Central Bedfordshire College


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History: Established in 1961 as a community college providing education and training in a wide range of vocational areas. Formerly Dunstable College, it officially became Central Bedfordshire College in January 2010.

Address: The main campus is in the centre of Dunstable, about 35 miles from London. Other campuses include Kingsland Skills Institute at Houghton Regis, and the Learning Warehouse in Leighton Buzzard.

Ambience: The Dunstable campus is a friendly college situated in the heart of this quiet but historic market town. The shops are only a few minutes' walk away, with the brand new Grove Theatre, fitness centres, bowling alley, fast-food outlets and restaurants nearby.

Who's the boss? Ali Hadawi CBE which he gained for his services to Further Education in the UK and Iraq.

Prospectus: 0845 355 2525 / have a look through here for information on their courses.

UCAS code: B22

what you need to know

Easy to get into? Not too hard. Apply through UCAS for full-time degree courses, standard points required. For other courses you'll need to contact the college directly. Most courses will require an interview.

Foundation degrees: Fine art practice, creative and editorial photography, fashion and surface pattern design, graphic design and advertising, and educational practice. There is also the very popular BA Hons in graphic design for print and new media.

Vital statistics: Around 1,300 full-time students; approximately 4,500 part-time.

Added value: It offers qualifications from basic introductory level to more advanced courses such as access courses, foundation degrees and degree programmes in a wide range of subjects including art and design, business, engineering, childcare, travel and tourism, creative studies such as floristry, leisure, sport recreation and IT. The student services department is there to help with learning support, accommodation, careers advice and financial assistance. There's a virtual learning environment and some courses are validated by the University of Bedfordshire. An added bonus for students are the hair, beauty and holistic therapy salons, which offer low priced treatments and the new spa and gym facilities which are all available for use. THE STORE is the college's new dedicated higher education centre and contains the Apple Training Centre - a suite of iMacs installed with the latest software including Adobe Creative Suite, Quark, Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro.

Teaching: In the Ofsted report of 2008 the teaching was rated as a mix between good and satisfactory across all areas of the curriculum.

Any accommodation? The nearby student accommodation of the University of Bedfordshire, situated in Luton, is available to higher education students. Rents start at £97 per week.

Cheap to live there? It can be, but again it depends how fussy you are. Choose to live in Luton, for instance, and you'll be paying at least £80 per week for a room in a shared house. There are cheap pubs near to the college, a plethora of student bars in Luton. The good news for higher education students is that they have access to the University of Bedfordshire students' union, which means plenty of entertainment and cheap drinks.

Transport links: The college has a large car park available for students and staff. Dunstable has good bus links with the surrounding towns and villages, namely Luton, Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard, with London just 35 miles away.

Fees: The University of Bedfordshire validates HE courses, and so the college follows their fee structure accordingly - £3,450 per year for full-time undergrads starting in September 2012.

Bursaries: None offered by the college, but various scholarships and bursaries are available from the University of Bedfordshire for those on HE courses. For more details, visit the website.

the fun stuff

Nightlife: Dunstable has a couple of nightclubs, some bars, pubs and a wide range of restaurants. A new theatre, The Grove, has just opened beside the college, and more new bars and restaurants are due to open. There is plenty more to do in Luton as well, which is only a 15-minute bus ride away and Milton Keynes, just north of the town also boasts a great deal of nightlife. The live music scene in Dunstable itself has been given a new lease of life and there are plenty of opportunities to see great up and coming bands.