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Carshalton College


History: The college was opened in October 1954 as Carshalton Technical Institute, offering courses in areas as diverse as engineering to "women's subjects". It was originally constructed to teach around 800 students, but today it's a modern vocational institution.

Address: Situated in the village of Carshalton, Surrey, close to Sutton and Croydon.

Ambience: Best of both worlds. The college maintains a peaceful, rural atmosphere, with its buildings surrounded by ponds, but it's only a couple of miles from the busy urban centres of Sutton and Croydon.

Who's the boss? Peter Mayhew-Smith is the college's principal.

Prospectus: 020 8544 4444 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: C24

What you need to know

Easy to get into? A wide variety of qualifications meets the needs of learners at various levels. Most higher education courses ask for at least one A-level and a previous qualification in that area.

Subject areas: Qualifications offered range from entry level to foundation degrees in the following: accounting; art & design; beauty therapy; childcare & early years; construction; electrical engineering; ESOL; games development; gas; hairdressing; health & social care; hospitality & catering; IT; media & music tech; motor vehicles; plumbing; public services; skills for work and life; and sport.

Vital statistics: Medium-sized further education college with 6,000 students. Strong on vocational courses.

Added value: One of the largest providers of apprenticeships in the south east. A new £4.3m health and fitness complex opened in September 2010 and includes a swimming pool, luxury steam room, sports hall, 80 station Pulse Fitness Suite, dance studios and common room. Over £150,000 has been invested in new bespoke facilities for students on BTEC Diplomas and apprenticeships in carpentry and plumbing. Opened in December 2010, these workshops are designed to replicate industry working environments with predetermined work areas including toilets, basins and baths with full drainage and waste systems. Remarkable facilities for students, including an on-site hair & beauty salon, a training fine-dining restaurant, media, arts & design centre, nursery and leisure centre. Students benefit from skilled teaching staff with industry experience and excellent student support services.

Teaching: There are a range of flexible study options to fit around work and family life and continuous support from tutors to help develop study skills and succeed. The courses are accredited through strong partnerships with a number of higher education establishments and the College has a high successful completion rate. The college is a Matrix award winner for advice and guidance to learners.

Any accommodation? None provided by the college.

Cheap to live there? Not too bad for the south east. A room in a shared flat will set you back around £100 per week.

Transport links: Good for buses and rail. One-minute walk to Carshalton train station, whilst buses from Sutton, Croydon and Morden stop outside the college. From Morden you can get the tube into London.

Fees: Varies widely between courses and levels, with 16-18-year-olds exempt.

Bursaries: Partakes in the National Scholarship Programme to support students from families with a household income below £25,000 per year. Full-time students who meet the eligibility criteria are awarded tuition fee waivers of up to £1,500 each.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Quiet in Carshalton, so students tend to head to the busy nightspots in Sutton, Croydon and Kingston.

Price of a pint: The average pint will cost you around £3 in Kingston.

Sporting reputation: No entry in the BUCS league but the aforementioned health and fitness complex will serve the needs of Carshalton's sporty students.

Glittering alumni: James Ash, musician; Paul Burstow MP, politican.