Gloucestershire College

 

History: Created in 1980 from the merging of four colleges in the area (College of Technology, College of Art and Design, Technical College and College of Education), though Gloucester and Cheltenham Colleges of Arts and Technology have trained students since the 1850s.

Address: The main vocational Gloucester campus is based at a new £35million pound campus at Gloucester docks. This incorporates the Arts and Media Academies and the Engineering Technology Centre, which were previously spread out over the city. There's also a new academically focused campus in Cheltenham. Also operates from community venues throughout Gloucestershire, including a technology centre at Kingsditch and three Do IT Centres in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury.

Ambience: Situated in scenic Gloucestershire at the heart of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham and Gloucester also boast attractions including the docks, the new Gloucester Quays Outlet Centre and the cathedral, as well as the infamous Cheltenham Racecourse. The new campus is a 10-minute walk from the city centre.

Who's the boss? Greg Smith has been principal since 1997. He is the vice-president of the National Association for Business Education and a keen golfer.

Prospectus: 0845 155 2020 or visit the website here.

UCAS code: G45

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Not too bad, but varies between courses. You'll need 280 points for the BSc in psychology, and many of the other HE courses want previous experience and qualifications in the field. Mature students are often considered without formal qualifications.

Foundation degrees: Early years, computing with games programming, computing with ICT, computing with software development, health care practice, and therapeutic counselling. Degree level courses are validated by the universities of Gloucester, Worcester and West England.

Vital statistics: Over 5,000 full-time students (FE and HE), and around 10,000 part-time (FE, HE and Adult Education). University level courses are validated by the University of Gloucestershire, the University of the West of England and the University of Worcester.

Added value: £35m refurbishment of the main campus. One of the most successful FE colleges in the UK, the college offers facilities including a sport and fitness centre, hair and beauty salons (including a spa), a number of cafés and its own fine dining restaurant. The Cheltenham campus onsite nursery was awarded 'outstanding' in all areas in a 2009 Ofsted report. Students also have the chance to develop their skills in real life environments, as the college maintains strong links with local industry and community organisations. The new on-campus 'Construction Street' is a working building site at the Gloucester Campus, which allows construction students from each trade the opportunity to build a full scale temporary working bungalow.

Teaching: A 2008 Ofsted report rated the college as satisfactory in achievement, standards and construction, and good in all other areas.

Any accommodation? New residential accommodation block built in 2011 with 35 self-catering en-suite bedrooms in Cheltenham. Halls are within walking distance from the campus, shops, station and town centre for £125 per week.

Cheap to live there? Not too bad. Bedsits and shared student houses cost around £65 to£80 per week in Cheltenham and slightly less in Gloucester.

Transport links: All campuses can easily be reached by bus or train, plus minibus links. The Gloucester campus is located on the Sustrans cycle route, alongside the Sharpness Canal.

Fees: Vary widely between courses, best to get in touch with the college directly for detailed information. Many FE learners are eligible for fee exemption. HE courses run through the college only cost £6,000 per year but individual programmes can differ, often priced by module.

Bursaries: None offered by the college, but the it does have a student support fund that students can apply to once enrolled.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Cheltenham and Gloucester have numerous pubs and bars, and also host festivals including the Cheltenham Festivals of Literature, Music and Arts, the Gloucester Jazz and Blues Festival, and Two Thousand Trees music festival. Campuses are in close proximity to local attractions including restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas and nightclubs, while students at the Cheltenham campus are encouraged to use its own Renaissance fine-dining restaurant.

Price of a pint: Around the £3 margin for a pint of lager in both Cheltenham and Gloucester, but chain bars and pubs offer great food and drinks deals.

Sporting reputation: Not entered into the BUCS league, but the on-site fitness centre on the Cheltenham campus is open to all students and includes football courts, a dance studio and a gym.

Glittering alumni: None as yet.

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