Education: A-Z of Higher Education Colleges Homerton College, Cambridge

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Age: 269

History: Founded in London in 1695 as a dissenting academy whose aims were to provide an untainted course of academic training for the ministry; it trained puritan priests. Acquired its name in 1823 from Homerton in east London. Moved from there to Cambridge in 1894.

Address: Main site is at Hills Road, 10 minutes by bike from city centre.

Ambience: Stunning 25-acre site with gardens, playing-fields and small orchard. Architecture ranges from Victorian to 1990s. Latest addition is Mary Allan Building, containing the main teaching areas, an auditorium and large library. Two new halls of residence, complete with en suite study bedrooms, opened in September 1998.

Vital statistics: An independent specialist college within Cambridge University, it's the least Cambridge-like college, educating teachers, nurses and midwives. Until recently, it was primarily a teacher-training college but merged with Cambridgeshire College of Health Studies in 1995. Has 3,000 students doing education and health degrees, including a three- year BA without QTS combining subjects such as English or history with education studies, B Ed or PGCE. Ratio of women to men undergraduates is 65:35; postgraduates 86:13.

Added value: Hot on women's rugby, football and rowing.

Easy to get into? For the BA course you need AAB grades at A-level; for the B Ed you need anything between BCD and BBC, depending on subject.

Glittering alumni: Nick Hancock, TV personality; Julie Covington, actor; Bill Dod, television presenter; Matthew Singer, rugby player for Saracens; Jan Harvey, television actor.

Transport links: Train station within easy reach - trains to London take less than an hour. Cycling is good, too, because Cambridge is soooooo flat.

Who's the boss? Dr Kate Pretty, an archaeologist and big wheel in Cambridge University admin and chairman of the OCR exam board.

Teaching: Scored 21 out of 24 for health studies. In Ofsted's 1995-96 primary teacher training sweep, it received two 2s and two 3s, making it "sound to good". In the follow-up last year it excelled, being awarded 14 grade 1s. For secondary teacher-training in English, science, RE and modern languages it received six 1s, making it "very good". In art and mathematics it received three 1s and three 2s.

Research: Awarded a 3a in education (top grade is 5) in the 1996 research assessment exercise, when 84 per cent of its staff were judged to be research- active.

Financial health: In the black.

Night-life: Regular bops in the union room. Annual May ball is held in June. Plus all the pubs and night-clubs that Cambridge offers.

Cheap to live in? En suite room in new student accommodation costs pounds 65 a week; food is pounds 12 extra. Private rents average pounds 60 a week. Cheaper college rooms also available and very cheap NHS hostels for student nurses - pounds 63 a month.

Buzz-question? Are you going up Fifth tonight? (Fifth Avenue is Cambridge's premier night-club).

Next week: Glasgow School of Art