South Devon College


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History: South Devon was originally founded as a technical college in 1931 and has been providing further education for over three-quarters of a century. The college has offered HE courses for more than 30 years and moved to a new campus, Vantage Point, in 2006.

Address: By the seaside. Paignton is part of the lively coastal resort of Torbay, known as the English Riviera.

Ambience: Excellent facilities at the award-winning site include a 180-seat theatre, a sports and fitness suite with pitches, shops, cafes, and hair and beauty salons.

Who's the boss? Stephen Criddle is principal.

Prospectus: 08000 380 123 or order one here.

UCAS code: S32

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Varies between courses but in general, you'll need 120 to 160 UCAS points for a foundation degree. Mature students with relevant experience are encouraged to apply. Applicants will be invited to bring a portfolio along for discussion at interview stage if appropriate.

Foundation degrees: Animal science; biosciences; business; computing; creative digital media; early years care and education; events and conference management; exercise science and fitness; healthcare practice; illustration arts; law; modern music practice; outdoor education; performance practice and events management; three dimensional design; tourism and hospitality management; uniformed public services; yacht operations.

Vital statistics: A medium-sized college serving the towns of Torquay, Brixham, Paignton and the surrounding areas of South Hams and Teignbridge, with around 14,000 students, 3,500 of which are full-time. Over 500 students on HE programmes. University level courses are validated by Plymouth University, and students can progress from foundation degrees to final 'top-up' years at Plymouth.

Added value: New, four-storey, £8million university centre boasting full wi-fi, the latest state-of-the-art LCD equipment and computers, and a top floor with superb views. South Devon College was awarded the Learning and Skills’ Beacon status in July 2009, in recognition of its outstanding Ofsted outcomes, achieving the Training Standards’ Accreditation and all round excellence. The college’s health and social care department recently won the Jardine Lloyd Thompson Benefit Solutions Award for health and community care for its training of higher level support workers in the NHS. The automotive department was recently commended at the Institute of Motor Industry awards. Animal unit and conservation areas with good local links.

Transport links: Well provided with local bus, road and rail links. Additional bus services connect the campus with the surrounding towns.

Teaching: Last inspected by Ofsted in 2008 when the inspectors found that every aspect of teaching and learning was 'outstanding'.

Any accommodation? No halls of residence provided by the college but it does provide a list of suitable propoerties available to rent in the area.

Cheap to live there? Not massively - a room in a shared house will set you back around £80 per week.

Fees: £6,000 per year for home students studying a full-time course.

Bursaries: £200 is available to all HE students in receipt of an LEA means-tested grant. A further £500 is available to all HE students who live in the TQ postcode or are currently studying an FE programme at the college.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: All the fun of the seaside, plus the students' union organises events. The cities of Plymouth and Exeter are within easy access, a 20- or 30-minute drive away.

Sporting facilities: A gym and fitness suite has recently been built for the students to use.

Glittering alumni: Greg Fitzgerald, chief executive of Galliford Try Plc; Bob Grose, star of TV show DIY SOS; Vince Flower, director of Shearings hotels.