What an amazing inaugural year it has been for The Bedford College Group.
There is no doubt that our merger with Tresham College in August 2017 has been our main focus and saw us expanding by nearly 60% to become the largest further education college in the South East Midlands Local Economic Partnership (SEMLEP) area. Against this backdrop, our achievements in 2017-18 are particularly impressive and testament to our clear strategy, operational focus and hard work during this exceptional year in the College’s history.
In addition to taking on the challenge of integrating with another, large college – with four campuses in a different county – it was also essential that we did not lose sight of our existing provision and continued to deliver the high standards of education that we are renowned for in the sector.
Academically, our achievement remained very strong, with overall achievement for the Group at 88.5%, above the national average of 84.4%. We were also above the national average for achievement in GCSEs, English and maths and apprenticeships and, at The Bedford Sixth Form, our overall A-Level results achievement rates increased to 92.4%.
Our excellent staff continued to win awards, with one of our apprenticeship assessors winning the national accolade of TES Assessor of the Year 2018, and in September we were delighted to be granted membership of the Chartered Institution for Further Education under its Royal Charter in recognition of our exemplary position in the sector.
Financially, we have also exceeded all expectations and maintained our Outstanding health rating in 2017-18 by turning the combined deficit of £1.6million in 2016-17 to a surplus of £1million in 2017-18. I hope you can take a few minutes to read on and find out more about this truly amazing year for The Bedford College Group.
Principal & Chief Executive
The Bedford College Group
It has been an exciting year helping to establish The Bedford College Group, a result of the merger of Bedford College with Tresham College.
The Board of Governors is delighted that the Group is now reaping the rewards of all the exceptional hard work that staff at all levels and at all sites of the College have put in over the past 18 months – a period of unprecedented change.
The College has delivered its promise to the FE Commissioner and Skills Funding Agency to turn around the financial performance of Tresham College and to secure high-quality further and higher education for local communities in Northamptonshire.
The changes to the management structure have meant that the College was able to embed change and improvement from the very start of the merger and this is why they are now seeing such positive results. In particular, the Board is delighted that Tresham College students have seen immediate benefits with improvements in attainment, and recruitment for 2018 increasing by 25% when compared to the previous year. We will ensure that the College continues to provide a high level of education to the local communities in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and beyond.
Chair of the Corporation