Chief Executive Officer
Following the announcement of the retirement of our current CEO, The Bedford College Group is seeking a new CEO (starting on 1 January 2024) to lead us successfully into the future. This is a major sector appointment as the Group is one of England’s largest further education colleges. The new CEO will need to bring their impeccable professional standing and experience to deliver our strategic priorities.
Located at the southern part of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, the Group’s ambition is to be both a regional and national FE leader taking advantage of the substantial local growth opportunities available. In doing so, the Group will not only emphasise excellence in everything it does but remain a values-driven institution supporting its local communities and employers and with a strong commitment to quality, diversity and inclusion.
We have appointed FE Associates to support us with this crucial appointment. Prior to submitting an application, interested parties are advised to arrange an initial conversation with our recruitment partner, by emailing Jo.Johnston@fea.co.uk, to discuss the role before the closing date.
About Us - Welcome
Thank you for taking an interest in the appointment of our new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This is a hugely important step for everyone at The Bedford College Group (and in particular for its Corporation), and the following pages set out the context and the requirements for the truly exceptional leader we are seeking. As one of the largest FE providers in England, this is a major sector appointment and, accordingly, we are seeking to appoint a candidate of impeccable professional standing and experience with a very strong track record of FE management and leadership at a senior level.
Our current CEO, Ian Pryce CBE, is retiring at the end of 2023 after many years of distinguished service, initially as the Principal of Bedford College and latterly as the CEO of The Bedford College Group. He is the longest serving Principal/CEO of any FE college in England and is well known and respected in the sector. On behalf of the Corporation, I thank him for all that he has done.
Ian leaves us very well placed to grow and become the truly excellent institution we want to be, and one of his final major tasks will be to oversee the initial implementation in 2023 of the proposed new merger with Central Bedfordshire College, which will significantly enhance integrated FE provision in Bedfordshire.
His successor will lead an institution continuing to be in transition: growing; making the merger work; continuing to enhance its services to its students, communities and employers; enhancing learning and teaching notwithstanding the financial environment; overseeing a long-term digital transformation; and delivering a new strategic plan.
As a serious candidate for the role, you will be used to browsing CEO job descriptions with their often overblown claims to institutional uniqueness and much of what you will really want to know - our strategic priorities, details of our financial position (ESFA outstanding), our management structure and so on - is available on this website page created to support this appointment at The Bedford College Group. What this means is that the details in the Candidate Information Pack concentrate on the key aspects of the role - what we want and how you might provide it - and if it matches your career aspirations, then please find additional information in the Role Requirements and Responsibilities and Person Specification document located with the Candidate Information Pack which you can access by registering your details below.
The Corporation recognises the challenges ahead (particularly the external ones) even for a very experienced leader, and sees itself working in genuine partnership with a new CEO: recognising the differences between governance and management but providing support and constructive challenge, and also expecting to be consulted at an early stage on key decisions. It also understands that for the new CEO, it will inevitably be a personal transition in their career and the Corporation will provide support on this journey.
The new CEO will inherit a strong institution: well managed by the Executive Team and other senior leaders; financially strong; well respected both in the communities it serves and also by the national sector bodies; and (we would like to think) reasonably well governed. However, the challenge in successfully implementing our new strategic plan, given the churn in the external political and economic environment, will be considerable - never mind looking forward towards and beyond 2030 and planning for the FE college of the future.
We have appointed FE Associates to support us with this crucial appointment. Prior to submitting an application, interested parties are advised to arrange an initial discussion with our recruitment partner, by emailing Jo.Johnston@fea.co.uk, to discuss the role before the closing date.
This is an exciting and hugely challenging opportunity to lead one of England's major FE colleges and the Corporation looks forward to hearing from those who want to join us.
Chair of the Corporation of The Bedford College Group
If you have the very special qualities and the passion to make a real a difference to the future of our students and business, then we would like to hear from you.
Please complete the registration form below to access the candidate information pack, application form and the equality and diversity form.
Closing date: 9am on Thursday 9 March 2023
Interview dates: Monday 27 March and Tuesday 28 March 2023
Candidate Information Pack.pdf
Strategic Plan 2022-2027.pdf
Annual Review 2021.pdf
Annual Report and Financial Statements 2021.pdf
Annual Report and Financial Statements 2020.pdf
Ofsted Inspection Report.pdf
For further information about the role including job description and application form please visit the vacancies section of our website via the apply link.
- The Bedford College Group
- Competitive salary and benefits
- Subject Area
- Job Level
- Chief Executive / Principal
- Job Function
- Quality and Standards, Strategy and Planning
- Contract Type
- Full Time