NEW Celebrating 50 years of Reed Business School! – Reed Business School

Celebrating 50 years of Reed Business School

Autumn 2022 marks 50 years since Reed Business School (formerly Reed College of Accountancy) opened. It’s been quite a ride along the way, so this week we’re looking back at some of the key landmarks in our history.


Our founder, Sir Alec Reed, bought The Manor (our stunning Cotswolds home) and a few months later it was opened as a residential accountancy college and named Reed College of Accountancy. The first course the College ran had just three students!

The Chartered accountancy courses for examinations in the 1970s were run as eight-week crammer style courses with lectures running for 12-day continuous stretches, commencing from 9am going through to 10pm at night.

Thankfully this style of intensive last-minute approach has since been refined, with students today being taught over much longer periods and qualifications examined in a modular format.

The 1970s

The school became popular and was well-known for its high pass rates. Founding tutors Ken Preece and Lawrie Drury introduced the ‘guaranteed pass’, with the promise of free resits if students didn’t pass their exams first time.

They also went on to develop the range and number of accountancy qualifications which continue to be run today from the Business School.

The 1980s

Reed Educational Trust, a registered charity, was formed in the late 1980s and Reed College changed its name to Reed Business School, which is now the trading arm of the Trust. All the profits from the Business School are covenanted up to the Trust, donating funds to many charities involved in learning and education.

Some of the earliest graduates from Reed Business School, now partners or senior managers in firms, begin sending their trainee accountants to us, thus cementing Reed Business’s school’s position as the training provider of choice for many businesses across the UK.

The 1990s

Reed Business school became more structured and professional, hiring key staff, some of whom have been with us ever since. Operations Manager Stella Shaw recently celebrated her 30th anniversary with us, and our previous head chef, Craig Wright, had been serving up a very popular range of meals for us each day for over 20 years until he recently moved roles.

The Manor’s gardening team continue to make improvements and maintain the beautiful grounds, which are available to all our students for enjoyment and relaxation. The gardens are opened to the public, now on an annual basis, the popularity of which allow us to raise more important funds for charity.

The 2000s

We begin a series of major upgrade works to our suite of our 10 residential cottages, enabling students to relax in a home-from-home setting while studying hard during the day. This has become a core aspect of our offering and sets us apart from every other accountancy training provider we know about.

The explosion of the internet and rise in computer-based working means we modernise various other aspects of our operation to keep up with new technology. We begin hosting various internal meetings and training courses across the Reed family of companies, as we are the go-to destination for this.


While we’ve always been open about our exceptional pass rates, 2011 was when we began formally recording and publishing every single one – warts and all. That summer, Reed Business School pass rates across all ACCA papers were an average of 92% higher than the worldwide pass rate, and our CIMA pass rates (across all papers) were 33% higher than the national average.

We also had a prize winner – Hayley Cleaver – who came top in her ICAEW Professional Stage Audit & Assurances papers and won the Watts prize (for achieving the highest mark). Our Advanced results for this cohort were outstanding with a 93% of the class passing all 3 papers for the first time (58% higher than the national average).

We still publish our pass rate results in full every six months, with numbers very similar to the above. Check them all out here.


Reed Business school starts offering apprenticeships in accountancy (Level 4 and Level 7), enabling those from a wide range of backgrounds to become fully qualified accountants. In the five years since launching, we have helped hundreds of apprentices achieve their goal, with many more due to qualify soon.

Some of our apprentices have also won awards for their excellent exam achievements – read more about their success here.


Like many businesses, the covid pandemic meant we had to rapidly change our business model to deliver our world-class training online. We launched virtual classrooms and workspaces for our tutors and students to collaborate, many of which are still in operation today to support our blended learning methodologies.

Pass rates remained high that year – ACCA results were on average 79% higher than the national average across all papers, and ICAEW pass rates were 8% higher, plus we had two more prize winners in Lily Gammon and William Fowler.

2022 and beyond

Who knows what the future may bring, but we remain dedicated to being the best accountancy training provider in the country and supporting many more accountants through their journey to becoming fully qualified.

“Our unique residential courses make study a pleasure and increases the percentage of first-time passes. Our results are outstanding!” Sir Alec Reed

Would you like to start your accounting qualification with us? Click here to find out more

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