STAFF and students at Keighley College have “a real aspiration to help the town develop and succeed”.

That was the message from Steve Kelly as he took over the reins at the campus, in Bradford Road.

He has succeeded Heather Whitehead as principal. She announced her retirement earlier this year.

“Keighley College is a fantastic college at the heart of the community – and the staff and students are fantastic,” said Mr Kelly.

“I am committed to working with all the staff to ensure that students who take part in our programmes get a full educational experience and gain the necessary skills and knowledge to progress to the next level, be it higher education or employment.”

Mr Kelly has worked in the further education sector for 30 years in a number of settings, including young offender institutions.

He began as a learning support assistant, and became a special educational needs lecturer.

He’s also taught and managed performing arts, health and social care and teacher education.

Mr Kelly was a member of the management team at Sheffield and Chesterfield colleges before joining Leeds City College, of which Keighley is a part, in 2017 as director of 14/19 and special educational needs and disability (SEND).

The provision received an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted last year.

And under Mr Kelly’s leadership, the college was recognised as a centre of good practice for SEND and remains the largest provider of high needs education in the country.

He has also served on several professional boards and governing bodies, including the Springwell Trust.