A-Z of Higher Education: Cheltenham and Gloucester

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A-Z of Higher

Education

Cheltenham and Gloucester

Age: 11

Only a sprog, then? Yes, though its roots go way back. It was born of a merger between the College of St Paul and St Mary (a Church of England teacher-training college created in 1847) and the higher education bit of the Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology.

Address: Cheltenham, that doyen of English spa towns.

Ambience: Three main sites in Cheltenham: Park campus is set in 30 acres of parkland; Pittville campus, containing art and design, has a new media block plus exhibition space; Francis Close Hall, based on a former historic quadrangular college, is for students of leisure and environment studies.

Vital statistics: It's a big college of higher education with more than 8,000 full and part-time students - and is highly thought of. The college has the power to award its own taught and research degrees (like Bolton)and is aiming to become a university in the millennium. Church origins are still important. A site in Gloucester is expected to be added.

Added value: Bright and welcoming students' union.

Easy to get into? You need two A-level passes, averaging 10 to 16 points (minimum of a C and a D). But the college takes mature students without A-levels.

Glittering alumni: Chris Broad and Sarah Potter, cricketers; David Bryant, bowls champion; Roger Lovegrove, wildlife broadcaster; Jonathan Callard, rugby international.

Transport links: Direct train service from London, Bristol, Birmingham and the north, or take the coach.Free bus service to the town centre.

Who's the boss? Janet Trotter, who trained to teach religious education in the early Sixties and has since added other degrees - including an MSc from Henley in business administration.

Teaching: Scored 20 out of 24 in sociology and communication and media studies; 21 in town and country planning and landscape. Rated good to very good in primary teacher-training sweep. Ditto with history, maths and foreign languages in secondary teacher training.

Research: Better than 24 new universities in the research assessment exercise. Achieved a 4 (top grade is 5) in town and country planning

Financial health: In the black.

Night-life: Park students' union bar is the centre of social life and heaves most nights.

Cheap to live in? pounds 52 a week for a room in college; pounds 42 for a room in private accommodation.

Next week: Chester.

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