The school has a Christian ethos but, while upholding traditional values and standards, is fundamentally ecumenical. Girls are divided into one of four houses representing famous figures from historic Bedford, these are Bunyan (Green), Harpur (Yellow), Howard (Blue) and Russell (Red).
The senior school has modern buildings, plus agreeable gardens and playing fields, on a riverside site. It is well equipped for sport with a floodlit all-weather pitch, tennis courts, netball courts, hockey fields, indoor swimming pool, sports hall, gymnasium, sporting pavilion and boathouse on the River Great Ouse. There are also facilities for design technology, textiles, art and drama; two listed Georgian houses have been adapted to provide a sixth-form centre, Chequers cafe and music centre. A new Sixth Form centre opened in 2006 and was opened by old girl and Olympic silver medalist Gail Emms.
Current school uniform for senior school girls from ages 11-16 consists of a pleated skirt in navy blue, a navy blue v-neck jumper with a blue eagle representative of the Harpur Trust embroidered on the chest, a pale blue shirt and navy blue blazer with an embroidered school shield containing a cornflower, an eagle and a book. For the winter, it is compulsory for the girls to wear the school's formal long length winter coat in place of the blazer.
The uniform in the junior school is considerably different from that of the senior school, however they do wear the same navy blue skirts. The key difference is a cornflower blue jumper, a white shirt and navy blue tie with diagonal stripes, the colour corresponding to the house the girl is in. During the spring and summer months, girls have the option of wearing a pale blue and white striped summer dress. Purse belts are also popular amongst junior school pupils.
The uniform in the Sixth Form consists of a navy blue skirt, white blouse, plain V-neck navy blue jumper combined with black pumps or low heels.
Girls are encouraged to be driven, outspoken and confident.
The school shares a friendly rivalry between Bedford High School and due to joint school events and the proximity of the two schools, Dame Alice girls can often be found to be socialising with boys attending Bedford School and less frequently with pupils at Bedford Modern School.
The Dame Alice Harpur school was recently quoted by the Independent newspaper to be within the top ten independent schools in England and has won numerous awards for both academic and extra-curricular achievement.
Jill Berry, the head of Dame Alice Harpur School, will be the President in 2009 of the GSA
United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office Publishes Application for Trademark DAME ALICE HARPUR SCHOOL to Bedford Charity for Books, Educational Materials, Clothing, Education Services
Feb 02, 2010; BEDFORD, United Kingdom, Feb. 2 -- Bedford Charity, Bedford, has applied the trademark DAME ALICE HARPUR SCHOOL (customer's...