A-Z of Higher Education Colleges: Edge Hill College of Higher Education

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The Independent Online
Age: 113

History: Founded in 1885 as the first non-denominational teacher-training college for women in the Edge Hill district of Liverpool. Moved 14 miles to Ormskirk in 1933. One of the first teacher-training colleges to diversify in the Seventies.

Address: Main campus on the edge of Ormskirk, a market town in Lancashire. School of health studies is in Fazakerley, Liverpool. Continuing professional development is at Woodlands in Chorley.

Ambience: The 75-acre, semi-rural Ormskirk site contains mainly redbrick buildings but there is also a sprinkling of modern-glass and steel edifices and some wrought-iron sculptures. Close to some lovely countryside and the seaside at Southport. Manchester and Liverpool are near enough for easy access and frequent kicks.

Vital statistics: One of the biggest colleges of higher education, with more than 7,500 students studying across five schools - humanities and arts, management and social sciences, sport and technology, health studies, and education. Male/female mix is 30:70. One-third of undergraduates are over 21 on entry; one-third are trainee teachers; 18 per cent are studying nursing. Degrees are validated by Lancaster University. Edge Hill has not yet applied for its own degree-awarding powers.

Added value: Spiffing new pounds 4m sports complex stretches over 25 acres adjacent to Ormskirk campus, so you can run, jump and swim until you virtually drop dead. Contains squash courts, a sports hall, running tracks and tennis courts - all of which are open to the public.

Easy to get into? For a regular degree and for teacher-training, what you need are two Cs at A-level; for sports you will need

a B and a C.

Glittering alumni: The actor Jonathan Pryce; Anna White, head of the Ridings School in Halifax, West Yorkshire, who completed an education management course at Edge Hill; Ann McCormack, commercial planner, Metal Box Co.

Transport links: To get to Ormskirk from London, you need to take a train to Liverpool and then change (two hours and 40 minutes). Nationwide connections can be made at Preston, too. Or you can simply hop on a bus. Or come to that you can catch the Metro from Liverpool. Motorways are three miles away.

Who's the boss? Social geographer John Cater, who is renowned for playing a mean game of squash.

Teaching: Scored 14 out of 24 in drama, dance and cinematics; 17 in French; 20 in communication and media studies. For secondary teacher-training its Ofsted scores were good/very good in business and economics; good in English; good/adequate in foreign languages and science.

Research: Did better than seven new universities in the 1996 research assessment exercise. Achieved a 3b (top grade is 5) in social policy and administration.

Financial health: In the black.

Night-life: Students Union's The Venue is the hub of social life, with shops and a licensed bar under one roof. For a more cosmopolitan buzz, you should try out Cream in Liverpool and Manchester's "Village" area.

Cheap to live in? Costs pounds 33-65 a week for a room in a hall of residence, depending on whether you want self-catering or full board. Private sector rentals range from pounds 31 to pounds 45 a week.

Buzz-phrase: It's kickin'.

Next week: Edinburgh College of Art