Bishop Burton College Principal announces retirement

Bill Meredith, Principal and Chief Executive of Bishop Burton College, will retire at the end of the academic year after six years in the role.

Bill has spent a large part of his 42 years in land-based education at Bishop Burton College, during which time the college has consistently performed as ‘Good’ overall and ‘Outstanding’ for its residential provision in Ofsted terms.

The college remains true to its agricultural roots but has diversified its curriculum considerably over the years to include subjects such as Engineering, Animal Management, Equine, Sport, and Public Services. This approach has fuelled the growth that was needed to enable the college to thrive and maintain its independent specialist land-based college status with a turnover currently topping £30m.

Riseholme College near Lincoln merged with the College in 2012 and, soon after, Bill became heavily involved in the development of a totally new campus on the Lincolnshire Showground. The merger has since proved incredibly successful and secured the future of land-based education in Lincolnshire.

As Principal, Bill led on the college’s successful bid to become a founding member of both the Yorkshire & Humber Institute of Technology and the Lincolnshire Institute of Technology. This has led to substantial capital investment in agri-tech teaching resources, including the Centre for Precision Agriculture at Bishop Burton and the Centre for Agri-Food Technology at Riseholme.

More recently, Bill realised a long-held ambition to establish a new Centre for Pig Industry Training on the college’s 890-acre farm, demonstrating the college’s enduring commitment to the livestock industry.

Commenting on his decision to retire, Bill said: “I feel it’s time to step down and make way for someone who can commit themselves to writing the next chapter of the college’s success story. I’m so grateful to have worked with such a dedicated staff team and for the support I’ve had from our College Board and industry partners.”

Ian Sackree, the college’s Chair of Governors, said: “Bill has overseen an exciting period for the college – leading through significant sector change and challenge, not least the Covid Pandemic, the start of qualification reform and the college’s move from the private to public sector and all that entails.

“During this time, as a standard bearer for all that is innovative in land-based education, the college successfully entered the first wave to introduce T Levels, now in their fourth year of successful delivery with our supportive employers. Bill has also led from the front in advancing our sustainability agenda, aiming to make key parts of our estate such as our College Farm carbon neutral well ahead of the curve.

“During Bill’s tenure, the college has continued to make significant investment in its estate, and the fact that Ofsted recognised us twice in 2023, as Outstanding for our Residential Care and Good with Outstanding features for our core provision, and ‘Strong’ for skills and employer relationships, is testament to the fantastic job Bill has done. Bill can step down in the knowledge that he has left the college well equipped for the future and its next Principal and custodian.”