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Our Leadership team

Leadership team

A warm welcome from our leadership team

The Bedford College Group is led by a dynamic leadership team who have a great wealth of professional and management experience.

Who we are

Ian Pryce CBE, Chief Executive

Ian Pryce CBE

Ian Pryce CBE is now Chief Executive Officer of the Group having joined the College in 1996 as Finance Director and quickly becoming Principal in 1998. Ian is primarily responsible for the overall leadership and strategic direction of the Group.

With over thirty years of experience in both the public and private sector, Ian started his working life with Liverpool Council and went on to progress through various roles in different sectors, until discovering his passion for further education whilst working for the Further Education Funding Council.

For the past two decades, he has chaired many external bodies including the National Data Service, UTC Central Bedfordshire, the Bedford Free School, and the Bedford Town centre company and two of its predecessor regeneration partnerships. He is currently chair of the Regulatory Committee of Cambridge Assessment (Part of Cambridge University) and UTC Silverstone.

In 2017, as Principal, Ian led the merger bid between Bedford College and Tresham College to establish The Bedford College Group. More recently, he has led a team for the proposed merger with Central Bedfordshire College (CBC).

His most notable professional achievements include his work creating Bedford’s first academy and first Free School, and being awarded CBE status in 2011.

Ian studied at the University of Manchester and is a fellow of the Charted Institution of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) as a qualified accountant (University of Liverpool). He has also completed the Executive Leadership programme for Principals at the University of Oxford.

Ian most enjoys helping transform local communities to present individuals with new opportunities to learn and succeed. He demonstrates a keenness to work alongside a team of brilliant students, staff, and stakeholders of the Group.

Karen Campbell, Principal for Bedford College and Shuttleworth College 

Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell is Principal of Bedford College and Shuttleworth College.

Joining the Group as an Additional Learning Support Manager in 2007, Karen has since held several management roles– such as Head of Department for Care, Childcare and Counselling and then Director of Adult and Social Studies.

Karen is passionate about working within an organisation that provides staff with the opportunity to continue to learn and study. She is a graduate of both the University of Greenwich and the University of Bedfordshire, where she has been awarded various diplomas and certificates in Teacher Education, Professional Development as well as Strategic Leadership and Management.

Notable professional achievements include achieving her Master’s degree in Education Leadership back in 2014. Karen is a Governor at UTC Silverstone where she is Chair of the Curriculum and Achievement Committee. In addition, she is the Executive Sponsor for the Disability Forum and is also a member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility cross-college groups.

Em Lowe, Deputy Chief Executive 

Em Lowe

Em Lowe is Deputy Chief Executive for the Group overseeing a range of key areas related to the student experience and student success including Quality, Exams, Additional Learning Support, Professional Development, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, T – Levels, Student Services, Centre Administration and Health and Safety.

Since joining the Group in 2012, Em remains committed to the Group’s vision to become a leading advocate for learning within the local community. Whilst with us, Em has been shortlisted for the 2021 TES FE Leader of the Year Award and has been lead on in Ofsted Inspections resulting in Good judgements. Em has also been the lead for the Group’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Em is involved in many internal and external steering groups and forums, to retain a strong focus on students, learning and quality. Some of these include the Group’s EDI Committee, Safeguarding Committee, Safety Committee and externally on the AoC Strategic Teaching & Learning group and the Bedford Borough Strategic Safeguarding Board.

With over 20 years of experience within the FE sector, Em has undertaken many roles, including Lecturer, Head of Department and Curriculum Director. She studied at the University of Greenwich where she received her Certificate in Education in Post-16 Training

Some of her most notable achievements include her current Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion portfolio. Most recently, the Group became the first college to achieve ‘Gold’ for the School and College Champion Award from Stonewall.

Em is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community and actively aims to represent and advocate for staff and student groups throughout the Group and in the FE sector.

Pat Jones, Deputy Chief Executive

Pat Jones

Pat joined as Executive Director of Finance in 2013 having worked in a range of public sector organisations. She is accountable to the Corporation Board for the Group’s Estate and has responsibility for maintaining the Group’s outstanding financial health grade. Pat’s specialisms include Leadership and Management, Identification and Application of Funding Streams as well as leading the Group in new ventures and developments.

Over the past ten years, she has continued to drive organisational change and played a critical role in the successful merger of Tresham College and Bedford College in 2017 as well as the acquisition of Aston Recruitment and Training, a Northampton-based Independent Training Provider. Pat’s  most notable professional achievements have included leading on bids which to date have exceeded £43m including securing £7.5 million towards a £10 million redevelopment of the Wellingborough Campus.

She is currently leading the regeneration of the Bedford College Tower Block as well as a zero carbon sixth form being established in the heart of Corby town centre. Pat is determined to achieve the Group’s objective to become a net zero carbon organisation by 2050.

Pat was shortlisted in the FE Leader of the year category in 2019. She is the Chair of Aston Recruitment and Training and a Board member of Bedford College Professional Services. In 2017, the Group was responsible for Wixams Academy where Pat helped secure funding from the Department of Education. Today, the MAT remains exceptionally strong financially and ensures that 96% of funding is allocated to the school heads which is one of the highest allocations in the sector.

