College CEO retires from “the best job in Bedford”

Ian Pryce CBE is retiring after 26 years. Image: Bedford College Group

After 26 years as Principal and CEO of the Bedford College Group, the Grand Hall at Bedford Sixth From was a fitting location for the official retirement dinner of Ian Pryce CBE.

The evening saw 100 colleagues and ‘influencers’ from across the further education (FE) sector gather to honour Ian, the longest-serving FE leader in the country.

And among the guests were the two governors who appointed Ian as a fresh-faced young Finance Director 26 years ago.

The focal point of the evening was a ‘This is Your Life’ presentation, with eight guests speaking and sharing stories of the highlights of Ian’s career. A ninth was Zoomed in from overseas who talked about Ian’s support for, what was 25 years ago, a pioneering football academy project – used as a model in colleges throughout the UK.  

Ian Pryce, out-going CEO of Bedford College Group, surrounded by colleagues at his retirement dinner
“Ian Pryce CBE, this is your life”. Image: Bedford College Group

Football has always been Ian’s abiding passion, who managed to bring Chelsea FC into any speech he made throughout his career, together with the phrase: “I have the best job in Bedford”.

On his retirement, Ian received a letter of congratulations from the club.

A heartfelt keynote speech was made by Bedfordshire MP Richard Fuller who was the former MP of Bedford and Kempston and now for North East Beds.

“Ian has made an outstanding contribution to our community through his leadership which has seen Bedford College a powerful force in the region and one of the best colleges in the UK,” said Richard.

Most recently the Bedford College campus upgrade was completed with the refurbished tower alongside the river. Ian was at the opening, when he handed over the keys to the Group to his successor Yiannis Koursis OBE. 

Read: Bedford College shines bright as first Bedford Town Deal project is completed

Chair of the Bedford Town Deal, Samantha Laycock spoke about Ian’s contribution to the Love Bedford/Bedford BID organisation and how the college was a major supporter of businesses locally.

Beyond the original campus, Ian’s catalogue of successes included mergers with Shuttleworth College near Bigglewsade, Tresham College in Northants and most recently Central Beds College, the opening of The Bedford Sixth Form in a heritage educational environment and a new-style sixth form in Corby town centre.

This together with growth in student numbers and robust finances, means he leaves behind one of the top ten colleges in the UK.

“I have felt very loved by so many in the last few weeks. I wish Yiannis every success in the future.”

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