Education: A-Z of Higher Education Colleges: This Week: University of Birmingham, Westhill

Age: 92

History: Founded in 1907 as a college for the training of non-conformist Sunday school teachers. Land was donated by Quakers - the Cadbury's chocolate people - and a lot of the early teaching was basic literacy. Moved into community and youth work and Froebel education. Later began to train primary school teachers.

Address: Leafy south-west Birmingham, three miles from the city centre.

Ambience: Mix of old and new buildings, from the redbrick arts and crafts edifice to a pounds 5.25m learning resource centre put up in 1997. An eight- storey unsightly accommodation block has been mothballed. All set in 80 acres of garden and playing fields in an almost village atmosphere next to Bournville.

Vital statistics: Small college of higher education with 850 full-time students and 120 PGCE students. Has now diversified out of teacher training. Runs degrees in such courses as creative arts, English and art, childhood studies, race and ethnic studies, and maths, science and psychology. Part of the University of Birmingham since August 1999. Male/female ratio 1:3. One-half mature students.

Added value: Teaches Islamic studies. Muslim parents are happy to send their daughters there. The college is proud of its record in widening access- one quarter of students are from Asian/Afro-Caribbean backgrounds.

Easy to get into? You'll need two A-level passes if you're coming in at 18, but the college operates an open-entry policy.

Glittering alumni: Sue Gormley, headteacher, Ward End School, Birmingham; Terry Martin, headteacher, Tiverton School, Birmingham; teacher Diana Sperry won the Guardian Award for the most creative use of information and communication technology in primary schools.

Transport links: To get into town, you can take the cross-city rail service or a bus up the Bristol Road. Getting to Birmingham is easy by road or train.

Who's the boss? History Professor John Briggs, a collector and historian of Staffordshire pottery.

Teaching: Scored 17 out of 24 in art and design. In Ofsted's primary teacher training inspection was rated good; in secondary RE teacher training was rated good to adequate.

Research: Beat three new universities in the 1996 research assessment exercise. Achieved a 3b in theology (top grade is 5).

Financial health: In the black. Will be better off still as a result of merger with Birmingham University.

Nightlife: The Yard and Bucket bar on campus. Annual summer ball. Local pubs and clubs offer student discounts.

Cheap to live in? Room in hall costs pounds 73 a week including meals. Private accommodation in Selly Oak costs about pounds 40 a week (no food).

Buzzphrase: Drunk as a skunk (what happens to students on Thursdays).

Next week: Westminster College, Oxford

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

WORLDbytes: Two-Day Intensive Camera training and Shoot: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March

expenses on shoots: WORLDbytes: Volunteering with a media based charity,for a ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 4 Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A school in Tameside is currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are currently looking for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower