and benefits of a small setting as a start for the education of those children who may enter one of the local maintained middle schools in Year 5. The school believes that the opportunities offered to children during their formative years are critical for the future development of the child. It provides a safe, nurturing, home from home learning environment in a small setting. Class sizes are particularly small and adult to child ratios are high. The school provides wrap-around care for children from 7.30 am to 6.00 pm in term time through its breakfast clubs and after-school clubs. It also offers holiday clubs for all children in the school and the Nursery between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm for approximately fourteen weeks a year. The holiday club is also a popular choice for parents whose children do not attend the school. The school has a Christian ethos. There is a diverse mix of ethnicity within the school. The school aims to teach children within a culture of high expectation and challenge, enabling them to achieve their best, and help them to be good choosers, skilful problem solvers and powerful learners. It aims to give them the confidence to question and to search for answers, to understand that without mistakes they do not learn and so encourage them to take risks. It aims to build the skills, knowledge and understanding required for making sense of the world around them, to learn to work collaboratively as well as independently, and to be caring and respectful of those around them. It aims to help them to recognise that learning is lifelong, but most importantly to enjoy learning.

Our prospectus

Polam School Reviews

Average Rating:


“Part of the school family”
My daughter loves going to school and we feel part of the school family. Polam is a small school where we all know each other, even other classes teachers.
“Polam will forever be on our hearts.”
We would like to thank you as a team, for all the work you have put into helping us raise such amazing young men. Polam will forever be on our hearts.
“A wonderful little school”
Polam is a wonderful little school and even though my daughter was only there for a year we are thrilled not only with how much she has come on academically but also in terms of her confidence levels. I will definitely recommend the school to others.
“Wonderful school, with a friendly atmosphere”
Our son loved his time at Polam School, and was sad when he had to move on. It is such a wonderful school, with a friendly atmosphere. He loved going to school, unlike his previous school where he was bored, as he was not being challenged enough. Polam's wonderful teaching staff helped our son greatly and prepared him for the entrance exams for the local Harpur Trust schools, where he passed both. Sending him to Polam was the best decision we could have made.
“The magic of education”
Our son has learnt ‘the magic of education’ through the school’s engaging ways to learn and the staff’s enthusiasm….You took a child who was disillusioned and uninterested in learning and in one term made him hungry to learn and happy to do homework – an exceptional skill!
Your rating:
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School Noticeboard

News & events from Polam School

Last update: 07 September 2021

We warmly welcome prospective parents to come along to our termly Open Mornings to see for yourself what a special little school Polam is during a normal school day. 

Open Day and Virtual Visits >>



        "Every day is filled with learning adventures"


With music, languages, drama, swimming and sport all introduced in small groups from an early age, our curriculum goes way beyond national expectations. The majority of our children progress to the local Harpur Trust schools, but destination schools also include other Cognita Schools as well as a number of State Middle Schools in Bedfordshire.

  • Outstanding Nursery and School provision
  • Nurturing, family environment
  • Individualised learning & broad curriculum
Discover more >>

Children may join our Nursery from the age of 12 months until 4 years. The baby and toddler rooms, Acorns & Catkins (12 months to 2 years) and Saplings (2 to 3 years), provide the perfect environment in which to gently prepare your child for life in the School and our small classes ensure that he or she receives personal attention at all times. Our well-equipped and comfortable Nursery is a fully integrated part of the School, giving your child the opportunity to benefit from the extensive range of facilities and specialist teaching which includes modern languages, music, PE and swimming (from 3 years). We also have visiting teachers join us weekly to teach Creative Dance and Yoga.

More about our nursery >>
Meet the Head: Jessica Harris

Mrs Harris embarked upon her Teacher Training after having her family. Her first teaching position was at a small independent pre prep school where she taught the nursery class.  She moved to Polam School in September 2000 and has continued to work at the school in a variety of roles.  For many years she taught in Reception which is particular passion of hers –– a year in which children learn so much. She joined the Senior Leadership Team at Polam to lead Foundation (pre-school & Reception) eventually taking over as Early Years Manager for all early years classes and enjoyed assisting in developing and extending early years and nursery provision within our school.  Mrs Harris undertook an MEd in Leadership and Management which she completed in 2017 as took over headship of Polam, initially as interim position and then as full time Headteacher. 

Who/what inspired you to become a teacher?

I had a less than positive start to school, I felt lost and anxious. These feelings dominated my first years at school and of course impacted upon my learning. My daughter also inspired me to become a teacher. As a mother, I had to be instrumental in helping her to read, which she found difficult. Watching her develop and grow in confidence as she developed a love for reading and books inspired me to do this with other children too. 

When I began my training, I knew instinctively which age range I wanted to work with. I was drawn to these first years of school due to my own personal experience and that of my daughter. I very much wanted to get these years right for the little people who came through my classroom door. I wanted them to feel happy and secure within the school setting as they started on their educational journey.

What achievement are you most proud of as Head?

That our children are happy, confident and feel that they can be themselves within the walls of Polam.“Polam is like a second home where I can be who I really am.” A pupil wrote this about our school recently –– and the fact that children love coming to school, enjoy themselves, learn and feel that they “can be who they really are” –– makes me enormously proud.

What does a successful school look like to you?

A place where children feel secure and are happy. My educational philosophy is simple – happy children learn – if we get the happy right, the learning will come.


What is the most important quality you want every child to have when they leave your school? And why?

My greatest wish is that when children leave us they are robust and resilient and leave Polam with self-belief.  I want children to leave us never considering using the word “can’t” but rather “I will try”.  Robust, resilient children who are willing to have a go, can, and will achieve their full potential and ultimately become their best selves. 


Please give 5 words to describe the ethos of your school.

Nurturing, happy, safe, creative and fun. 

Polam School Catchment Area Map

This school is independently managed and its admission criteria may be selective. There is no set catchment area as pupils are admitted from a wide variety of postcodes and, in the case of boarding schools, from outside the UK. Contact the school directly or visit their website for more information on Admissions Policy and Procedures.

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