The move, announced this week, is expected to take effect from February 1, 2023.
Central Bedfordshire College, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, serves communities across southern Central Bedfordshire and Luton, with campuses in Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Leighton Buzzard and Luton.
For both learners and staff at Central Bedfordshire College it is ‘business as usual’ with classes and courses continuing as expected. Behind the scenes, the management teams and governing bodies will be working closely together to ensure a seamless transition, and to put plans in place to expand the educational offer to meet the future skills needs of the area.
Prof James Crabbe, Chair of The Corporation at Central Beds College, said: “I am delighted to say that the Governing Body of Central Bedfordshire College agreed to a merger with The Bedford College Group. The merger will allow our vision of skills and vocational education for our region, which we as a college have developed over many years, to become an actuality, with enormous benefits for our learners, our staff, local employers and the community of Bedfordshire as a whole. I am confident that this merger of our college, with its strong culture of an inclusive, calm and caring environment for learners and staff, will fit well with the ethos of The Bedford College Group, and could become a model for mergers in the FE sector.”
Dr Ali Hadawi, Chief Executive of Cental Beds College, added: “We at CBC are excited by the prospect of merging with The Bedford College Group. This merger will enable us to offer additional courses in a wider range of subjects to a larger number of learners, young and old. In line with the FE White paper, we will be able to serve our communities through richer and more diverse curricula. We will also be able to meet the needs of a broader range of businesses across a wide range of industries locally, hence enhancing their competitiveness and success. This important strategic merger will help ensure that the technical and vocational education and training in the local area are best placed to meet the challenges of our economy in the future. This presents an opportunity for us to work with Ian Pryce and colleagues across TBCG to enhance learning and progression for students and create advancement possibilities for our staff.”
The Bedford College Group (TBCG) was formed in 2017 when Bedford College, which includes Shuttleworth College near Biggleswade, merged with Tresham College in Northamptonshire. Tresham College has maintained its own identity but benefited from being part of the group which went to to be awarded The Best FE College in Britain status by the TES. Now across all campuses of TBCG students have access to great facilities, resources and teaching.
Allan Schofield, Chair of The Corporation at TBCG, said: “It brings together the two largest post-16 educators in the local authority area and creates a financially strong institution which will allow us to expand the educational opportunities to everyone in Central Bedfordshire and Luton.”
Ian Pryce, Chief Executive of TBCG said: “We already have a great relationship with the college but this will allow us to deepen and build that relationship to create something very special for our community, employers, staff and students.”