Bedford College, Bedford

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Bedford College
Logo of the college
Established 1959
Type Further education
Location Cauldwell Street
MK42 9AH
DfE URN 130597 Tables
Gender Coeducational

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 is a member of the Collab 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]

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.[5] Bedford Academy opened in September 2010.

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.[6]

In August 2009, it was announced that Shuttleworth College had become part of Bedford College. Shuttleworth College had previously been part of Writtle College.[7]

In September 2012, Bedford College leased 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. The college bought the old main school buildings, Trinity Church, and the Sports and Performing Arts (SPA) complex from owners, the Harpur Trust in March 2014.[8] The Bedford Sixth Form occupies the campus (Bedford College's branding of its sixth form provision). The SPA complex became Trinity Arts & Leisure, managed by Bedford College Services Ltd.

Bedford College today[edit]

Bedford College offers a range of academic and vocational qualifications, apprenticeships, Access to Higher Education courses, higher education qualifications and foundation education programmes.[9]

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.[10]

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

In April 2014, Bedford College became the new sponsor of the UTC Central Bedfordshire in Houghton Regis. It has since worked on building a new centre for students with the highest levels of need. This was at the request of the Department for Education after the UTC failed an inspection.[11]

In September 2014, Bedford College received the go-ahead from the government to build a brand new Technical Academy for students aged 13–18. This is due to open in September 2016.[12]
A Technical Academy is a place for students aged 13 to 19 which specialises in technical studies alongside traditional education.

In October 2014, it was announced that Hastingsbury Business & Enterprise College will convert to an academy in partnership with Bedford College.[13]


External links[edit]

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