THE principal of Craven College, Robert Bellfield, is to retire later this year.

His retirement, at the end of October, comes after the Skipton based college received an overall 'good' rating from Ofsted, with apprenticeships rated 'outstanding'.

Mr Bellfield, who has been principal for seven years, has spent 36 years in further education.

He started as a teacher of agriculture at Northumberland College of Agriculture in 1982, followed by roles at Myerscough College and Aberdeen College.

During his time in Skipton, the college has maintained its success and financial viability during a period of severe financial constraint and policy change for further education colleges.

It has also refurbished or renewed almost all its buildings and teaching facilities to ensure that resources are up to date for staff and students and to ensure the college meets the needs of both local and regional employers.

He said: "It has been an honour to be principal of Craven College and a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. Given the quality of its staff and the tremendous support the college receives locally I am confident it will go from strength to strength over the coming years, and continue to be a crucial part of the Craven community and economy."

Chairman of the board of governors, David Mabbitt said: "The board recognises Robert’s contribution to the success of the college during his tenure as principal. The platform for the future of the college is now well established.”

The governors have begun the process of recruiting a new principal to ensure a smooth transition in the Autumn.