Sheraz Amin, Executive Director of Digital Transformation

Sheraz Amin

Sheraz Amin is one of the Group’s Executive Directors, with responsibility for the Digital Transformation. He pays a particular emphasis on the strategic use of technology across the Group in order to improve processes, the user experience, and most importantly implements technology into teaching and learning. After 20 years within the Financial Services sector, Sheraz joined the Group in 2022.

Sheraz enjoys seeing teams grow, learn new skills and take on more responsibility. He is responsible for overseeing the activities of the Digital Experience Team, IT Services, along with the Print Services team. Some notable roles he held before joining the Group included the Head of Digital Transformation for Santander, Portfolio Manager for TUI UK & Ireland and as the Head of Application Support/ Merger Consultant for Old Mutual.

Achieving a BSc in Business Information Systems at De Montfort University, Sheraz has since gone on to achieve Prince2, MSP Practitioner and APM Project Management qualifications. As a strong believer in innovation and collaboration Sheraz is currently a member of the Association for Project Managers (MAPM) and is a founding member and rotating Chair for the East IT SLT.

Outside of work, he loves spending quality time with his wife and four children, as well as travelling, DIY and reading.

Sarah Baxter, Executive Director for Marketing and Student Recruitment

Sarah Baxter

Sarah Baxter is one of the Group’s Executive Directors, with accountability for marketing and communications, enquiries and admissions, stakeholder feedback and research to inform business decisions.  With a background in marketing and business management within the services sector, Sarah has worked for the Group for over 20 years, progressing through a number of different roles and being appointed to the Executive leadership team in 2009.

Sarah’s portfolio involves playing a key part in planning and shaping the Group’s strategic direction, identifying business opportunities and helping the Group to grow to bring more choice to its local communities. Some notable projects Sarah has worked on include launching The Bedford Sixth Form, the first dedicated A Level College in the area, and the merger between Bedford College and Tresham College which has led to a growth in student numbers and the significant expansion of Tresham’s Wellingborough campus.

Sarah is a Chartered Marketer with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, holds post-graduate professional marketing and public relations qualifications, and recently achieved an MSc in Marketing from the University of Leicester.  She has also won numerous marketing industry awards, including College Marketer of the Year, and is proud of building professional and high-performing teams who have a strong reputation in the sector. As a believer in continuous improvement, she sits on the FE College Marketing Steering Group which is a national group striving for excellence in the sector. Additionally, she the Executive Sponsor for the Women’s Forum.

Caroline Biddle, Executive Director for HR (Human Resources)

Caroline Biddle

Caroline joined the Group in 2019 as Executive Director for HR (Human Resources). As an active member of the leadership team, she is accountable for the human resources management and payroll functions across the entirety of the Group’s campuses. Areas of expertise include, but are not limited to, HR Management, Process Improvement and Change Management, Recruitment and Onboarding, Employee and Stakeholder Engagement, Employee Learning and Development, Employment and Labour Laws as well as Revenue Growth and Cost Control.

Her professional career spans over thirty years within the public and not-for-profit sectors. Caroline began her working life within Child Protection Services. She later became the Human Resources Manager for the Metropolitan Police, overseeing the management of Riot Police, Traffic Police and Dog Handlers within the organisation and has worked in both charity and commercial sides of Social Care and Learning Disability Support.

Due to her enthusiasm and demonstrated abilities, she was appointed her first Director of Human Resources role in 2004, this being the professional achievement she is most proud of.

Caroline studied at Middlesex University where she gained her PGDip Degree in Human Resources Management as well as her Masters in Employment Law. Outside of work, she is a Trustee for the Saracens Sport Foundation, which is a charity arm of the Saracens Rugby Club.

Debbie Houghton, Executive Director of Apprenticeships and Business Development

Debbie Houghton

As the Executive Director of Apprenticeships and Business Development for the Group, Debbie is responsible for the overall strategic direction and performance of the Apprenticeships and Business Development Teams. Having worked in the Further Education and Apprenticeship sectors for over twenty years, Debbie joined us in 2017 and was appointed to Executive Leadership Team in the summer of 2022.

In her current role, Debbie is grateful for the opportunity to learn something new every day whilst leading, managing and collaborating with some of the best people in the sector. Debbie enjoys working at the Group, as it enables her to continue her professional development within ‘the best college in the region’. She is most proud of being promoted to Executive Leadership Team as well as completing her MBA.

Debbie has taken charge of her own development plan and has completed her MBA through Open University. In addition to her MBA, she also holds a variety of higher education degrees and qualifications regarding Education and Management. Before joining the Group, her previous role was the Director of Faculty for Milton Keynes College. She is a non-executive Director on the Board for Aston Training and Recruitment Ltd, part of The Bedford College Group, as well as a Board Trustee for the charity-based Awarding Organisation – VTCT.

Outside of her role for the Group work she loves the simple things in life – travel, good food and cultural experiences.