London: Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College


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History: The college began in 1881 when Hammersmith School of Art was established in Brook Green. In 1975, Hammersmith College of Art and Building, Hammersmith College for Further Education and West London College merged to form Hammersmith and West London College. In January 2002, Hammersmith and West London College merged with Ealing Tertiary College to form Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College.

Address: Four sites: Acton, Ealing, Hammersmith and Southall. Hammersmith is the largest, with more than 10,000 students on this site alone. In September 2003, the college opened its first Sixth Form Centre (as part of Southall & West London College) and has since gone on to open two more in Ealing and Hammersmith.

Ambience: The essential studying-in-the-city experience; big, bustling and urban, with lots of swanky new facilities. Each site is very different and has its own identity, but the college is big enough to provide impressive facilities and a variety of subject areas to suit almost any learner.

Who's the boss? Paula Whittle, principal.

Prospectus: 020 7491 1841; or get a guide from here.

UCAS code: E10

what you need to know

Easy to get into? Yes – keen on widening participation.

Foundation degrees: Business; hospitality management; computing science; social care; travel and tourism.

Vital statistics: As one of the largest colleges in the UK with four separate sites, it is perhaps unsurprising that every year more than 25,000 students enroll on one of the many courses they offer. There are more than 1,500 teaching and support staff to assist students, in excess of 500 courses to choose from, ranging from basic learning development and pre-vocational qualifications to postgraduate and professional levels.

Added value: A range of HE and professional courses are offered, with smaller class sizes than in a traditional university environment, lower fees and excellent progression routes into employment or further study. The college has its own record label, Grade 9 Records, and its football team is coached and managed by QPR.

Teaching: A 2012 Ofsted report graded the college's overall standard of provision as satisfactory, but outstanding in its safeguarding and provision for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and

Any accommodation: Yes, in various hostels dotted around the west of the city. Double and single dormitory rooms are available, and you can have breakfast and an evening meal provided.

Cheap to live there? Nope. This is London, so expect to pay around £100 per week for a room in a shared flat.

Transport links: All of the sites are based within easy walking distance of underground or mainline stations and main bus routes. The surrounding areas offer a vibrant mix of shops, parks, cafes and bars. The Acton site is a 10-minute walk from Acton Town tube station. Ealing Broadway tube station is 10 minutes away from the Ealing site. Barons Court tube is less than 5 minutes from the Hammersmith site. Southall overground station serves the Southall site.

Fees: Undergraduates studying two-year BA courses pay £5,960 per year for full-time study, exceptions include the Heriot-Watt BA in Fashion - it is £5,940. International students pay £6,920. 18-month postgraduate courses are charged at £8,935.

Bursaries: The college continues to offer six HE bursaries, awarded to full-time HE students based on attendance, progress and a number of other criteria. Each HE bursary is worth £700, with £400 being awarded in year one, and subject to successful completion of their first year of study, a further £300 in year two. In 2012, the college will be participarting in the National Scholarship Programme.

the fun stuff

Nightlife: All of London just a short hop on the tube away.

Glittering alumni: Estelle, Marcus Brigstocke and Terri Walker all went through the performing arts division.