City and Islington College / flickr: Randomly London (Ian Wright)


History: City and Islington College was formed in 1993 through the merger of four inner city institutions operating across Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

Address: There are five specialist centres across Islington: Centre for Health, Social and Child Care (Holloway Road), Centre for Lifelong Learning (Finsbury Park), Centre for Business, Arts and Technology (Camden Road), Sixth Form College (Angel), Centre for Applied Sciences (Angel).

Ambience: Bustling. One of England's largest general FE colleges, in one of the busiest and most lively areas of London. Staff and students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, reflecting the college's cosmopolitan location. Students include many refugees and asylum seekers and more than 30 languages are spoken.

Who's the boss? Frank McLoughlin CBE has been principal since 2002.

Prospectus: 020 7700 9200 or request one online here.

UCAS code: C65

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Depends on the course. Most foundation degrees require at least two A-levels at grade C or above (or equivalent), but the college is keen on attracting students with non-traditional qualifications, and encourages those with previous vocational experience.

Foundation degrees: The college is a major provider of foundation degree programmes, with more than 500 students studying in conjunction with local universities and employers. FDs offered are football and community sports coaching with Arsenal FC, fashion with textiles, photography, dance, digital media design, public service management, working with young people and young people's services, early childhood studies and counselling.

Vital statistics: There are around 13,500 students and 916 staff, offers around 1,000 different courses and has been awarded Beacon status by the Learning Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) for excellence in post-16 education and training. There is a Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) for Child Care and Early Years Education and also for ICT and Network technologies. Excellent partnerships with local universities such as City University, UCL and Queen Mary.

Added value: The state-of-the-art centres have recently been built and renovated at a cost of £64m, to provide facilities for staff and students. The college has recently won the Learner Voice 'Provider of the Year' award, celebrating the college's willingness to listen to, and act on, student issues.

Teaching: Glowing Ofsted inspection in 2008, outstanding on all measures. In 2010, the college received a National Training Award in recognition of its outstanding contribution and commitment to training, learning and development in the workplace.

Any accommodation? None provided by the college.

Cheap to live there? No - affordability is not one of London's best qualities. A room in a shared flat will set you back a minimum of £120 per week but it really depends where you live.

Transport links: Well served by the underground with Angel, Holloway Road, and Finsbury Park tube stations. Numerous buses connect Islington to the city centre and suburbs.

Fees: Range depending on course and qualification from £900 to £9,000, with the average at £5,700 per year.

Bursaries:  Bursary payments are available from partner universities on a means-tested basis.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Islington is one of London's most dynamic areas, with excellent pubs, music venues, stylish shops and restaurants.

Sporting reputation: Sporting facilities for students wanting to work as personal trainers or in similar careers.

Glittering alumni: Actors David Oyelowo, Lisa Hammond and Tameka Empson; TV presenter Reggie Yates.