Three Principals at a Tea Party ....

4 April 2016

It was tea party time recently at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College at the inaugural marking of the colleges’ 35th birthday.

Held in Priory Hall at our Welsh Bridge Campus, the guests of honour were two previous Principals Martin Thorpe and Bill Dowell, pictured here with current Principal Martin Ward.

Martin Thorpe had been Headmaster of Priory Boys School since 1975 and was instrumental in the setting up of the sixth form college in 1981. A Classics teacher, he told us that Latin was taught at the college until 1993 and that Classical Civilisation, led by a renowned Classics expert Alan Potter was one of the more popular subjects.

Martin was succeeded by Bill Dowell in 1993. Previously Head of Wrockwardwine Wood School (now Telford Priory School), Bill saw the college grow from 600 students to over 1100; the implementation of the AS and A2 A level system in 2000 and the creation of the Shrewsbury Partnership for Education and Training which bought together Shrewsbury secondary schools and post 16 providers SSFC and Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology to better work together to serve the students of Shrewsbury.

Then to Principal Martin Ward who moved back to SSFC in 2008 from King Edward Sixth Form College in Nuneaton. Martin had previously been at SSFC as Director and Assistant Principal. Martin has seen the college estate grow to two campuses, centrally situated at both English Bridge and Welsh Bridge; the curriculum change with the implementation of advanced level BTECs and of course, the return of the two year A Level.

It is envisaged that this tea party will be the start of other celebratory activities to mark our 35 years and we’re hoping that more people who attended the college will sign up to our Alumni association by going to our website – – and let us know their memories.