Pearson College: A revolution in actual, no-messing higher education
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 12 December 2013
Arriving at Pearson College in London's Strand, it looks nothing like a seat of learning. It is housed in a resplendent office block, as befits the first degree-awarding body to be run by a FTSE-100 company. And it is part of a revolution in higher education that is likely to mushroom in the coming decade.
It has 110 students – 80 of whom arrived this September – studying for a business and enterprise honours degree course validated by the Royal Holloway, part of the University of London.
During the next decade, it has plans to expand to the size of a small-to-medium university offering a range of study options to about 10,000 students. It hopes to get its own degree-awarding powers from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the future.
It won't, though, mean Pearson College becoming the largest private provider of degree courses, according to its principal Roxanne Stockwell, an Australian whose previous incarnations include working for a theatre company in New South Wales. (Her immediate past, though, was spent with BPP, one of Pearson College's biggest rivals in the private higher education sector).
The expansion has, in fact, already begun with Escape Studios. "We bought it," says Ms Stockwell simply.
Operating from Shepherd's Bush, it has 300 students planning to major in the creative industries in areas such as animation and visual effects.
Pearson's fees are lower than many universities that now charge the maximum £9,000 a year. The cost of a place on its business and enterprise programme is £7,250 a year, although a new course in global industry does cost the full £9,000. Students can opt to complete their studies in two, three or (if part-time) four years.
Part of the college's attraction is summed up by Sam Applebee, aged 20, who is in the second half of his two-year degree course: "I didn't want to go back into a student campus environment," he says. "I wanted to learn alongside people who were thinking about the world of work in an everyday FTSE-100 company.
"There is a mix of content here, which is very much geared at what employers are looking for."
A sign of the times in today's 21st century university world?
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- < Previous
- Next >
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...
£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...