Support for home based learners from early years up to GCSE
PLACE is a Bedford Local Authority support service for home educating families managed by Biddenham International School and Sports College.  To be eligible for the scheme, children should be on the elective home education (EHE) register of the local authority in which they live.

The PLACE  Progamme  provides significant support for PLACE-registered GCSE students, including part-time specialist support for a number of GCSE subjects and entrance for public examinations.

PLACE also runs a busy enrichment programme for enrolled youngsters from approximately ages four to sixteen and, in addition, provides measures of help and expertise with special needs issues through its partner school.


Recent News

Yesterday, PLACE youngsters returned to Charter House to entertain the residents with a concert of music and drama.

We had choirs, violins, an oboe solo, a guitar solo and poetry from our drama group.  Please click the link below for the full programme.

Charterhouse Concert Programme 16 Dec 2014 




We hope it  was an enjoyable concert for the residents – it certainly was tor the youngsters who took part.

Still following this term’s “Food and Drink” theme,  a  group of PLACE youngsters visited the beautiful Bedford riverside restaurant: Spaghetti John’s.

They were there to  learn how to make to make spaghetti and, later, to enjoy eating what they had prepared.

Spaghetti Lesson (3)A spaghetti masterclass

Assisted by Spaghetti John’s encouraging staff, our boys and girls learnt how to operate  spaghetti makers and also gained an understanding of the ingredients that go into making that perfect plate of spaghetti!

Spaghetti MakingSpaghetti Making

Thanks to everyone at Spaghetti John’s for a well-organised event and for delivering such an enjoyable experience for our youngsters.

Spaghetti EatingSpaghetti Eating






Are you fuzzy about felt – ever wondered where it comes from and how you can make creative use of it?  Well, on Friday morning, young artists in Art Sparks and Rainbow Art groups had a master class from Anne-Marie Stijelja - a leading exponent of felt as an expressive medium.

Our  youngsters had a chance to make felt from scratch (it comes from wool) and then went on to create some of the beautiful artwork seen in the gallery below.

Many thanks, Anne-Marie, for such a great workshop.

2014-12-05 12.30.32Making the Felt

2014-12-05 12.32.20Anne-Marie with Ben

Making a felt phone case

Making a felt phone case


feltfishA shoal of felt fish made by the Art Sparks and Rainbow Art groups

This term, our activities have centered around a theme of “Food and Drink”.  In line with this theme, we were visited by Wally Thrale from Bedford Bee Keepers Association.  Wally talked to an audience of some 40 parents and children about the role of bees in food production and of, course, where honey comes from!

Wally Thrale

Wally Thrale

Following Wally’s talk, our families took part in an illustration workshop led by Jessica Albarn (author and illustrator) for whom bees are an enduring passion, featuring in much of her published work.

Jessica Labarn

Jessica Albarn leads the “Bee Art” workshop


SOLE is our “Self Organised Learning Environment” programme based on the pioneering work of Sugata Mitra. SOLE aims to  develop learning skills of investigation, analysis and problem solving that will last a life time!

The sessions take place on alternate Friday mornings at Stewart House and are facilitated by Jacq Emkes.  This Friday, our young learners hosted an open morning for PLACE visitors to showcase some of the science and technology-based projects on which they have been working this term.

Demonstrations included:

 Programming the Raspberry Pi

Programming the Raspberry Pi

Frankenstein's Hand comes to life.

Frankenstein’s Hand comes to life


iPad learning

iPad learning

The morning was a striking demonstration of what young people can achieve when given the freedom to explore and find out for themselves.




No, it’s not an executive away-day team building exercise – it’s some of our PLACE youngsters at Bedford’s Laser World!


This hi-tech version of tag not only provides an opportunity to let off steam but also a chance to plan strategically and act  cooperatively.  Not yet an Olympic sport – but who knows?

And, of course, at the end of the day there are prizes – here is Charlie with a well-earned piece of hardware for the mantelpiece:-


Charlie was the least ‘tagged’ player throughout the afternoon.  Well done Charlie!



PizzaExpressThis week PLACE families were the guests of Pizza Express in Bedford.

Pizza Express have a long-established education morning during which they offer young learners a chance to find out about: kitchen health and safety; sourcing ingredients; basic recipes and, of course, how to get “hands-on” and make their  own pizzas!

The staff at Pizza Express delivered a totally absorbing and highly enjoyable session, culminating in what the youngsters were all looking forward to – eating their own freshly-baked pizzas!

Thanks so much to all at Pizza Express.



angliawaterThis week off to Anglian Water to experience their award-winning community-education programme.  This programme includes taught sessions, resources to assist learning across all ages, interactive games, talks and training for adults.  The programme is designed to help participants understand more about the water industry and why water is so vital to life.

Anglian Water’s educational provision encompasses all Key Stages and A-Level.  There is a range of topics covered, such as water efficiency, pollution, climate change and sustainability.  Our young PLACE learners were able to join in fun, interactive sessions, including challenging self-directed projects such as the “water supply challenge” - real pipes, a budget, real water – lots of fun!





To round off PLACE’s summer theme of “The Victorians”, we booked from 1st-5th September the whole of the  Coalbrookdale Youth Hostel, which is located in the Ironbridge region of Shropshire. Built in 1853 as a literary and scientific institute by the Coalbrookdale Company, this beautiful Victorian building was used as a school of art before becoming a Youth Hostel in 1980. The building has been converted inside to provide thoroughly modern facilities perfect for youngsters (YHA Ironbridge Coalbrookdale has been awarded the Quality Badge by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom).


The Iron Bridge


Set in the delightful Ironbridge Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Coalbrookdale Hostel provides an ideal base for exploration and learning. There is history every way you look – including ten museums in close proximity, most of which  attended during our stay. We  explored Victorian Britain in Blists Hill Victorian Town, where we were transported back to life in the late 1800’s, with townsfolk in period costume going about their daily lives, shopping and working. There is a Victorian bank on site – which exchanges modern coinage for Victorian legal tender to spend around the town, for example to pay for fair rides or to purchase freshly-baked cinnamon or currant buns at the on-site Victorian bakery. There is a chemist; grocer; tailor; photographer; squatter’s cottage; schoolhouse; steam-operated pithead; to name but a few. PLACE’s families had a chance to try their hand in the soap-making workshop as part of the day’s agenda; whilst at the China Museum, there was a clay workshop included in the itinerary. On another day, the group took a stroll to the 200-year-old Tar Tunnel. The structure that gives the area its name, the Iron Bridge itself, is a “must-see”. Particularly attractive for science and design students was the “Enginuity” Museum, which which allowed us to see how ideas become designs and eventually products, all in an interactive and engaging way.



GCSEs are now out of the way and we come to that time of year when we say goodbye to our Year 11 students.  To celebrate their time with PLACE, some ninety students, parents and friends descended on Wicksteed Park  to enjoy a picnic and to try some of the rides.

Some of our happy picnickers

Some of our happy picnickers

June McDonald (PLACE Programme Manager) was presented by some of the Year 11′s with a photo montage they had prepared to illustrate memories of their time with PLACE – a big “Thank you” from June.


Click for full size image

It was a great day out with fabulous weather – and if you are at Wicksteed you really should try the go-karts…


We wish all our leavers the very best for their future studies and careers and hope they will be able to keep in touch with us.




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