Best ever Bedford College

Monday 20 May 2013

Bedford College is better than all the rest as proven by a record breaking year.

The college recruited 3,091 full-time 16-18-year-old students, more than ever before in its 100 year history, the last 20 of which have been as an independent organisation.

It brought together 677 apprentices with employers and achieved an income of £37.8 Million

“These are phenomenal achievements. Especially in an economic environment when there is more competition among education providers.

“Competition is good for our customers it means we have to work harder to better serve our community,” says Ian Pryce leadership award winning Principal and  CEO of the multi award-winning Further Education college,

“That means continual, marginal improvements to edge us towards 100% in every area.”

Higher Education, where the FE college introduces students to degree level learning was 14% above targeted budget.

AS/A-Level/GCSE students were up to 500 since opening The Bedford Sixth Form.

The Milton Keynes Learning Centre had 150 students enrolled within weeks of opening. The college has these basic IT training centres in Bedford, Luton and Rushden. The formula has been a winner for adults wishing to upgrade their IT skills.

Student retention was up to 91% which means those that sign up to Bedford College complete the course in all but the fewest cases.

“Teaching and learning is THE job and statistics which count,” said Ian.

“Our staff have been marked as ‘Outstanding’ in classroom observations, and as if to prove the point one of them was in the top three out of 24,000 teachers in a national competition.

“Winning awards is an on-going theme with our student services team receiving a Matrix report which made us blush to read it. Marketing too has proven to be in the forefront of effective activity.”

Bedford College was way ahead of its time in introducing performance related pay 15 years ago. Now 75% of staff agree it is the best for the college. Of those same staff, job satisfaction levels were over twice the national average for colleges at 87%. The one sore point was hot-desking among staff which had been introduced to make better use of office and classroom space but was NOW being reviewed by the CEO team in response to feedback.

Behind the scenes HR was recognised for ‘Outstanding’ practice judgements and the Skills Funding Agency said the college was ‘Outstanding’ in finances.

The future’s tight, the future’s full-time at 540 hours a year

The future would bring further cuts in public spending on education – although 11,900 adult learning courses were able to attract national funding, says Dave Pridmore, Deputy Principal.

The college would be taking full-time 14-year-olds from September 2014 – offering young people a head start in quality GCSE orientated education together with employer-approved training. This idea was broadly welcomed by parents in consultation carried out by the college when it proposed such a “Technical College” two years ago. Hundreds registered their interest.