A-Z of Higher Education Colleges: Canterbury Christ Church University College

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Also known as: CCCC or C4.

Age: 36.

History: Founded by the C of E to train teachers for church schools, it expanded hugely in the late Eighties to offer nursing and other paramedical subjects, as well as other degrees.

Address: Located on part of St Augustine's Abbey (founded AD597) right by the city walls, it is overlooked by Canterbury Cathedral (pictured). Another site is near Tunbridge Wells.

Ambience: Compact campus, five minutes walk from city centre, boasts high Sixties' architecture and other modern buildings, which somehow blend with the ancient stuff. All Canterbury sites within walking distance of one another. Tunbridge site, housing clinical psychology and health services management, is called Solomons - former stately home of Sir David Solomons, first Jewish Lord Mayor of London.

Vital statistics: Grown to 10,000 students on teaching and other degrees, or doing nursing and social work diplomas. The majority (73 per cent) are women; 56 per cent are over 30.Validates its own taught degrees, but University of Kent still validates postgraduate degrees. Has applied to the Privy Council to change its name to University College. Still a church foundation, although the influence is subtle.

Added value: Specialises in courses for professionals, e.g. nurses, midwives, teachers, radio producers and people working in tourism. Radio, film and television department has links with BSkyB.

Easy to get into? For occupational therapy, you need CCC or BB at A-level. For other degrees you need CC at A-level, a Merit at GNVQ, or a pass for access programmes.

Glittering alumni: Simon Myers, TV director (The Bill, Ballykissangel, City Central); Graham Chisnell, 26-year-old headteacher; Bob Green, project manager, Home Office's Forensic Science Service; Rev John Guille, archdeacon designate of the Bishop of Basingstoke.

Transport links: Parking is difficult in Canterbury. Rush hour lasts all day. So use your feet or buses for local travel. If you want to hop over to France, it's dead easy, and the shopping is cheaper there. London by train or bus is just one-and-a-half hours away.

Who's the boss? Professor Michael Wright, formerly Vice-principal of Napier University, and an expert on employment law.

Teaching: Rated 21 out of 24 for degree in American studies; 22 for nursing and midwifery. Rated highly by Ofsted for primary teacher training. Awarded 14 grade ones (top grade). Rated good in secondary teacher training for English.

Research: Did well in the research assessment exercise. Did better than 31 new universities, and worse than 11. Scored a 3a in theology (top grade is 5), music and history.

Financial health: In the black.

Nightlife: Improving. Canterbury now has three nightclubs and theme pubs abound, if you can bear them. In fact, Canterbury has pubs galore. Students union bar doubles as club venue, hosting three club nights a week.

Cheap to live in? For pounds 78 you can have an en suite room and food; without food you pay pounds 69. Self-catering rooms cost pounds 50-54.50 (plus electricity). Private rents average pounds 45 a week.

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