Tuesday 26 June 2012
History: Barnfield evolved from specialising in service industries and commerce to become an FE college offering everything from fashion, floristry and furnishings to sports therapy.
Address: Five centres within the town boundaries of Luton, and one in Bedford. Also runs an extensive network of community-based courses.
Ambience: Big, inclusive and high-flying, with a plethora of awards and accolades.
Vital statistics: The largest college in Luton and Bedfordshire, with 28,000 students. Runs an expanding range of higher education programmes (many validated by the University of Bedfordshire). Also a major operator of apprenticeships through Barnfield Training Services.
Added value: A Beacon College with six Centres of Vocational Excellence: Motor vehicle engineering; computer integrated network systems; health and social care skills; house building for the future; supervisory and management skills and aviation operation. The first college in the country to receive ministerial support to create two 11-18 school academies. A university technology college is also planned for a 2012/2013 openin
Easy to get into? Yes. Little or no qualifications are needed for basic level entry. An advice and guidance system matches applicants with the appropriate course.
Glittering alumni: None as yet.
Transport links: All centres have access to public transport, and Thameslink trains run from Luton to central London four times an hour.
Who's the boss? Pete Birkett, principal and chief executive.
Teaching: Quality of provision was rated as 'Outstanding' at the most recent Ofsted appraisal.
Foundation Degrees: 15 options available, including specialist make-up design, complimentary therapy, web development, contruction management and craft design.
Nightlife: Lots of clubs and pubs in Luton, and neighbouring towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes. London is near enough for clubbers to catch the early morning train back.
Any accommodation? Yes. Halls are made available to all first year foundation degree students in partnership with University of Bedfordshire. Rooms start at £87 per week.
Cheap to live there? Rents are above average. Private rents are around £80 per week in both Luton and Bedford.
Fees: Further education courses vary in price. £3,375 for full-time foundation degrees for 2011/2012. Degree fees are not confirmed for 2012/2013 entry, but are expected to be somewhere between £3,000 and £6,000.
Bursaries: Those in work may attract sponsorship from employers. Prospective students are advised to contact the college for information on funding.
Prospectus: 01582 569 500 / www.barnfield.ac.uk
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