Bishop Burton chosen to run top college

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Bishop Burton College, one of the country’s most prestigious agricultural colleges, has announced it is expanding into Lincolnshire.

The East Yorkshire-based institute has now taken over delivery of further education courses at Riseholme College near Lincoln.

The FE provision at Riseholme was formally transferred from the University of Lincoln to Bishop Burton College, based near Beverley, after the college was selected earlier this year as the preferred provider.

Bishop Burton was selected following a competitive tendering process led by the Skills Funding Agency and the Young People’s Learning Agency.

Jeanette Dawson, Bishop Burton principal and chief executive, said her number one priority at this stage was “getting ready for the new intake of students at Riseholme”.

“We want to deliver a seamless transfer and concentrate on getting the courses right,” said Mrs Dawson.

“I am very pleased to say that a lot of Riseholme staff have already made the effort to come over to Bishop Burton and have a look around and make contact with their new colleagues. The positive impact on the staff at Riseholme of having land-based colleagues who understand further education, to bounce ideas about with, cannot be overestimated.”

Mrs Dawson added that during the bidding process she had taken “great heart and encouragement” from the high esteem the local community and employers held Riseholme in.

“A lot of people have very fond memories of their time at Riseholme and our job now is to build on that goodwill,” she said. “There are some very exciting times ahead and when we look back in years to come this takeover will, I’m sure, be seen as hugely important in the history of both colleges.”

The University of Lincoln had previously announced it would not be renewing its contract to run FE at Riseholme College, in order to focus on its higher education programmes. A spokeswoman said it will continue to run higher education degree programmes at its Riseholme Campus, working closely with Bishop Burton College.

The FE portfolio at Riseholme includes diplomas and work-based apprenticeships in subjects such as agriculture, animal management, horticulture and land-based engineering.

Existing FE teaching staff at Riseholme College and students continuing into the 2012/13 academic year have now transferred to Bishop Burton College.

A spokesman for the University of Lincoln added: “We’re leaving Riseholme in the hands of one of the country’s best-known and most respected land-based colleges, so we’re delighted that the future of further education at Riseholme has been secured.

“The university will still have a strong presence at the Riseholme campus, where we’ll continue to run higher education degree courses.”