Bedford College, Bedford

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Bedford College
Logo of the college
Established 1959
Type Further education
Principal Ian Pryce CBE
Location Bedford, Bedfordshire
Former names Mander College

Bedford College is a further education college located in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England. It is the principal further education provider in the Borough of Bedford, and it is a member of the 157 Group of high performing schools.[1]


Further Education courses have been provided on Bedford College's Cauldwell Street campus under some name since World War II, although its roots can be traced to the founding of Bedford Training College for Teachers in 1882.[2] Following construction of the college's six-storey tower block, opened on 19 June 1959, the College became known as Mander College of Further Education. The college was named after Sir Frederick Mander, who was Chairman of Bedfordshire County Council at the time of the tower's construction. The tower was erected at a cost of £282,510, plus £4,085 for external works.[3]

In 1976 the college combined with two teacher training institutions to form the split-site Bedford College of Higher Education. The college remained in this form until 1992, when Further Education colleges achieved independent status from Local Education Authorities. Bedford College was formed as a Further Education Institute to concentrate on provision within this sector, remaining at the Cauldwell Street campus. The Higher Education areas of the college separated in 1994 to become the Bedford campus of the De Montfort University, but later merged with the University of Luton to form the University of Bedfordshire.[2] Bedford College retains some Higher Education provision, and provides a number of foundation degrees and select teaching qualifications in association with the University of Bedfordshire.[4]

Bedford College main campus entrance

In July 2009, the college was formally awarded Beacon Status by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The status means that Bedford College has been recognised as one of the best further education colleges in the United Kingdom.[5]

In August 2009, it was announced that Shuttleworth College had become part of Bedford College. Shuttleworth College had previously been part of Writtle College.[6]

In January 2008 it was announced that Bedford College (with the Harpur Trust) intended to sponsor John Bunyan Upper School (a state comprehensive school in Bedford) thereby turning the school into an academy. This was confirmed by Bedfordshire County Council the following June.[7] Bedford Academy opened in September 2010.

Plans for an £80 million refit of the main Bedford College campus are underway. The investment will see many of the college's current buildings pulled down – including the feature tower block – and gradually replaced with new structures. The new developments will complement the South Bank Arts Centre (opened November 2007) and the college's new sports centre. Two listed buildings will remain – Old College House, and the site occupied by Brooks, hair and beauty training salon.[8]

From September 2012, Bedford College has leased most of the site of the former Bedford High School for a campus in the north of Bedford town centre. Bedford High School closed over the summer of 2012, and the college leases the old main school buildings, Trinity Church, and the Sports and Performing Arts (SPA) complex from owners, the Harpur Trust. The Bedford Sixth Form occupies the campus (Bedford Colleges branding of its sixth form provision), as well as most of its other class-room based activities and higher education courses. The SPA complex is available to local clubs and classes. Bedford College will quadruple its full-time higher education offering over the next few years, and needs additional space to accommodate the growth in student numbers.[9]

Bedford College today[edit]

The Bedford Sixth Form

Bedford College offers a range of academic and vocational qualifications, apprenticeships, Access to Higher Education courses and foundation education.[10]

The areas of study include –

Shuttleworth College is part of Bedford College

The Bedford Sixth Form[edit]

The Bedford Sixth Form is a sixth form centre operated by Bedford College on the site of the former Bedford High School. Courses offered include GCSEs, A Levels and BTECs.[11]

Shuttleworth College[edit]

Shuttleworth College located in Old Warden, Central Bedfordshire is operated by Bedford College. Shuttleworth College mainly provides courses and training related to agriculture and the natural environment.

The Learning Centres[edit]

Bedford College also operates four 'Learning Centres' located in the town centres of Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton and Rushden which offer IT skills and courses.

Bedford Academy[edit]

Bedford Academy, located in the Kingsbrook area of Bedford, is co-sponsored by Bedford College, along with the Harpur Trust.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ 157 Group Retrieved 29 July 2010
  2. ^ a b "University of Bedfordshire – History and Locations – Bedford Campus". Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Memories of Bedford (1999), Elland: True North Books Limited. ISBN 1-900463-83-0
  4. ^ Bedford College – Degree-Level & Professional Programmes[dead link]
  5. ^ "Bedfordshire Local News, Local News Headlines in Bedford | Bedfordshire Newspaper Online | College shines like a Beacon". Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "'Shuttleworth College'". Bedford College. Retrieved 27 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "Bedfordshire on Sunday > News > Harpur Trust set to take over John Bunyan". 20 February 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  8. ^ 3url= (31 October 2008). "Bedford College unveils £80 million refit – News". Bedford Today. 
  9. ^ url= (2 February 2012). "College set to take over High School – Education". Bedford Today. 
  10. ^ Bedford College – Qualifications available[dead link]
  11. ^ "The Bedford Sixth Form Courses". Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Bedford College · Cancer combatting curry!". Retrieved 6 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°07′59″N 0°28′02″W / 52.13315°N 0.46726°W / 52.13315; -0.46726