Brooklands College

 

History: Opened in 1948 as Weybridge Technical College. Merged with Spelthorne College in Ashford (Middlesex) in August 2007.

Address: Two campuses, one in the leafy suburbs of Surrey. Just outside London and off Junction 11 on the M25, but shielded from the bustle by 120 acre grounds. The other in the middle of bustling Ashford town centre.

Ambience: Full-time courses are taught at the Weybridge and Ashford campuses. The Weybridge campus includes a red brick Victorian mansion which used to house the family behind the famous Brooklands racing circuit. Part-time courses in a variety of areas are offered at other venues.

Who's the boss? Maureen Kilminster is college principal.

Prospectus: 01932 797 797, request it online here and follow @FEBrooklands.

UCAS code: B83

What you need to know

Easy to get into? The college welcomes mature and adult learners, and previous experience in fields is welcomed.

Foundation degrees: Childrens special educational needs, early years and motorsport engineering. A long list of BTEC diplomas at various levels are also available.

Vital statistics: Approx 2,500 students aged 16-18, approx 3,000 aged over 19, and 550 under 16. Programmes available include GCSEs, A-levels, modern apprenticeships, vocational courses and HNDs and foundation degrees in areas such as computing, hairdressing, catering, engineering, languages, catering, teaching and many more.

Added value: The college is a centre of vocational excellence in public services and engineering and one of three partners in a CoVE in aeronautical engineering. Work on a £7.6m engineering and art and design building was completed in 2008. The motoring legend of Brooklands lives on through the popularity of the college's motorsports courses, with the motorsport engineering foundation degree being ran in association with Oxford Brookes University.

Teaching: Satisfactory, according to Ofsted (2006). Sport, recreation and travel, visual and performing arts and ICT were all rated good.

Any accommodation? No accommodation on site although international students often live with local families for £85 to £100 per week.

Cheap to live there? Weybridge is one of the most exclusive areas in Surrey with high house prices. Cheaper accommodation can be found close by in Walton and Chertsey. The colleges now cover a large geographical area from the borders of south-west London into Berkshire, and south towards Hampshire.

Transport links: Half a mile from Weybridge station, and just off the M25 and half a mile from Ashford (Middlesex) station in the centre of the town.

Fees: Fees start from £2,750 and go up to £6,000 per year.

Varies by course, part-time foundation degrees cost £1,285 for 2011/2012. The fees for HE courses will be slightly higher in 2012/2013, but the college hopes they will be cheaper than those offered at universities.

Bursaries: Means-tested HE bursaries are available to full-time home tuition-fee-paying undergraduate students from low income households who have applied for a student loan.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Those over 18 can find thrills aplenty in London. Guildford town centre can offer a few venues in the way of clubbing and pubbing too.

Sporting reputation: Nothing of note but there's a gym on the Weybridge campus. Brooklands also has a high ropes course!

Glittering alumni: Peter Wood, founder of Direct Line; Sarah Webb, Olympic gold medallist in sailing.

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