Bedford College

What our service does

Bedford College offer programmes of education for young people and adult working from pre-entry to Higher Education in a wide range of academic and vocational areas. The college successfully support young people and adults to progress into Higher Education and work. The college also provide specialist provision for young people within discrete groups, should you be interested in this offer please refer to our section on Supported Learning Courses.

The college offer a range of support for those young people with an identified Learning Difficulty and/or Disability according to individual need. Typical services provided can include:

• 1-1 or small group support outside of the main class where students may develop study skills, English and/or maths to support them to achieve their main qualification.
• Teaching Assistant support within both structured and un-structured times if appropriate.
• Learning Support Assistants to support with physical and personal care needs if required.
• Specialist exam arrangements

Alongside these services we have specialist Autism, Deaf and Dyslexia Co-ordinators.

The Autism Co-ordinator provides specialist support to both students and staff to promote effective support and student achievement to those on the spectrum, this can include mentoring support, staff development and assessment. The Co-ordinator is supported by an Assistant and together they provide daily drop in sessions for students at both our Cauldwell Street and Shuttleworth campuses.

At our Cauldwell Street site we have a dedicated base room called ‘The Haven’ which students can access throughout the day. The specialist team also work with students to plan social activities which have included bowling, ice skating at Christmas, meals out and an arts evening with pizza!

The Deaf Co-ordinator is herself Hard of Hearing and her preferred method of communication is British Sign Language, this provides her with a unique insight that she is able to utilise to meet the needs of students both in terms of mentoring and pairing to a communicator. The Deaf Co-ordinator delivers training to staff in develop their awareness and BSL communication skills. The Deaf Co-ordinator is supported by a team of experienced communicators.

The team also have two Dyslexia Co-ordinators who provide staff awareness training, specialist teaching and exam arrangements.

The focus of the college support team is very much upon supporting students to become as independent as they possibly can within their learning to support their longer term aspirations.

Location of our service

The college attracts students from across the region and beyond, particularly in the case of our Shuttleworth campus which is a specialist land-based college with residential capacity. The college run a number of sites across Bedfordshire including the Bedford Sixth Form. All services identified are run across the sites and in the work place where students are enrolled on college courses.

Who our service provides for

The college work with young people from 16 onwards. Young people accessing mainstream college courses are assessed against the criteria of their chosen course, not their disability.

How to start using our service

Young people can access the college by making an online application or requesting a prospectus where they can find an application form.

There are no fees for young people accessing funded courses at the college with a current Learning Difficulties Assessment or Education Health and Care Plan up to the age of 25.

The college run experience days where young people can join the course of their choice to gain an experience prior to making an application, further information can be found at

How decisions are made about who can use our service

Places are offered according to students achieving the entry requirements of the course they have applied for; where a student is not successful alternatives will be offered.

How we communicate with our service users

The college seek students and stakeholder views in a variety of way to improve its service which include surveys, Student Counsel, student and staff governors.

As identified the college promotes specialist Deaf services and are able to provide BSL communicators, alongside hearing loops at main counters.

The college has a number of ways of communicating with parents/carers to share information on student’s progress where they have agreed for this to happen. This includes parent/carer meetings, reports, Virtual Learning Environment, tutor and Personal Tutor contact.

Accessibility of our service

The environment is wheelchair accessible and there are hearing loops in place or available portably on all sites. There are disabled toilets and changing facilities.

There is no identified base room for students with the exception of the specialist ‘The Haven’ on the Cauldwell Street campus for those young people with autism and the Deaf Team Room.

Support needs are assessed on an individual basis to ensure student’s needs are met.

Qualifications and training of our staff

All staff across college have undertaken disability awareness training. The Deaf, Autism and Dyslexia Co-ordinators deliver training and individual support sessions on a regular basis to support staff working with young people with a diagnosis. Where needs are more individualised for example students with specialist medical needs the college work with external agencies to source training.

General Contact Information

Please contact Katrina O’Brien – Assistant Director – Foundation and Additional Support on 01234 291652 or via email at


Nina Sharp – Additional Support Manager on 01234 291622 or via email at

Contact for more information

Katrina O'Brien
Assistant Director – Foundation and Additional Support
Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AH
01234 291652
Opening Hours:
Monday – Friday 8.30-10.00 (Term Time)
Monday- Friday 8.30-7.00 (Out of term