The new Rochdale campus at Hopwood Hall College / Hopwood Hall College


History: Formed in 1990 from a reorganisation of further education in Rochdale.

Address: This northern college is split into two sites, one in the centre of Rochdale, and one in Middleton, north Manchester.

Ambience: The Rochdale campus is a modern looking educational building set in the middle of Rochdale town centre. Middleton is a green belt site five miles away with far more attractive views but fewer amenities nearby.

Who's the boss? Judo enthusiast Derek O'Toole is principal and chief executive.

Prospectus: 0161 643 7560 or read it online here.

UCAS code: H54

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Not too tricky. A Level 3 vocational qualification in a similar subject area is usually required (i.e. the foundation degree in early years asks for a BTEC National Certificate/Diploma). Those without formal qualifications may be considered if they have previous professional experience.

Foundation Degrees: Hospitality management, early years and sports development.

Vital statistics: An expanding college with 3,200 full-time and 8,000 part-time students. It provides vocational courses, work-based apprenticeships, higher education, and professional programmes for business. University level courses are validated by the University of Salford, the University of Huddersfield, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Bolton and Edge Hill University.

Added value: The college has recently undergone a £17m transformation with the building of a new technology centre at its Middleton campus which is the base for courses in construction, electrical installation, engineering and motor vehicle. It’s recently added a new sports training facility alongside the £3m Sports Arena which offers football and rugby academies. New courses in animal care and horticulture have expanded the life sciences curriculum with over 3 acres of outdoor space dedicated to these two areas alone. The Rochdale campus has been completely redeveloped and now boasts a brand new commercial hair and beauty salon, Riverside Salon, and the Riverside Restaurant in which to train catering students. Both sites have state-of-the-art classrooms, student social spaces, bistros and shops.

Teaching: A QAA review of HE in engineering expressed confidence in the academic standards achieved. In new media design, students rated the majority of the teaching as good or excellent, with a curriculum that directly meets employer requirements. In business and management, students commented favourably on their educational experience.

Any accommodation? None offered by the college.

Cheap to live there? Most students attending the college live at home, so rents don't really worry them.

Transport links: There are buses between the campuses, including seven free routes each morning and evening, although students tend to be based at one site in order to minimise the necessity of travelling.

Fees: For those not eligible for free tuition, FE fees start at £600 and HE from £2000 per year for students starting in 2013.

Bursaries: Financial support is available to those who meet qualifying criteria on enquiry. See here for further details.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Rochdale provides enough entertainment for a mild night out, but Manchester will satisfy even the most avid party-goer.

Price of a pint: There are plenty of cheap pubs with food nearby.

Sporting reputation: Not entered into the BUCS league, but the Sports Arena is new and offers sporting opportunities.

Glittering alumni: Two 2012 London Olympic medalists - Nicola Adams, gold for boxing and Stuart Bithell, silver in Sailing are both former students.