Oxford and Cherwell Valley College


History: Oxford College of Further Education, Rycotewood College, North Oxfordshire College and Oxfordshire School of Art and Design merged on 1 August 2003 to form OCVC.

Address: Two campuses in Oxford, one in the centre of the city (now host to the Rycotewood Furniture Centre) and one in Blackbird Leys. There's also a campus at Banbury and a new campus at Bicester, which specialises in motorsports and performance engineering.

Ambience: A further and higher education college with campuses in the ancient university city of Oxford and on the edge of a picturesque Cotswolds market town. The specialist centre in Bicester is based in the heart of the not-so-famous 'Motorsport Valley'. Small class sizes in a creative and diverse environment make it a good choice for students eschewing university to achieve their HE qualification.

Who's the boss? Sally Dicketts has been principal and chief executive since 2003. She has spent her whole working life in education.

Prospectus: 01865 550 550 or browse it online here.

UCAS code: O25

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Entry requirements vary from course to course, but they ensure students enter courses at the correct level, and offer progression routes right through to postgraduate study.

Foundation Degrees: Motorsports - performance and automotive technology; creative arts and design practice; business and enterprise; furniture design. It also offers a PGCE.

Vital statistics: Around 13,000 students enrol each year, around 33 per cent of which study full-time. More than 125 full-time courses and 1,000 part-time. Higher education courses are offered in art, design, furniture and other vocational areas. Degrees are validated by Oxford Brookes University and Bucks New University.

Added value: Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) in a number of curriculum areas and first Oxfordshire college to achieve prestigious Training Quality Standard (TQS) accreditation. Drop-in language centres at the Oxford and Banbury campuses. A partner of several professional organisations: Design and Art Directors, Association of Illustrators, Royal Television Society, Crafts Council and British Film Institute. Newly renovated Creative Arts Centre on the Banbury campus. The highest provider of apprenticeships in the Thames Valley region.

Teaching: Teaching and learning at OCVC was judged to be 'Good' by Ofsted in its most recent inspection. Success rates for students 16-18 are above national average at all levels.

Any accommodation? None offered by the college, but it recommends homestays or renting from private letting agencies.

Cheap to live there? Private rents start from around £90 per week in Oxford and £70 in Banbury.

Transport links: The Oxford campus sits plum in the centre between the Oxford's excellent train and bus stations from which buses run every 12 minutes to London; and the Banbury campus operates a subsidised transport scheme providing college buses and travel costs for those who live more than three miles away.

Fees: HE fees are set by the validating institutions. £6,200 is a rough guide to how much you can expect to pay for one year of tuition on an undergraduate course as a UK/EU student.

Bursaries: Support may be offered if a student has a household income level that meets criteria, is in care or a care leaver, or is in extreme hardship. Further support may be offered through partnership universities.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Oxford is only minutes away, with countless pubs, clubs and cafés.

Sporting reputation: No sporting facilities itself, but local gyms and pools in the local area around each campus.

Glittering alumni: Gordon Ramsay, one of Britain's most famous chefs, learnt his onions on a catering course at Banbury.

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